Isn't that a fabulous cover? Now, you all know me...I have a thing for good cover art. I have been known, on many an occasion, to judge a book almost entirely by its cover. And so it was that, after my science fiction book group finished discussing our September selection at Borders, the group spread out to browse through the store. And what do I see on the New Releases table but this book. I mean, the cover practically leaped out at me, wrapped a brawny arm around my neck, pulled me close, and breathed menacingly in my ear, "Buy me, woman!" But I'm not quite that easy, so I took a moment to read the cover caption:
A novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols.
Parasols?! And I was tempted, oh, so very tempted, but still I resisted. Then I read the blurb on the back:
First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse, apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and a werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe that Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening in London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful, or just embarassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
At that point, I was a goner. I ran gleefully through Borders, with the book clutched in my hot little hand, to show my sci fi friends what a treasure I had found. And then I went home and read it. Not all at once, you understand, but almost immediately, which rarely ever happens with the books I buy anymore.
So, how was the book, Min? It was, in a word, delightful. Alexia is a stubbornly intelligent, but ever so proper (when it's called for) young woman with a devoted friend (whose dreadful taste in hats is a running gag), a mostly appalling family (her stepfather isn't so bad), and a reluctant werewolf suitor (whose beta may well be the most intriguing character in the whole book), all out of the best traditions of Austen and Heyer. Except for the werewolf part. It's a sweet little romance and a Victorian adventure story and a goofy comedy of manners and a proto-urban fantasy, all rolled up into one charming little book, and I absolutely loved it. I don't want to give too much more away and spoil the fun, but suffice it to say, I will be buying the sequel, "Changeless", as soon as it hits the shelves of the local bookstore.