Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale (e-novella) by Christine Bell

The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale is a time travel romance with a historical setting. It was published by Carina Press and is 25,900 words long.

Carina Press also has this in their Steampunk category, but I don't know that I agree with that. If it does count as steampunk, that element is extremely light.

Review:

The year is 1836. After her younger brother, Bacon, loses his time travel mechanism to the Loony Duke of Leister in a drunken card game, Stormy comes up with a plan to get it back. Although the mechanism has been disassembled just enough so that there's little chance of anyone accidentally activating it, it's too risky to go back to the 21st century and leave it behind.

Stormy's plan involves dressing as a gypsy fortuneteller, somehow luring the Duke into her tent (assuming he even walks by, and that she can recognize him despite never having met him), and then drugging him and robbing him blind. Unfortunately, things don't go quite the way she expected.

I'll start off by saying this was written in first person POV, and Stormy's “voice” was very much that of a modern American woman, even though she spent the first 13 years of her life as a grubby street urchin in 19th century London.

This was a fun and largely fluffy read that could have been so much better if it had been fleshed out more. The thing that bugged me the most was how quickly Stormy and Devlin ended up in bed together. Okay, so they had some history together, but that was years ago. They'd both been teens, and they'd both gone through a lot since then. And yes, they were both attracted to each other, but they'd only known each other as adults for a few hours. The sex happened way too quickly.

Too many events were quickly summed up, rather than shown, or briefly covered in diary entries. I'd have liked to see more of Stormy and Bacon's childhood, after they were adopted by Gilly. I'd have liked to see more of the "time pirate" aspect. I'd also have liked to see more of Devlin, who spent much of the story as a mysterious and possibly dangerous figure.

I mostly enjoyed this, although I don't know that I'll be buying the sequel.

Read-alikes:
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog (book) by Connie Willis - This is an entertaining and humorous time travel novel. This might appeal to those who wished that Bell's novella had had more time travel in it, although I should mention that there is only a tiny bit of romance in this. I've written about this book.
  • The Mysterious Lady Law (e-novella) by Robert Appleton - I haven't read this yet, although it's on my e-reader. Based on the description, it sounds like it would appeal to those who enjoyed the "just what sort of person is the Loony Duke?" aspect of Bell's novella. However, I should note that this does not appear to be a romance story.
  • Yesterday's Heroes (e-novella) by Heather Long - This might be a good one for those who'd like another time travel romance that's steamier than anything I've included on this list so far. One superhero is sent back in time to kill another in order to stop a terrible future from coming to be.

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