by Sharon Cameron
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published: September 1st 2012
by Scholastic Press
Book Source: Publisher
Book Summary From Goodreads:
A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!
When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.
Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.
As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.
Review by ephrielle:
Upon finishing this book I was ready to rate it a three star. At which point I read the inspiration for this book and it immediately deserved a higher rating. Knowing that this book has in some small measure basis in fact made it much more real.
I think the reason I wasn’t completely enamored was the book primarily revolved around a person loosing their mind. That is a some scary and loose ground to cover. In fact the book was so well focused on this that when a 180 degree turn comes about the book sort of unraveled. Nothing quite made sense. Or perhaps it was my mind that was a bit unraveled page by page.
Also, the book seemed more than ordinarily out on a limb than I expected. It didn’t feel as grounded in the time frame as you would expect. Sure it is steam punk so there is going to be some grand differences but it should still feel time appropriate. This isn’t a big deal as it is supposed to be part of the point. They are in this very remote pocket of land where society and the natural order hold little sway. Which also likely accounts for the jarring feeling I felt after the climax. Society all of sudden begins to creep its talons back into the area.
The ending was a little bit bitter sweet. There wasn’t a solid happy ever after but more of a good hope for one in the future. All in all it was a great book and it didn’t take long to read. The characters are fun to meet and one in particular unique and endearing. I can’t say I agree with the opening paragraph of the summary of the book. While yes everything it implies does occur it is a bit exaggerated. I do however recommend reading this book as it was an enjoyable read.
About the author: Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages.