An decent distraction read that will likely appeal to genre fans. I needed the distraction as I was waiting in the emergency room with my mom who had broken her arm (for those of you who know of my broken finger last year, you can tell I come by my grace honestly). So without damning it with faint praise, it worked for me, in this situation, where my normal critical thinking skills were otherwise occupied. That doesn’t mean I would have tolerated just anything, however. The tv in the E.R. room stayed ‘off.’
This is the first in a series staring Beatrice, investigator for a clandestine Society of Paranormals. The head of the society is a werewolf, so right away we’re keyed in to the dimensions of the occult. Beatrice is also haunted the ghost of her dead husband, Gideon. Alas, fortunes in the household have changed dramatically, and they must follow Father as he accepts a post in Africa. On the boat, Beatrice meets an effusive young woman. Initially off-putting with her refusal to bow to Victorian decorum, Beatrice realizes she might not have much opportunity for socializing out in the bush and should make the best of it.
“We hadn’t been formally introduced, but I was so startled that rather than ignore the person (the socially appropriate response to such an intrusive and offensive question), I turned to face a young woman with a pleasant, rosy countenance, a charmingly plump figure and dark-blue eyes.”
It’s light, it’s generally cute and ought to appeal to those who enjoy Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate. I feel like there’s might have been thing going on here with the Magical Negro and White Savior which was sadly unsurprising. Take Victorian attitudes about non-white races, and what is an author left with? Still, there’s also fierce lions, a robot and a gently developing love interest, so it has plenty to keep one distracted–although for me the love interest description became an irritation. Why must authors use ‘taunt’ and ‘smirk’ when they mean ‘tease?’ I counted at least four instances of ‘smirk’ after this one.
“He smirked as if delighted to be the object of my attention.“
It’s not particularly intense, which is nice for those times when one’s read is interrupted by emergency room staff. There is the feeling of the novella about it as the ending felt a bit rushed–but that could have been us getting ready to leave the E.R. It could have been the author juggling a bit much to wrap everything up, but at least there are subsequent books available.
Two and a half stars, rounding up for keeping my mind busy