Victoria’s work with automatons has gained her renown and changed the face of London. But her concern that the clockworks are taking too many jobs away from humans, creating social unrest, is ignored. Given the ugly mood of the underclass, she fears more outbreaks of violence similar to the murder spree of the notorious Southwark Slasher.
Dash, unemployed thanks to the clockworks, has pledged fealty to The Brotherhood, a group determined to bring about the downfall of the automatons by any means necessary. His plan to kidnap Victoria goes awry when the unorthodox scientist pledges her assistance to their cause.
Despite their opposite social classes, a bond grows between them, and Victoria begins to feel emotions she never expected for the passionate Dash. But when the Slasher strikes close to home, Dash and Victoria realize that the boundaries of polite society are far from the only threat to their happiness…
If you are a regular reader of my blog you might know that I like Bonnie Dee a lot. When I saw “Like Clockwork” available at Netgalley I requested it quickly for two reasons. Well, it’s by Bonnie Dee and it has a Steampunk theme.
As it turned out the story is a mixture of Steampunk, romance and mystery with a definite Jack the Ripper flavour (here called “Southwark Slasher”). After the first few pages I got the impression that the society in the story is somewhat like the ancient Romans, lazy, decadent and letting the automatons do all the work. However, the social problems that might come from a flooding of slaves (here: automatons) were solved by trying to get rid of all the poor that were driven out of work.
Victoria is another one of those down to earth heroines with very unconventional ways. Being kidnapped by Dash didn’t make her bat an eyelid; the necessary attraction to him did the rest to make this a very pleasant read. She was ready to acknowledge her feelings, something I always like in a woman, and act on them accordingly. Actually she was the driving force, which is quite unusual.
The automaton problem was not resolved in the story. I could complain about this, but the story was almost too short as it was, I could hardly expect to see such a complex social problem solved. At least the Slasher was brought to justice, well, sort of anyway. Call me slow, but I had no idea about who it was, even though in retrospect the prologue already should have given me a clue.
The Steampunk angle was quite nice, but apart from the ubiquitous dirigible in the sky and, of course, the automatons themselves, there was not much difference to a historical romance. It seems “clockwork” is THE Steampunk word. I don’t know how many Steampunk titles are out there with “clockwork” in the title, but somehow I get the feeling that that word is being seriously overused.
For lovers of short romance this is definitely worth a try.
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