It’s the week before Christmas, so it seems like an apt time to post this review. A Clockwork Christmas is a compilation of four novellas, each by a different author and published by Carina Press.
All four are about romance: love lost or misplaced and found and the personal development of the leading characters during the holiday season in a world filled with steam-powered objects and creatures.
In the first story, “Crimewave in a Corset” by Stacy Gail, one of a master cat burglar’s former heists catches up with her in the guise of a handsome professor in engineering, who wishes to exact revenge over an item stolen from his dying sister.
While skirting on the edge of a dime-store novel at times, I really did like the character development in this book and the use of a steampunk setting was marvellously done. I could definitely stand to read more adventures of Cornelia Peabody and her professor, because I think that tales of this duo could prove to be wildly entertaining as the author does a pretty great job creating her universe.
“This Winter Heart” by P.G. Forte sees a woman reacquainted with her estranged husband. A family story with a steampunk twist and an original history of one of the main characters. It could have been marvellous if it didn’t feel like I was reading some kind of novelization of a soap series.
“Wanted: One Scoundrel” by Jenny Schwartz deals with the plight of the suffragette movement and the lengths a rich heiress is willing to go through to get her political point across. Read to find out how a young inventor fits in all of this and if he is really the scoundrel this young suffragette is looking for? The least smutty of all four stories and a good variety between action, politics and romance.
In “Far from Broken” by J.K. Coi, we meet a family nearly torn up by villains of the worst kind. When Jasper’s prima ballerina wife, Callie<, is abducted and horribly tortured, he faces some very hard choices that may cause the thing he fears the most: the loss of his love. I have to admit this wasn't a bad story at all, but this could have benefitted from being a longer one rather than a short story in my opinion. Although the four stories have different settings and characters, they essentially amount to the same thing: two people realize they love each other and end up in bed, or on another available surface. Wile there is a plot to every story, sometimes it just seems to be a bit secondary and everything is leading up to that moment when the main characters realize their love for each other and everything it entails. Which I'm sure those who love this genre will appreciate, but it just isn't my cup of tea. I would have preferred more plot and less personal woo. So if you love romance stories bordering on the dime-store variety, go for it. If not, approach with literary caution.