London, 1889: Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin's son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.
At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire's talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It's not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices...
When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his...if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals....
©2011 Shelley Adina (P)2013 Shelley Adina
It's difficult to find good family entertainment that is clean, creative and well written. I have found all three in The Lady. I sincerely hope the series continues in that vein.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (teen historical fiction) - This is Book 1 in the Magnificent Devices series. It is probably a great book for teens but, let's face it, I'm not a teen and I bought it by mistake. It's well-written and beautifully performed, but the story is simple and fairly juvenile. It is based somewhere in England in the early days of steam engines. The main character, Claire, is a young lady of fine breeding who graduates from the English equivalent of high school. Then through a series of events, she finds herself on the streets, penniless, and taking care of a bunch of orphan children and surviving in the underworld. The characters are endearing, but the story just never had enough going on to interest my adult brain. The ending of the book is more like the beginning of a new alliance, so you will need to continue the series if you want to come to the conclusion. I'm stopping here.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator is female and has a lovely voice. I enjoyed listening to her read the story.
OVERALL - No sex or cursing and just a tiny bit of violence, so it's fine for teenagers. Just remember the story doesn't stand alone. I'd recommend for girls more than for guys because the main character is female. Adults need to skip this book.
This is my first Steampunk, and Shelley Adina has me hooked! Loved the book and can't wait to find out what happens next. The narrator is absolutely perfect for these characters. I was right there with them! I highly recommending listening. In fact, it might even be better than reading on my Kindle.
Inventions are marvelous.
This one is short. She crawls into an known laboratory, scrambles out and back to the inhabitation of her possessions, then through that science gained with manhy failed experimentation, or despite the failures in "home chemistry", she accomplishes the unbelievable. Lady Claire manages not only to stand up for herself against many other with more worldly understandings, but also to regain her possessions in total!
See "most memorable moments"...
Even with his eyes burning from the capsules, Willie's instant kinship with Lady Claire is quite touching.
It's like survivors guilt in one breath. I feel, as often I do, that I must suffer the incorporation of others misfortunes, because I have not personnaly experienced them. I feel that I must pay for whiteness, for anglo-ness, and for the every ounce of me that has strived and succeeded for everything that I have acquired as a woman, when so many, past and present do not have even the slightest bit of my opportunity, because I am a white, anglo, 21st century female. It all sucks. I hate what people suffer today and certainly what people have suffered in my stead previously so that I might break the cycle and break the ceiling.
If I provide no bit of anything (double negative intended...), I would like to say that I, as do many, take a female's rights and role in society for granted at times. I'm not a staunch feminist, because I believe that the only way to kill the investation of stupidity is to constantly widdle away at its incessant nature.
We go along and make plans and have dreams and nearly succeed as well as any male. Not so long ago, certainly, even in the last 50 years, we would not have had that opportunity. Our parents would have had much more hold over our dreams and ambitions, overwritten even then, by our "husbands" perception of our role(s) in society. Being a woman of science, of STEM, of programming and any type of accomplishment for which I endeavor, regardless of the glass ceiling that still exists, I can say firmly that this was a frustrating listen.
I read the UK reviews. I admit that I am not fully familiar with the various accents of the various areas. I'm sure some of them are hard to recreate without a leaning toward stereotyping one group or another... In most cases, one class or another... However, with the exception of McTavish, which certainly should have had a leaning toward, at the very least, an approximation of someone from up in the Wooler or New Castle areas (The Gaelic name Mac Tamhais is pronounced similarly to 'MacTavis' or 'MacTavish' (the "mh" in Gaelic pronounced as the "v"), the rest of it seems reasonable for lower-end... lower-class, cockney London... However, I am very much at a loss to having a realistic understanding of the various dialects of the country, regardless of how close I might stand in heritage to its origins...
I rarely concede to give a book four stars. However, I'm so impressed, not only with the story but equally with the narrator. This story has no boring moments. It moves at a good pace and will keep your interest by moving so quickly from one excitement to another. If you take a chance on a new novel, I highly recommend that you choose this one! You won't be disappointed. I read it from beginning to end in one day. I just couldn't find a good place to pause. The narrator is to be commended! I will look for her narration in other books.
An interesting tale, but at this time the author didn't really do much for the "why you should care" about my characters. I wasn't vested at first but since I was listening in the car and didn't want to listen to the radio, kept going. the middle to the end is where the book grabbed me and kept me interested. I'm hopeful that the next book will be more engaging.
I did enjoy the narrator very much and would be interested in listening to some of her other work.
Thomas Le Min
This is an engaging story that takes a totally new approach to the steampunk genre by setting it amongst the trials of a debutante whose family has suffered a catastrophe. Fiona Hardingham does a terrific job narrating this story and handling the variety of voices, both male and female, and running the full range from beggar to posh. Her narration added considerably to my enjoyment in listening to this tale, and I look forward to listening to other books In this series,mass well as by the author and the narrator.
Tried at a time to listen to this... Wasn't catching me... Sadly about a year later it stuck.. And wow... The kind of story you truly remember... Can taste the dust from the street, want to squish a couple of characters and honestly love more.... So well done... Only wish is they were longer!!!.
I loved the interplay among the street gang and Claire. I loved the way Claire defied her mother without a single confrontation.
The way Claire makes her strength known and takes charge. She is 17 but old enough for marriage but she decides that Is Not for her. She has learned to drive a car and lusts for more knowledge which made her unusual for the times.
When she shot Luke and then didn't realize he was dead. She was an innocent but learned quickly.
I adore the Magnificent Devices series. The first book is a little slow, but all of the characters are introduced, in order to set the scene for the rest of the series. Excellent story of a girl doing anything she must, and realizing she's not as helpless as she thought.
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