Engineer Winifred "Wink" Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.
Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can't say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend's missing son. They soon discover that London's poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious "mechanical" men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.
Fighting against time—and their escalating feelings for each other—Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it's too late...
Moonlight and Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape is the fourth book in her Gaslight Chronicles series and presents what's most entertaining about steam punk. The intriguingly twisted look of Regency London with its use of sci-fi technology and deadly air that requires wearing air masks lets the reader know they're on a trip they've never been on before. For readers not familiar with this genre this book leaves a satisfying impression.
Wink Hadrian isn't your average female in that she hates dressing up and loves fixing things and creating new technological gadgets. She's from the streets but was lucky to be adopted into an influential family. She remembers what it was like to be poor and still goes back to help those from her youth. She's good with a sword and never leaves home without wearing an arsenal concealed under her skirt. She's a modern-thinking woman and I found much to like about her. She's outspoken and knows what and who she wants and Liam doesn't stand a chance against her. Once she proves it, their sexual interludes are steamy and show an animalistic yet tender side to each of the scenes that are perfectly spaced throughout the latter half of the story.
Among the vampires haunting and killing on these streets is Inspector Liam McCullogh, a werewolf with daddy issues. Growing up in a home with a father who was abusive to both him and his mother has left him worried that it's in his blood and that he'll do the same to any woman he'd marry. Therefore he's desperate to keep away from Wink even by helping another man try to win her over. His body knows better though and in a weak moment he claims her. She's happy with a casual relationship but with all the recent kidnappings in town danger is afoot and life is too short for casual. Before he knows it his life is in danger as is all of London from an army of metal men and women created in a lab.
It's as if Frankenstein's been let loose in London in the exciting final moments of this story that leaves a lasting impression. The technological gadgets are fascinating and add more intoxicating visuals to the story. Along with the appealing main characters comes a slew of intriguing secondary characters with unique abilities of their own. Some have visions of the future, some can see ghosts, some know witchcraft, and some have super-strength. These abilities were handed down to them and they fight together against evil. There's an undercurrent of sexual tension among some of the characters and I look forward to how these feelings with affect future stories. I've not read the other books in this series but I had no trouble understanding what was going on. I definitely would've had a richer experience though had I read the other books and will remedy that soon. This was a satisfying story that started off a bit slow but with a memorable storyline amidst a visually appealing world it sucked me in wholeheartedly and I know fans of steam punk will want to add this to their must-read list.
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.