There are times when an idea plants itself in my head, takes root, and refuses to fade.
(Usually those times happen late at night, just when I am trying to fall asleep.)
Last night, I had one of those ideas. Having earlier finished a new book, one particular scene caught my fancy and it wouldn’t let go. So, being the obsessive-compulsive that I am, (very) early this morning I took pencil to paper and sketched out the basic architecture. Still it remained. I then blocked in the highlights and shadows. Then, color.
Hours later, I finished the sketch to my (not-really, but I needed sleep) satisfaction.
It isn’t often that a story will do that to me. Take hold of my thoughts so obsessively that I can think of nothing else until the idea becomes a tangible manifestation. Since this one had that effect, I thought I would write up a quick review, because if you like fantasy, especially that takes place around the turn of the 19th century, I think you’ll really love this book.
First, the scene I depicted (below) is a small one where Matthew Glass removes India Steele’s coat for her. A simple gesture, but the whole moment is wrought with romantic tension and I loved the chemistry they shared. So much so that I had to sketch it.
Now, for my (brief) review:
India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who’ll accept her – an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he’s ill.
Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won’t tell India why any old one won’t do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London’s best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she’s certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she’ll find herself unemployed and homeless again – and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life.
This story has everything I look for in a quality, entertaining piece of fiction. 1) A strong female lead, 2) a dark and mysterious male character (I admit, they are my weakness), 3) eloquent writing, and 4) lots of quirky humor and banter.
It kept my attention and while the story unfolds at a leisurely pace, I did not find it overly sluggish or at all boring. There was just enough mystery to keep me turning the pages. The characters are well written (although the villain aspect was just a tad one-dimensional for my tastes).
A solid four out of five stars.