Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen (Author) Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator)
Steampunk Proper Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.

Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?

Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

This might be the first book written by Nancy Campbell Allen that I’ve ever read but it sure won’t be the last. Talk about a perfectly eerie Gothic Steampunk romance with mystery, murder, foggy surroundings, large oak doors that block gardens with a secret, and paranormal beings. There is so much going on that I’ve lost count as to how many edge-of-my-seat scenes I experienced.

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Lord Miles is exactly what you’d expect – brooding, grouchy, stern, scowly, big and burdened with guilt and secrets. One thing about the narrator, Ms. Maarleveld, that I kept thinking about as she did his voice was that by the time she was done with this novel, I truly felt her throat must have been hoarse. Her vocal range seemed strained while she voiced Lord Miles, but she was able to go deep enough to differentiate the hero from the heroine. I have no complaints; I just kept wanting to offer the narrator a glass of water.

Oh, I forgot to mention the ghost. I liked how the author portrayed the ghost and by the end of the novel, I was truly sad that the person was dead. I would have dearly enjoyed this person on stage because of the strength of character, devotion, determination and love that was truly powerful, even beyond the grave.

The ‘tons that are mentioned brought to mind a movie I’ve watched at least 15 times so far, I, Robot. Think of Sonny and you’ll know how I envision the maids, butlers and garage personnel in the story.

I enjoyed watching Miles thaw the more time he spent with Lucy. The longer she stayed in his castle, the more he saw her strength, her loyalty, her love for her cousin and family, and her unique passion that propels her to attempt escapades of daring do and investigations that definitely caused the hero a heart attack, or two. When she got him to laugh, I knew he was hooked.

As far as the romance, it’s sweet. The most action were kisses but oh, how wonderfully romantic they were!

There is a villain for sure but it turns out to not be who I thought it was. I really thought I had it figured out but of course, that was a red herring. As far as I’m concerned, the actual killer was mentally unsound, clever and vicious, but unsound. I can say for sure that the climactic scene was one that had me wide-eyed and on the edge of my seat. It was the not knowing how the defeat would come about and at whose hands.

The ending was very romantic and brought to mind the scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. More than likely, that was the author’s intent and if so, it worked. It was special and a nice way to wrap up a very well-told story. Beauty and the Clockwork Beast was an awesome read and easy to recommend in either print or audio format.

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