Review: Of Magic and Engineering by Lyn Brittan
Who is this man? Prudence is blown away when her husband returns after abandoning her for three years. One would think that she'd be happy to have her husband back. This would be wrong since her husband, Lord Balloc, physically and emotionally abused her. He wooed her sweetly right up until the marriage. From then on, it was living hell.
Braced for the worst, Prudence tries to deal with her errant spouse. Imagine to her surprise, he's completely different. Did he have a lobotomy? Why is he so nice? She's been trying scrape by through selling everything in the house as well as living off the land. His return is an unexpected boon as he's loaded with money and immediately starts putting the house and land in order. This is a dream come true for Prudence, yet she's apprehensive, waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it does! Roland, Lord Balloc, explains why he's so different. Everything he tells her seems like a fantastic tale to pull a quick one on her.
Both Prudence and Roland are typical historical romance characters. The slight difference is the steampunk elements. Roland is as steampunk as it gets in the story. If we remove the reference to cars and the ornithoper, this could be categorized as a historical romance story. I would have enjoyed a bit more steampunk elements. Perhaps references to household appliances or light fixtures would make it more steampunk.
Without more of the steampunk elements permeating the story, the magic portion is more prevalent. Yet, the magic piece is very lightly touched upon. We only have references to the evil villain's magic and Prudence's witchery. It's all rather vague. I would have preferred more demonstrations of magic rather than being told about the magic. This would have enhanced the story for me.
There were a couple of threads that didn't help the main plot yet they enriched the story by building more depth for Roland's character. I liked some of the things revealed about his past. Overall, this was a short enjoyable piece. I recommend this short steampunk story to romance lovers who love a happily ever after.