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August 3, 2019

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen ~ a Review

by MK French

Hazel Hughes had always thought she had a connection with ghosts, but her real skills lay with her photographic memory, reasoning skills, and healing ability. It helps her work with Sam MacInnes, a surgeon who values hard work and medical skills rather than his noble lineage. When she hears from Count Petrescu that she is actually of Romanian nobility abducted from birth and her twin sister is gravely ill, of course, Hazel wants to help her sister. Sam won't let her go alone, and neither can explain the unease they feel around the Count. The journey to Romania grows steadily worse, and the truth is stranger than Hazel originally thought.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

August 2019; Shadow Mountain; 978-1629725543
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); steampunk, romance
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower is a standalone novel in the same steampunk world that Nancy Campbell Allen had written in before. It draws heavily from Dracula mythology as well as elements of the Rapunzel fairy tale, which is actually a much more fun combination than you would think. The first chapter, which introduces Hazel and Sam to each other, feels so contextually different from the rest of the novel that it feels more like it should have been a prologue or not included at all. There is enough build-up before the Count arrives that we can see how Hazel and Sam react to the world around them, as well as some explanations of the clockwork miracles that exist in this alternate universe. There are automatons and Travelers, a vehicle that is more like a steam-powered and motorized version of the Victorian carriages used throughout the period, as well as scribers, which seems to react almost like texting via some kind of wifi. In the midst of this is also magic and paranormal activities that are readily accepted as part of the norm.

The mystery of the Count and the difficulties surrounding the travel carries a lot of tension, and in the middle of all this, Hazel and Sam's attraction deepens. The dance they make around each others' feelings is a delightful kind of awkward because they're very cute with each other. The Count from the first carries a lot of creepy menace, and that creepiness only increases as the rest of the novel progresses and it's clear that he's willing to use magic to lull the others into a sense of complacency. It's in the final quarter of the novel that we hit the clear Rapunzel parallels, and there's a lot more action involved. It's fast-paced and rapidly resolved at that point, but doesn't feel wanting or unfinished at all.

Buy The Lady in the Coppergate Tower at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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