Emmeline Muchamore is a well-bred young lady hiding explosive family secrets. She needs to marry well, and quickly, in order to keep her family respectable. But when her brass heart malfunctions, she makes a desperate choice to steal the parts she needs to repair it and survive.
She is unable to explain her actions without revealing she has a steam-powered heart, so she is arrested for theft and transported to Victoria, Australia – right in the midst of the Gold Rush.
Now that she’s escaped the bounds of high society, iron manacles cannot hold her for long.
The only metal that really matters is gold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Society doesn't allow young men to marry science experiments". Straight from that first line we steam into enormous fun. Emmeline Muchamore needs to marry and fast to save her family from penury. But .. "Mrs Dawes was unlikely to appreciate the sight of her perspective daughter in law steaming violently from between the breasts." Our heroine must take action to prevent this, as any well-bred lady would, understandably, but what she does is disastrous. In just one day she plunges from the eligible ranks of London's high society to a grim prison ship. To keep her brass heart a secret Miss Muchamore adopts one desperate measure after another. She is even forced to associate with, sniff, an Irish currency lad, Patrick. What a come-down for a British lady. But equipped with her probability parasol and pet rats and her affinity with the mysterious properties of metals, our Emmaline hangs firmly on to her bonnet. "This new horizon was mine. It just didn't know it yet." Felicity Banks has created a heroine whose foibles and prejudices only add to her strengths. I loved the droll lines delivered on every page. Readers might also become intrigued by the events in non-steampunk Australian history referenced in this rollicking story. With 'Heart of Brass' you also get a second book. Yes, two for the price of one, more in fact, because 'After the Flag Fell' is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style bonus which picks up after the exciting finale of Heart of Brass. YOU can choose what fate befalls the characters! There are all sorts of scenarios to act out. I spent another two hours engrossed in the possibilities - meeting a terrible fate too often and trying again and again for a nicer ending.
How could I resist steam punk set in colonial Australia? Felicity Banks’ debut novel Heart of Brass, was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I love steam punk novels and Banks has put her own twist on the genre in this one. From the novelty of the book being set in colonial Australia, to the notion that the metals are in some way sentient, this was a refreshing, fun, rollicking story. Emmeline’s family fortunes have taken a nosedive and she has been slowly selling the family’s more valuable possessions in order to keep up the appearance of respectable gentility. The family’s future depends on her marrying well. In the opening scene of the novel we see her waiting for the arrival of her potential beau and his mother. Of course the meeting with the beau and his mother goes awry and the ensuing events see Emmeline transported to Australia — thus begins the real adventure. Emmeline is not your average Victorian miss. Her father replaced her heart when she was nine, with a mechanised one made out of brass and silver. Emmeline is a practical young woman and has inherited her father’s technological genius. She likes nothing more than tinkering with and inventing new machinery in her workshop. The novel is told in first person and the Emmeline’s voice throughout is delightful, in that it conveys what I imagine is a very convincing Victorian voice. The character is well developed and actually learns and changes during the course of the book. I love the way that Emmeline, though resourceful and intelligent, has her own failings. Her Victorian snobbery and adherence to the dictates of fashion are tested and eroded. Banks writes Emmeline with a dry wit and at times her thoughts will make you laugh out loud. The pacing of the story was steady from the beginning but very much picked up once Emmeline was in Australia. I felt occasionally that the very Victorian nature of the character’s voice — that prim and proper manner about her, did sometimes lessen the pace of some of the action sequences. However, ironically I still found them vastly enjoyable because even when chaos was erupting around her, she was still so “straight laced.” The weaving of Australian history into Emmeline’s adventure was clever and there were some fabulous twists and turns in the escapades of Emmeline and her companions. I had no trouble visualising any of the scenes and settings that Banks wrote, which is a testament to her writing. I found myself not wanting to put this book down and read it very quickly. This is a fabulous yarn and well worth your time to pick up and read I highly recommend it. Four Stars!