Title: The Blacksmith’s Lover (Amazon)
Series: The Clockpunk Trilogy, #2
Author: Heather Massey
Genre: Historical Romance, Steampunk
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: June 1, 2012 by Red Sage Publishing
The year is 1840. On the run after being caught in a scandalous incident, scullery maid Sarah Bailey must find refuge before her vengeful former mistress has her killed. When she stumbles upon a blacksmith’s shop in need of an apprentice in West Boylston, Massachusetts, she applies for the position.
Viktor is a brawny, reclusive blacksmith who creates strange clockwork and steam-powered devices. The gruff man makes it clear that Sarah’s plight is no concern of his, but ghosts from his past dictate otherwise. Viktor agrees to protect the spunky maid, but only until her trail of henchmen runs cold.
Sarah quickly discovers that the fire of this blacksmith’s forge runs volcanic hot. Unable to resist one another, she and Viktor begin a lust-filled affair. But how long will their idyllic arrangement last before Sarah’s former mistress destroys it?
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Good set up for a unique steampunk erotic romance but the flimsy excuse to put the heroine in danger (and necessitate a rescue) is silly and contrived.
The Set Up: Sarah is a scullery maid on the run from her employers after the wife found her husband nearly raping Sarah but blamed Sarah. Sarah is hungry, cold and desperate when she stumbles upon Viktor, a reclusive blacksmith. While Sarah and Viktor explore their passion, Sarah’s evil ex-employers won’t give up their chase of her. When they find her, Viktor must use his inventions to keep Sarah safe.
Why I Read this Book: I am quickly coming to adore imaginative steampunk romance as it combines my love of historical romances with sci-fi. I’m always on the hunt for good steampunk and the side benefit is I’m often introduced to new authors along the way.
What I Liked: Sarah and Viktor are unique leads. Neither is rich or powerful or incredibly beautiful, instead they’re lonely, normal people interested in each other. I loved this realistic couple who had insecurities, histories, and fears—as well as mature sexual desires.
What I Also Liked: I enjoyed how the author didn’t rush their romance. The novella takes place over many months and allows Viktor and Sarah to engage in a dance of sexual courtship as they work the blacksmith shop building mechanical creatures. This romance manages to perfectly balance idealistic romance and realism and I greatly enjoyed their courtship.
What I Didn’t Like: This is a HUGE dislike for me. Sarah knows she’s in hiding from her former employers. Viktor even tells her henchmen have been asking after her. He begs her to stay home and be safe. So what does Sarah do? Get some serious hankering for McDonald’s and runs to town (okay, so it was in the 1800’s and spinach isn’t McDonald’s but still!) Sarah goes to town and surprise, surprise, henchmen capture her. This was such a contrived plot device that it nearly ruined the story for me. Sarah was an intelligent woman up to that point and suddenly a food craving causes her to lose her muther-effin-mind and need to run to the store?! Not buying it and it nearly caused me to stop reading. I’m glad I didn’t because I would have missed the big steampunk showdown but holy cow I was irritated at Sarah’s stupidity.
IMO: Readers who like erotic steampunk will like this story as I did but no doubt be just as irritate at the contrived danger plot.