Cards & Caravans

Cards & Caravans

4.5 8
by Cindy Spencer Pape

Book five of The Gaslight Chronicles

Belinda Danvers isn't a witch. But that won't stop them burning her at the stake…

Connor McKay can tell at a glance that Belinda's magickal powers are minimal at best. She can't be guilty of murdering village children. There's something suspicious about her arrest and lightning-quick sentence.


Book five of The Gaslight Chronicles

Belinda Danvers isn't a witch. But that won't stop them burning her at the stake…

Connor McKay can tell at a glance that Belinda's magickal powers are minimal at best. She can't be guilty of murdering village children. There's something suspicious about her arrest and lightning-quick sentence. Unfortunately, telling anyone how he knows would mean revealing his own powers. He's been sent by the Order of the Round Table to help and he can't just let her die.

Escaping from jail and running from vindictive villagers in her grandfather's steam-powered caravan is more excitement than Belinda's had in years. And despite the danger—or maybe because of it—she loves the time spent with her sexy rescuer. But there's more to his magick than he's letting on…

There's something going on that's bigger than the two of them. It's time for good to make a stand.

52,000 words

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Book 5 of the “Gaslight Chronicles” features the dashing Connor McKay and opens with his rescue of widow Belinda Danvers from a jail cell. She has been wrongly accused of witchcraft and slated for a hasty burning. Connor uses his magick to spirit Belinda away, and they fall into bed as they escape to his family home. Still smarting from his rejection by Wink in Moonlight & Mechanicals, Connor marries Belinda as a way to keep her safe from the law. Connor and the Order of the Round Table then realize that there is a pattern of persecution in the north of England and Scotland. As they set a trap for the perpetrators, they are attacked, and Connor is injured, while Belinda foils a kidnapper and a powerful wizard. Through their shared adventures, Belinda and Connor realize their true love and shared passion.

Verdict Excellent writing and a lively plot balanced with bubbling romance make this another outstanding contribution to this steampunk series.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

Carina Press
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Gaslight Chronicles , #5
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Scottish Lowlands, September 1859

"Guilty as charged on both counts—witchcraft and murder."

Belinda Danvers gasped as the sheriff pronounced the verdict. Her knees tried to buckle, but she refused to swoon in front of these lunatics, even if they hadn't given her anything to eat since breakfast the day before. Crying out her denial was equally pointless. She'd already protested her innocence until her throat was raw. The village elders had decided she was a witch. They'd convinced the sheriff and there was nothing more to be done about it. She listened to the sentencing with nausea roiling through her empty stomach.

"The murder charge will be sent to the High Court of the Justiciary to decide. As witchcraft is a local matter, our judgment on that will take precedence." The sheriff banged his gavel. "The murder charge will be dealt with posthumously. The witch is to be burned at the stake, tomorrow at dawn, in the center of the village green. May God have mercy on her soul."

Don't cower to these jackals. Her head held high, she glared across at Squire MacLellan, the magistrate, who stared back with a snide grin. Alderman Douglas, beside him, radiated nothing but venomous fury. On the alderman's far side, his cousin Mr. Engle looked on with a beatific smile. Here was the man at the root of all this. No one had called her witch in the ten years she'd lived in Shadwick—not until he came. If she had possessed the power to curse a man, he'd have been the one, along with his lecherous cousin and maybe even the pompous squire. She'd have never taken her anger out on innocent townsfolk—especially children. She blinked back a tear at the thought of those three young lives lost during the last month to cholera.

The sheriff, who'd come from Dumfries just to try her, banged his gavel on the wooden table that served as a makeshift bench at the front of the village hall. There was something not quite right about his robes and wig—they were shabbier than she'd have expected and didn't fit properly, which didn't make sense as the sheriff should be a wealthy man. The wig kept slipping down over his left eyebrow. Was he truly the sheriff? And if this was a trial, why hadn't she been given a chance to hire a barrister? Not that there was one in Shadwick, or that anyone here would have represented her anyway.

As the bailiffs—otherwise known as Squire MacLellan's two stoutest footmen—hauled her back to the tiny gaol, the chains around her ankles clanked and weighed her down. She looked out over the sea of faces, people she'd considered friends. People she'd helped with her cough tinctures and burn salves. She'd trusted them, considered herself a part of this community for over a decade.

Now they all looked away. Here in the Scottish borderlands, old beliefs still ran strong. They lived in an era where a telephone could allow a person to speak with someone in London, or a dirigible could take one to Paris in mere hours. But let one minor cholera epidemic sweep the area, and everyone was all too ready to blame the village witch.

As they marched her toward the gaol, she stole a glance at the clock on the village hall. Half past two. Almost teatime. Sunrise would be neither early nor late this close to the autumn equinox. Even giving them some time to bumble about, and a little while for the fire to take her, in less than twenty hours, she'd be dead.

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Cards & Caravans 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Belinda Danvers is set to burn at the stake for being a witch. Problem is the widow isn't one. Her only hope is Connor McKay. Connor is sent to see if she is behind the murder of children and soon sees she is not. She also isn't a witch. He can't just tell the people that without giving away his own powers. He helps her escape jail and they both try to uncover just what is going on. The only way Connor can protect Belinda is to marry her. He just has to convince her of that. I liked Connor in a previous book and I did feel bad he got his heart broke by Wink. I was thrilled he was getting his own book. I did not see him being with Belinda. I was expecting someone who would really push his buttons and lead him on a chase. He and Belinda end up being a good match just not what I figured he would have. They really in some ways get thrown together and start out making the best of it. Yes they have lust between each other but not the real deep love. It was in some ways a to quick match. In other ways I loved this book. There is plenty of action as Connor and the other favorites of mine from this series set a trap to catch a bad guy. I love seeing the old characters and what they are doing and getting glimpses of romance I hope to come. The steampunk is as always wonderful in this book and so fun to read about. If you enjoy steampunk, paranormal or just a great story be sure to check out this series.
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Sailon More than 1 year ago
Belinda Danvers is not a witch. She is an herbalist and widow although she was part of a gypsy caravan growing up. But now she has been tried, convicted and to be burned at the stake all in one day. Lucky for her, her aunt and fortune teller, saw that something was wrong and called the Order, Connor McKay. Connor McKay knows almost instantly that Belinda is innocent of the crimes she has been convicted. Trying to follow the proper procedures to get Belinda free he discovers that there is a much bigger and maybe sinister plot behind this witch hunt.  Breaking Belinda out of jail and running for his family home, Connor quickly discovers a chemistry with Belinda that can’t be denied.  Connor’s entire family and many friends from the Order must come together to uncover the malevolence hiding in the shadows. Belinda quickly finds her place within this unusual collection of magical people. Even though it is written in a time where social class separation was prevalent, the characters of the Order don’t hold to those more credibility to the family and friendship bonds. Fabulous, fun, steampunk story! I really enjoyed reading Cards & Caravans. As with the other books in this series, it was a thrilling adventure with twists, turns and dastardly plots. Gaslight Chronicles is a great series that provides a wonderful adventure into a world filled of magic and mechanicals. This ARC copy of Cards & Caravans was given to me by Carina Press in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication on March 18, 2013.
BBsBookNook More than 1 year ago
Cards and Caravans by Cindy Spencer Pape The newest installment of The Gaslight Chronicles does not fail to live up to the standard set by the previous books in the series. Set in Scotland, this book is the story of Belinda Danvers and Sir Connor MacKay. Belinda, a widow, has been accused of witchcraft, is jailed and is to be burned at the stake. Sir Connor has been sent to investigate. As a Knight, it is his duty to investigate all things magickal in the kingdom, and the Order is the only group authorized to prosecute in such cases. Will Sir Connor be able to save Belinda from the stake and those who have accused her? Can Belinda open her heart to another man? Can Sir Connor overcome his love for another woman? Or will the evil that threatens them all win at last. This novel grabbed my attention from the first page, I had a difficult time putting it down. With witches, werewolves, sorcerers, and all the intrigue, what more could a reader of paranormal books want? And of course, there is the romance! Ms. Pape has once again written a novel full of all the elements that this reader enjoys. Anyone looking for a steampunk romance with paranormal elements will enjoy this book immensely! 5 of 5 stars!