Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen is a Gothic, steampunk Beauty and the Beast retelling with elements of the paranormal.
Our heroine, Lucy, is smart, attractive and works for the Botanical Aid Society seeking a way to combat the Vampire Assimilation drug which allows vampires to walk among people undetected. Her brother served with Miles in the war. Cousin Kate has married Miles brother, Jonathan. Where she has rarely been ill in the past, Kate is now taking on the appearance of an invalid. With her experiences with the Botanical Aid Society, Lucy is hoping to find a cure for Kate. Lucy looks forward to a restful sleep, but is denied that when a ghost visits her in her room.
Miles is hiding something. He is rightfully bothered over the recent deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister Marie. Clara died of an unknown illness, much like Kate’s illness. Marie died a violent death at the hands of an unknown and possibly paranormal assailant. He broods and snaps at anyone who dares enter his space.
Miles and Jonathan have an Aunt Eustace and a couple of cousins, the Charlesworths, that descend on the manor and further disturb the peace.
Will Lucy be able to save Kate? Will Miles and Lucy connect in spite of his foul temper and tendency to brood? Will Lucy be able to love the man in spite of his beastliness?
I enjoyed this retelling and give it 4 out of 5 stars. It’s well plotted and moves along quickly. Lucy and Miles are well developed characters, the others a little less so. It’s an interesting retelling with the paranormal and steampunk elements. The steampunk is less of an issue than the paranormal, but it is still important character wise. The book has book club questions at the end as well. If you like Gothic tales, this is a good one for you. Also it works well for people who enjoy a bit of the paranormal in their tales.
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen is due out August 2, 2016 from Shadow Mountain.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.