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The Dirigible King's Daughter Kindle Edition
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So far, all this is fairly standard romance novel stuff. And indeed, the steampunk bits sneak in subtly at the edges… a mention of a steam carriage here, an airship there, perhaps a cogwork-enhanced fortune teller or a mysterious “rod system” that carries data through a giant pipe running alongside the road. This is a kinder, gentler steampunk world in which Victorian manners and dress take precedence over any explanations of the internal combustion engine’s failure to launch or the dirigibles’ failure to explode regularly a la Hindenburg. The focus of the story remains firmly on Harriet’s conflicts with her father’s death, her upcoming trial, the return of Charlie—former dance partner now even further socially removed by his family’s ascendence into the peerage—and a possibly/probably fake engagement.
Within those boundaries, The Dirigible King’s Daughter is a lovely story. The pace steadily picks up as it moves to the courtroom dramatics, the romance is sweet rather than hot or steamy, the dialog charming. I enjoyed Harriet’s confusion as she attempts to reconcile her heart with the strong pragmatic woman her head tells her to be. With the exception of Harriet herself, there is very little character development, but since the supporting characters are stock tropes, little more is needed. Homage is paid to romance tropes, with some updated nods to feminist leanings. There is a bit of steampunk worldbuilding, but like the whisps of steam lingering between the buildings when Harriet visits London, the science behind the steam isn’t even mentioned.
The Dirigible King’s Daughter is a quick entertaining read for those who enjoy romance, steampunk, or just a charmingly-written and beautifully edited little book that makes few demands and delivers exactly what it promises.
***I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
It’s clear Harriet Hardy, a supporter of the Suffragette movement, is not a woman to trifle with nor underestimate. We meet her as she loads the pistol she keeps in her reticule, before meeting a client. She owns and runs the property letting business left to her by her Uncle Humphrey. Harriet and her mother were left destitute after her father’s disgrace and subsequent death years before and if not for Uncle Humphrey, Harriet dare not think what might have happened to them.
Her experience the previous day when, showing Alderman Fitch round one of her houses, made Harriet very thankful for, and glad she carries, her pistol. A woman alone can never be too careful. The Alderman made improper advances and refused to take no for an answer. When Harriet took her pistol from her bag as a deterrent, the Alderman was amused, not believing she could, or would, use it. Harriet was obliged to discharge her pistol harmlessly to prove him wrong.
As she shows Viscount Ripley round the same house the next day, the Alderman along with two police officers, arrive at the front door accusing Harriet of attempted murder. She makes her escape with the aid of Viscount Ripley, who offers a solution to save her reputation. Harriet is astonished to realise who he is… and that he is a dirigible pilot, as her father was.
This is completely different to Alys West’s first book, Beltane, which I loved, but is none the less enjoyable. I must admit I hadn’t come across the word dirigible before and no idea it was another name for an airship.
The subtle steampunk elements are woven into the story well and the dirigible flight scenes make great reading. Harriet is a worthy heroine, courageous and likeable, and I was rooting for her all the way. She’s had a lot to overcome but is very determined and independent. The manner and circumstances of her father’s death left her and her mother in dire straits and changed their lifestyle completely. They were forced to moved house, and chose to settle in Whitby, just as Bram Stokers’ Dracula became all the rage, which helped with Harriet’s business. But just when things begin looking up and there’s hope in Harriet’s future, life throws her a curve ball. A very well written and enjoyable romance.
This book is reviewed for Rosie Amber‘s book review team and is based on an ARC from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
When Harriet, businesswoman and daughter of the disgraced ‘Dirigible King’, is accused of attempted murder, she reluctantly turns to an old friend, and current Viscount, for help. But old scandals, new obstacles, and a lover that won’t give up all add to her already tough existence. Will she be able to cope?
Despite it’s light tone and fun story, there is an undertone to this novel around the subject of prejudice in its many forms that was well-woven and thought-provoking. The story itself unfolded gently, and balanced action and romance in a believably steampunk setting. An enjoyable read.
*I received a free copy from the author, via Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, in exchange for my honest review.