Another fun Steampunk with a classic fairy-tale twist... Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen (Review)

I loved the first Steampunk Proper Romance, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, that I read back in 2016 and have been dying for another release in this line of books and from this author ever since. Finally, I get my wish! I'm hoping there are plenty more to come. Check out my review below...

Kiss of the Spindle
(A Proper Romance)
By Nancy Campbell Allen

Adult Steampunk, Fairy Tale
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
July 3rd 2018 by Shadow Mountain


A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date—after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette—the witch who cursed her—Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

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My Review

KISS OF THE SPINDLE is another fun Steampunk twist on a classic fairy tale, this time the classic story of Sleeping Beauty. There are plenty of nods to the original, but this story really holds it own without needing to know the original or the previous book in this series. The journey is interesting from start to finish even with it taking place almost exclusively on an airship. The heroine is a fabulous protagonist with a cast of other characters who are also equally likable. The chemistry between her and the leading man is palpable and drives much of the story. An overall light Steampunk for fans of the genre who are looking for a good story to dive into.

Isla... I really adored her! She's fierce, smart, talented, skilled, but also has this huge heart. I loved the initial scene when she first meets Daniel and how that all plays out. I also loved how their relationship proceeds. It's the best kind of romance with plenty of swoon-worthy moments and some really fun ones as well. Daniel is also a fabulous character! He's everything you want in a captain of an airship and a successful entrepreneur, and, most importantly, to be Isla's counterpart. I liked his struggle with his bachelor status and the conflicting emotions towards Isla, especially as he tries to figure out why her carrying a dagger and being able to use it is so attractive. There were a handful of other characters and they all played their parts well. Lewis is definitely a favorite from the bunch, as is Daniel's sidekick bot, and Crowe snuck his way into my heart as well.

Let's talk a little about the plot... As I said, I loved the beginning of this story and how it developed from there. There are plenty of Steampunk references and the reader isn't given a lot of explanations as to what things are, so if you're really, really unfamiliar with the genre, you may want to read the first book or read some other steampunk (or just enjoy the fabulous romance and forget about the steampunk part). As I'm familiar with the genre, everything was at it should be. I wouldn't have minded it to be stronger in this area, but there was a really good balance of not one aspect taking over the story or overshadowing the romance and the original goal of Isla. The story moved at a good pace, with plenty of intrigue, some suspicion, and a lovely amount of chemistry between Isla and Daniel. The ending was fabulously climatic, with some added drama, and so many wonderful nods to Disney's Sleeping Beauty that it was just plain delightful (even pitying what these poor character had to go through).

I had just a few issues - or maybe more of things I would have like developed more - with the story. I would have liked some of the side characters to be a little more distinct. I knew who they were, but sometimes they got confused in my head. They just needed a little more development or stronger voices maybe. I also wanted the villain to be drawn a little more - be a little more developed. Then I also was wondering when there would be some action. I'm used to some action when it's Steampunk and there are shifters and such. It would have been nice to maybe have some action with a bad shifter at some point in the story or when Isla would have gone into stealth or tracking mode at a previous point. I was happy that there was action eventually. It came at the right time when I was just hoping for some.

In the end, was it what I wished for? If you love Steampunk, fairy tale retellings, sweet romance, and fabulous characters, this one is for you. I enjoyed it thoroughly and am happily anticipating the next Steampunk fairy-tale twist from this author and line of books!

Content: Some innuendo and violence, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

Other Books in the Series

  The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott (Historical Proper Romance #2) The Sheriffs of Savage Wells
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast Forever and Forever (Historical Proper Romance) A Lady's Favor My Fair Gentleman
Heir to Edenbrooke Lord Fenton's Folly A Heart Revealed 
(Books link to my review or Amazon.)

About the Author

Nancy Campbell Allen (N.C. Allen) has a degree in elementary education and has been writing for fun since the third grade. Her first book was published in 1999, and she now has eleven books to her credit—four contemporary romance and seven historicals, including the award-winning Civil War series Faith of Our Fathers—and plans to write until the day she dies. She loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She has completed two half marathons and is trying to talk herself into doing another one. Nancy lives in Ogden, Utah, with her husband and three children, although one recently married, moved out, and brought a son-in-law to the mix. She still maintains that this does not make her old.

Have you read this one or any of the other books in this series or by this author? Did you read the first Steampunk Proper Romance, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast?

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