In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.
Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.
Thanks to the publisher for granting me a free copy of this book for review. I can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Brass Queen was an incredibly fun and fast paced read. Filled to the brim with hidden personas, almost handsome cowboys, invisible assassins and one of the most well imagined steam punk worlds I’ve had the pleasure of reading. This regency romp took me on a wild adventure through the rugged northern town of Sheffield, and had me belly laughing, as well as getting slightly infuriated with our main characters.
Miss Constance Haltwhistle wants one thing in the world, to be able to run her family estate in her fathers absence. Alas she is a woman in Victorian England and so she must marry. Her social standing is slightly lacking due to her strange upbringing, and the fact that she runs an international arms business on the side. At her coming out party invisible assassins attack and steal away Constance’s one friend in life Dr Maya Chauhan, and Constance herself has to be saved by a gruff and completely underdressed yank. J.F. Trusdale has secrets of his own, but he finds himself helplessly drawn to Miss Haltwhistle. Hilarity, nakedness and shrewd disguises ensue, but the pair must work together if they are to stop an assassination and potentially the end of the world as we know it.
This book was exactly the light and feel good story I needed to read. I mean yes, the fate of the world may have been hanging in the balance, but Constance Haltwhistle will not let that stop her from acting like a proper young lady… plus a chain mail corset that is. Told from three perspectives: Constance is annoyed that there is no law that means she can inherit her fathers estate, she is determined to marry so she can continue looking after her home and the people who live there, as well as continue her side business as The Brass Queen, chief engineer in war weapons for elite customers. She has spent her life never quite fitting in with society, having only her cousin and servants as companions. So when she meets the gruff and almost handsome Mr Trusdale she is unsure how to proceed. He doesn’t act right, he doesn’t dress right, he doesn’t talk right and Constance is well aware that he is keeping secrets. But his size and willingness to fight does tend to come in handy during assassination attempts and Constance lives with her fair share of them.
J.F. Trusdale has never met a woman quite like Miss Haltwhistle, with her determined, and sometimes a little scary stare. With her unusual choice in underclothes and her perchance for wearing some slightly unfortunate looking hats, he see’s her as more of a hindrance than a help, even if the numerous attempts on their lives don’t tend to ruffle her in the slightest. Her plan with a capital P is sure to kill him before the end, but he can’t quite imagine dong it any other way. But if she brings up Babett’s Modern Manners one more time Trusdale might try and kill her himself. He is living with a secret that lays heavy on his heart, but is determined to see his mission though, even if that means teaming up with the infuriating Miss Haltwhistle.
Prince Lucien, the Queens favourite Grandson is not a patient man. He wants the throne, and he wants it now. There is just one little thing standing in his way, a certain miss Constance Haltwhistle who seems to be able to evade any kind of assassin he sends her way, even the invisible ones. Along with his ally the King of Sweden, Lucien plots to put an end to his Grandmother and claim the throne for himself. There are a multitude of other characters we get introduced to from Welli, Constances cousin to Cawley and Hearn her butler and driver. Every single character helps bring the story to life, and I couldn’t get enough of them.
I loved the setting for this book and the wonderful steam punk world the author brings to life. The Brass Queen is set in Sheffield in the North of England, which in of itself is a rarity. Filled with all the things I love about regency novels, the clothes, the manners, the brief touches and sly glances, but with the addition of flying dirigibles, flamethrowers and all other kinds of wonderful inventions the author comes up with. Her descriptive writing really brings the steam-punk world and the characters that inherit it to life, and it’s easy to imagine yourself in her world.
The romance and characters stay true to their regency England setting, which for this kind of story just made it all the more hilarious. Contance and J.F couldn’t be more different, not just in personality but in social standing… something which is pointed out on more than one occasion much to Trusdale’s chagrin. The relationship is based on the wittiest of banter, with an occasional touch, nakedness and the need to constantly save one another’s lives. The chemistry between these two was off the charts and as much as I wanted to hit them both over the head at parts, I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop.
If you’re in the mood for a fun and light read, that will have you howling with laughter and absolutely gripped to the pages then look no further. This isn’t normally a genre I would read, but I will certainly be checking out other similar titles because of how much I loved this. An easy 4/5 stars.