Shadow Mountain released the third book in Nancy Cambell Allen’s fairytale-inspired steampunk series, Lady in the Coppergate Tower this fall. This proper romance narrates the love story between Hazel and Sam Macinnes, a brilliant surgeon. Hazel thinks a romance is forbidden to them on account of their different stations in life and the fact that she works as a nurse assistant in his office. Everything changes when her mysterious and previously unknown Uncle, Count Prescu, claims her as his niece. Petrescu insists on taking her to Romania to meet her twin sister. Both Sam and Hazel know that the Count is up to no good and team up together to try and discover his secrets.
This book has a lot of fun elements and a decent plotline, but I found it kind of ho-hum. The author presents a lot of promising conflicts but never really explores them completely or thematically. The characters are trapped in a submarine for most of the plot and while the atmosphere is creepy, almost haunting, there was also almost nothing going on most of the time. They were surrounded by tons that did almost nothing but stare at them. I’ve said it before, I love big-cast plots, so maybe this just wasn’t the book for me. It is also possible this book had a mild case of sagging middle syndrome.
Eugene, Sam’s ton, was interesting and posed questions about where humanity starts and ends. The author didn’t really explore these questions, though, which would have paired nicely with other elements in the plot–Prescu’s obsession with obtaining life-extending objects, the true depth of Hazels healing powers, and the world’s definition of Zombie’s. There is super interesting stuff here but the plot isn’t constructed in a way to thematically explore these interesting conflicts. The book is content to be a romance novel, which to be fair is how it is marketed. It delivers a story that will satisfy its intended audience, but I see a frustrating amount of potential taking a back seat to genre conventions. I wished the book had managed to be both a romance novel and grappled with interesting thematic material at the same time.
My copy of this book was obtained from shadow mountain through NetGalley.