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Moonlight & Mechanicals

Moonlight & Mechanicals

4.3 13
by Cindy Spencer Pape

London, 1859

Engineer Winifred "Wink" Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.

Because of his dark werewolf past


London, 1859

Engineer Winifred "Wink" Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.

Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can't say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend's missing son. They soon discover that London's poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious "mechanical" men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.

Fighting against time—and their escalating feelings for each other—Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it's too late...

74,000 words

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two steampunk romances might send readers rushing to upload. Schwartz’s Courting Trouble, the latest in her “Bustlepunk Chronicles” (after Wanted: One), is set in 1895 Western Australia in the Swan River Colony, on the frontier at the periphery of the known world. Suffragette Esme Smith struggles with her affections for Jed Reeve, an inventor of the curiously Australian bounding machine. Moonlight & Mechanicals, Pape’s next “Gaslight Chronicles” title (following Steam & Sorcery; Photographs & Phantoms; and Kilts & Kraken), is set in 1859 London. The magical steampunk world of Winifred “Wink” Carter Hadrian, an engineer and inventor rescued from poverty by Sir Merrick Hadrian, is captivating and richly detailed. Wink is also in love with a werewolf, Liam McCullough, whom she handily tames, which adds to the fun. Both of the books contain foiled plots against the monarchy—yes, the Prince of Wales is in danger in Trouble, and Wink and her allies defeat an army of clockwork cyborgs to save the Queen. However, Moonlight is more than twice as long as Trouble, allowing for stronger development of character and plot. Readers will see a somewhat greater independence and definition in Wink, who as an inventor in her own right is also a creator. By contrast, Esme, while an independent thinker, struggles more with her place in society. Verdict: Courting Trouble is laudable for its originality in pushing the boundaries of the steampunk genre. Its brevity, though, detracts from its full realization. Also, one wonders at the coining of the somewhat dubious, double-edged term bustlepunk. Moonlight & Mechanicals, on the other hand, is a fully realized novel with a truly magnificent, stereotype-defying heroine on a level with Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. It is highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

Product Details

Carina Press
Publication date:
Gaslight Chronicles , #4
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Read an Excerpt

Winifred Carter, almost sixteen, barely dared to breathe for fear that something would ruin the moment as a burly dark man and a fair-haired faerie-tale princess said their wedding vows in the garden of a duke.

Cor, an honest-to-bloody-goodness duke. He was old, as was the duchess, but they'd been kind to Wink and pretended they didn't notice when her speech slipped back into the cant of a Wapping pickpocket. Everybody at the wedding also pretended not to see that both the bride and groom had been recently injured, and still sported a bandage or two beneath their silks and satins. Wink bit her lip. Wounds they got saving my sorry hide.

In the space of the last two months, Wink's world had turned upside down and inside out. There she'd been, fighting vampyres in a stinking Wapping alleyway with her friends, like always, and along had come this man. He'd helped slay the monsters, and he'd let Wink, Tom and the others run away before the coppers came.

Of course Wink had hidden to watch. A toff, helping the likes of them? It didn't make any sense. Neither did the young constable with the curling black hair and twinkling dark eyes, who'd winked at her, but not given her away to the other coppers. Constable McCullough had been the handsomest thing she'd ever seen, though the older man—Sir Merrick he'd called himself—wasn't exactly an ogre. Once the night was over, Wink never expected to lay eyes on either of them again.

But Sir Merrick came back to Wapping and told Tom a story. What if, he'd said, King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table had never disappeared? What if their descendants were still alive, still in Britain, protecting people from the monsters, bloodsucker and human as best they could? Even stranger, what if Tom were one of them? Wink had to admit, Tom's senses for finding monsters and his skill at hunting them was unusual, as much so as her facility with machines or Nell's gift for seeing ghosts. When Sir Merrick had offered Tom the chance to come live in his posh Mayfair mansion and train to be a Knight, Tom had refused. Not unless the others come along, he'd said. Tom was a good sort like that. Wouldn't let the little ones down.

Wink still couldn't believe Sir Merrick had said yes. Now the five street rats from Wapping were living it up in Mayfair, the wards of a baronet. Of course they ran amok. Who wouldn't? Soon, a governess came, Miss Caroline with her ready smile, bright green eyes and cor, pointed ears. Next they found out Tom wasn't a bastard, but the heir to another baronet. Tom's grandfather was too sick to take care of him, but he sent papers proclaiming Sir Merrick as Tom's legal guardian, and one day Tom would have a huge house and the title Sir. Wink's head had barely stopped spinning from that, when the bloodsuckers and their human friends had kidnapped her to make a machine that would allow them to pass as human. Sir Merrick, Miss Caroline and the dashing Constable Liam had all rushed to her rescue.

That's when she learned Constable Liam was a werewolf. Not that it mattered. Wink had gotten used to strange things early in her life, even back before Wapping. Furry by moonlight or not, he still made her heart flutter and something strange twist in her stomach.

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