Hold on to your parasols girls! This is not your grandmother’s historical romance! Take a journey into the world of steampunk romance with Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke. A novel that promises the elegance of a historical and the creepiness of a paranormal…it’s the best of both worlds!
Mina Wentworth is the detective inspector you would never expect to find in Victorian England. She wears pants, is outspoken and despises being called by her proper title. Instead she answers to such names as ‘sir’ or ‘inspector.’ Of course, this isn’t the typical Victorian England you’d find in any history book and Mina isn’t a typical lady. She is living in the drastically different England, recently freed from the tyranny of a group known as the Horde. The man with all the glory for overthrowing the Horde and credit for returning England back to it’s citizens is a man known as Rhys Trahaearn also known as The Iron Duke. But things can never return back to normal because now most of the citizens are infected with Horde blood or nanoagents which give individuals supreme strength and extreme healing abilities.
It is the night they are throwing a celebration ball in honor of The Iron Duke when Mina is called to the scene of a murder. It just so happens to be on the front steps of the Duke’s property and he is not a man who deals well with the law. Instantly intrigued by the stunning detective, Trahaearn will stop and nothing to have her and Mina’s refusal is a difficult pill to swallow since he is used to get everything he wants. Mina needs Trahaearn’s connections and influence to help solve the case and he needs her intelligence and skill. The case leads them in many different directions, but it only becomes more complicated when Mina realizes her brother’s life may be in danger. Now they must work together to solve the case and keep their desire for each other under control.
Rhys is one of the most interesting leading men put on paper. He is described as somewhat of a villain at first but slowly you pull away layer by layer to reveal a completely different person beyond the myth and facade. He is difficult to warm up to, since he is portrayed as the hero of the people, but also as the bad guy. Mina sees him as the ruthless pirate who does anything he can to get what he wants, and to a point that is absolutely true. He isn’t overtly charming or romantic, but he is strong and resilient, and will do anything for Mina. She is the one who sees the darkness in the world because her job has allowed her to see life as it truly is. Mina has no notion of rose colored glasses to make the surface look better. She knows the cruelty this world has to offer and has experience more than her fair share of it.
The first half of the novel is more of a set up to the case and the history of events that are needed for the background of the story. This is not your typical Victorian Era England, so there are a lot of new details needed in order to become truly familiar with Meljean Brook’s universe. The first chapter or two may be a little overwhelming with the new terms and information, but about fifty pages in, everything begins to click into place and easier to understand. The second half is really where the romance story truly develops with Mina and Rhys while interjecting all the drama and details to solve the case. Both of them have dark pasts they have to overcome before they can stand any chance together, so that’s where the most character development occurs.
The novel is a fun and exciting ride. Brook puts such detail into her descriptions with her scenes and characters that the novel will play exactly like a movie in your mind. It is cleverly written and so irresistible that you will hate to put it down. You have two complex and amazing lead characters and an intriguing cast of secondary characters that are all part of the new world Brook has created. A new world that broke all the rules and just made this crazy and fun adventure to read about. Part paranormal, part historical, this steam punk novel is the best of both worlds and a true delight to read.
Excited about this novel? Want to here more about it? Don’t miss the exclusive interview with author Meljean Brook this Saturday October 23rd!
I will also be giving away a wonderful paranormal prize in honor of Halloween which will include an advance copy of The Iron Duke. The giveaway will be announced Friday October 22nd! Be sure to check back for more information!