My rating: I’ll go there again! (4/5)
Gilded Lily is an entertaining, sweet steampunk romance (definitely more steampunk than romance). The third installment of the Steam and Seduction Series, it works very well as a stand-alone novel, with only one or two obvious references to previous plots and romances.
Fred (Freddie) Merchant is really Frederique Murcheson, a young lady of quality in steampunk London who prefers to spend her time in trousers, fixing mechanical tools and appliances. Her father, in his attempts to keep her safe and out of scandal, has assigned Lord Smith-Grenville as her latest minder. In short order, the secrets of each are exposed to the other, and they begin a partnership based on mutual extortion.
Barnabas Smith-Grenville is searching for his younger brother, Phineas, reported last seen in an opium den. While he is prepared to find his brother dead or an opium addict, he refuses to believe it could be true. To find out what’s happened to Phineas, Barnabas applies for a job with Freddie’s father, who used to employ Phineas. When Barnabas and Freddie sort out their mutual supposedly hidden agendas, they decide to work together to investigate his brother’s disappearance and her father’s clandestine doings. In the usual manner of stories about amateur sleuths, they stumble upon deeper secrets and conspiracies than they have prepared for, and are soon dealing with an opium smuggler, earthquakes, underwater science stations, and deadly squid-like creatures. (more…)