Frederique Murcheson’s introduction into society hasn’t gone smoothly—some would even call it a disaster. Only Freddie considers her debut a success. Her scheme to become a makesmith has gone off flawlessly. The only thing that could upset her plans now would be if someone discovered that brilliant tinker Fred Merchant is, in fact, a lady in disguise.
Wooing a spoiled heiress is not exactly Barnabas Smith-Grenville’s idea of high espionage. However, considering his brother disappeared on the job, supposedly into the most iniquitous of opium dens, he cannot expect much better. At least the assignment will afford him time to search for his brother, whom he suspects is in spy-related trouble rather than a drug-addled haze.
But when Freddie proves to be both irresistible and the key to the answers he seeks, Barnabas finds himself not only entwined in a scandalous mystery involving lethal submersibles and deranged dirigibles, but also in a dangerous game of the heart…
About the Author
When not writing or doing “mommy stuff,” Delphine reads voraciously and noodles around with web design. She counts herself fortunate to have two absurdly precocious children, and two delightful, if occasionally disobedient, mutts. Delphine and her family are all Texas natives, and reside in unapologetic suburban bliss near Houston.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the novels of Delphine Dryden
"Beautiful, funny, sexy-as-sin."—Mari Carr, New York Times bestselling author
"Supersexy!"—Jennifer Probst, New York Times bestselling author
"Ms. Dryden is an incredible talent."—The Romance Studio
"Captivating."—Sinfully Delicious Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the last book in this series with its Great Race backdrop and each one has been different so I was eager to see what type of Steampunk backdrop this one would have. It was submersibles and espionage- so cool! I loved the balanced blend of romance, intrigue and steampunk. The book was loosely tied to the books that came before. It can easily be read as a standalone though the mention of people and a few incidents that came from the previous book do get a little page time so the ideal is to read it in order. The story opens with Barnabas Smith-Grenville recovered from his illness and back on the hunt to find his younger prodigal brother, Phineas. The last sight of his brother was that he was working for an Opium Lord and an addict, but Barnabas still has hope of finding Phineas so he takes the offer to join The Agency and act as a spy for Phineas' last employer. Much to Barnabas' surprise, Murcheson, his employer, gives him the charge of watching over his daughter making Barnabas wonder if he is being underestimated with such a piddling task. Frederique Murcheson has her foot in both the world of high society and that of a makesmith tinker. She loves working with engines and machinery, but wishes she didn't have to disguise herself as a man to do it. Her father is caught up in his inventions, but always saddles her with a series of 'babysitters'. The latest is something out of the usual in that Lord Smith-Grenville makes a deplorable spy, but a good companion in her ventures to find out what secret thing her father is up to that is making all the fish and some of the fishermen disappear. Barnabas slowly starts to appreciate his assignment to watch Freddie as his respect grows for her sense and skills. He isn't used to her dangerous adventures, but he's game to try to keep up with her. They discover a secret military base, experimental submersibles, and evidence of smuggler activity. Freddie is determined to prove her usefulness and cunning to her father so that she can persuade him to take her seriously so she talks Barnabas into helping her with her own secret mission. In the meantime, the attraction between Barnabas and Freddie grows stronger and stronger making them worry what will happen when their mission is over and Barnabas goes back to run the family estate and Freddie continues her career as a makesmith. The plotting kept my attention from cover to cover. I really enjoyed both the romance and the adventure sides of the plot. The steampunk was not as strong an element, but it wasn't minimal either. I loved how this one took things under the sea and featured different gadgetry. The romance was slow developing and it was fun. These two are an unusual pair. The story is told from both main characters' perspectives. Freddie is the more feisty, intrepid of the two while Barnabas is a cautious beta-style hero. He is just your average guy that is comfortable being the support. I liked seeing Freddie appreciate Barnabas' understated qualities like his loyalty and his lack of intimidation in having Freddie as the lead. Barnabas is like a calm anchor to keep Freddie grounded. Again, when it comes to this series, I'm going to mention how refreshing it was the way that the author portrayed a virgin as a true inexperienced virgin that struggled with her first encounters with kissing and the other physical acts before getting up to speed. My only real niggle was that things were left open at the end because I'm one that prefers relationship stuff to be tidily tied up. The intrigue and action were a strong side. I loved the element of tension as Freddie and Barnabas snuck around snooping to find out what was going on. The only thing that would have kept the tension up even better would have been to keep the villain's identity remain in the shadows instead of knowing who it was from the beginning since he got part of the narrative. Truthfully, I felt a bit sympathetic to him as a result of being privy to his thoughts. The last few big scenes were exciting and poignant. I'm not sure if things were left open-ended with Phineas' story on purpose, but I'm hoping he gets his own story now. He was an interesting character and nearly stole the show when he appeared in the story. So to wrap it up, this was delightful segment of the series and I actually enjoyed this one the best of the books so far. Those who enjoy steampunk romance that's gentle on the steampunk and a little spicy on the romance should give this one a try. My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Vivacious Valkyrie - Marta: *Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review This is book three in the Steam and Seduction series, which is set within a steampunk type era. A landscape that resembles the Victorian, but feels quite twentieth century at times. A world where steam is the ultimate power, is closely guarded, but anything is possible . This is an alternative reality without the nuclear power or the technology we take for granted, and more importantly, a life that's set with rigid rules. Welcome to a new age of human imagination! Having read Scarlet Devises I was very curious to see who the author would write about next and was quite surprised when this story turned out to feature Barnabas Smith- Grenville whose brother Phineas was previously mentioned. Barnabas wants nothing more than to serve his country and find out what really happened to his missing brother. Rumours abound that Phineas was heavily involved with opium but Barnabas wants so much to discover the truth about his baby brother. When asked to maintain a watchful eye on a wealthy young heiress whose father is heavily involved in political machinations it seems the answer to his prayers. Keeping tabs on Frederique Murcheson in the last place his brother Phineas was seen is the perfect assignment for Barnabas. He knows his brother served his country well and now he's determined to do the same but espionage doesn't suit everyone! Freddie is a talented young woman who just feels so stifled by all the rigmaroles of society. As a young woman of considerable talents and ingenuity she's found a way to spend her days more profitably. Freddie sneaks out dressed as a young man and works as a Tinker, a man who fixes all manner of machinery and yes she's good at it! The only problem though is her father has yet again placed a watchdog in her life and his name is Barnabas ! He seems harmless enough and Freddie has no compunction about directing him to help further her own endeavours but when they both stumble across something that puts them all in danger suddenly Freddie sees a whole new side to Barnabas and boy does she like it! These novels are set in an alternative steampunk world that imagines what life could be like if the American revolutionary war had never taken place and are just full of political intrigue and conspiracy usually. This particular story, however, featured a lot more about the corruption and greed that fuels the underbelly of society. Opium dens may seem fanciful, but are a part of this reality and smuggling is a highly lucrative and dangerous business. The author cleverly interweaves modern ideas such as the possibility of an underwater tunnel connecting the English Coast with mainland France whilst adding amazing and bizarre creatures to the mix. Fear not though if it's the technology that always hold you gripped as submersibles and dirigibles abound in this story, but this time it's the underwater world of possibilities that firmly take center stage. I always enjoy the mystery of these stories, but obviously also seek to be entertained by the romance and this time I was a little disappointed if I'm honest. Freddie is a plucky heroin,e but I thought she took advantage of those who trusted her and I didn't always like that about her. Barnabas is not the usual chest beating alpha male that so many authors seem to prefer. He was a more reserved type of chap, and I hate to say sensitive but he certainly felt a little weaker at times then I wanted. I have no doubt that the two central characters enjoyed their "games" but it just felt as if Freddie was always in charge and for me that took some of the thrill out of the romance. He certainly deserves to get his girl but I'm still not sure if Freddie deserved him! She's a loyal friend and as the story unfolds clearly sees all the good that is Barnabas but for this reader it wasn't my favorite pairing . I'm not particularly a geek or anything, but I do enjoy reading about all the inventions in these books. Add a large dose of political intrigue and mystery and these stories are addictive. A fast paced, fun, and truly fascinating world that's filled with entertaining characters . These books are pure escapism and Gilded Lily was no exception!