Her Ladyship's Curse

Title: Her Ladyship's Curse
Author: Lynn Viehl
Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: August 12, 2013

     In a steampunk version of America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian (Kit) Kittredge makes her living investigating magic crimes and exposing the frauds behind them. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, as the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. she follows mysteries wherever they lead.

     Lady Diana Walsh calls on Kit to investigate and dispel the curse she believes responsible for carving hateful words into her own flesh as she sleeps. While Kit doesn’t believe in magic herself, she can’t refuse to help a woman subjected nightly to such vicious assaults. As Kit investigates the Walsh family, she becomes convinced that the attacks on Diana are part of a larger, more ominous plot—one that may involve the lady’s obnoxious husband.

     Sleuthing in the city of Rumsen is difficult enough, but soon Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of nefarious deathmage Lucien Dredmore and the unwelcome scrutiny of police Chief Inspector Thomas Doyle. Unwilling to surrender to either man’s passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. Yet as she learns the truth behind her ladyship’s curse, Kit also uncovers a massive conspiracy that promises to ruin her life—and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape alive.

I'm in love with the steampunk subgenre, and this novella portrays it in such a great way. The story takes place in an alternate timeline when America lost the Revolutionary War, and the United States is now called Toriana, or The Provincial Union of Victoriana. Americans are now citizens of England, and everything is changed.

The world building the author accomplished in this story is remarkable. The author even included a multi-page glossary in the back for the terminology, some made-up and some not familiar to an American audience.

The characters were very interesting. Kit, the investigator, Dredmore, the deathmage, and Thomas, the inspector. Perhaps there will be a love triangle in the second book, which I will be curious to read about, despite my aversion to the subject.

The plot starts simple, and grows as the story progresses. By the end of the book, the complexity is very refreshing, and left me craving for more. I was annoyed by the cliffhanger, but now I can't wait for the next installment.

Rating: Five out of Five stars

I received this book from the author and publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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