That’s right, today’s a triple review! The reason for it is that those are novelettes, which can be read in an afternoon.
I’ve first heard of Eva Deverell, a.k.a. Lady Writer, on Wattpad, back when I was planning to post stories there. On her website, she shares a lot of printables, among other useful things. Her Regency story The Female Correspondent has been on my “to-read” list ever since and I’ve finally read in this summer. It’s available for free as a pdf through her website or as an e-book through Amazon. The other two stories are available through her “coterie”, which is free and open to everyone—in 21st-century terms, it’s her mailing list.
The Female Correspondent (15,000-word Regency romance)
I couldn’t put it down. A determined female lead and an intelligent male lead bonding over flowers in the Regency Period… it’s basically tailored for me! This story made me want to write my own historical short story around botany and I even went so far as to outline it… Only the best stories make you want to copy them.
It’s well-written, the pacing especially. The language is quite simple, but still unmistakably “historical”. The characters are believable and relatable, for the most part. They don’t jump from the page like the characters in The Steampunk Club, however they’re still fun to follow around as the story unfolds. My utmost favourite element was the plot itself. It felt at the same time extraordinary and natural; one exceptional occurrence toppled the first domino, which through chain reactions could only lead to one conclusion, yet it was fascinating to see it happen.
Who would I recommend this to? Most historical romance lovers, really. At least try the first two or three chapters.
A Fair Hand (17,000-word Regency romance)
This one shows about the same level of writing skills, although the story itself is more… dramatic, with its super high stakes and the recklessness of the female lead (not unlike a typical Korean drama). I wasn’t expecting that in a historical romance, to be honest. The target audience for this one would be younger—I know I loooooved dramatic stories as a teenager. But as it is, I’ve read it in my 30s, so I’ve prefered the maturity and refinement of The Female Correspondent.
I like the male lead and some of the secondary characters, but I found the female lead slightly annoying, as always seems to be the case when they play with fire—I guess she’s just way too different from me. She’s also borderline anachronistically audacious. The setting is lovely and the plot well-constructed and quite gripping even though it was too extreme for me. I recommend reading The Female Correspondent first.
Who would I recommend this to? Teenagers looking for a romantic roller-coaster ride in 19th century England.
The Steampunk Club (18,000-word romantic comedy/mystery)
Hiiiiiiii! Sorry, I’ll stop the fangirl squeals now. I LOVED this one! I can’t state it enough. I loved everything, from the setting to the characters to the meta to the plot to… kay, I’ll stop here. I can’t say it’s “better-written” than the others, but there’s definitely something more here, which might just be nicknamed Sir Aubrey. I totally fell in love with him and immediately proceeded to share the story with my friends. And to work on my “steampunk-themed” story. And even to look online for steampunk sewing patterns (did you know I love the steampunk aesthetics?).
Now that it’s been stated that this story is great and you should read it and then subscribe to Eva Deverell’s steampunk mailing list thingy so she’ll write more Steampunk Club stories, here’s the actual review:
The characters in this story were especially appealing to me; not just the main characters, but all the members of the Steampunk Club. They all bring their share of delightful diversity. I want to know more about virtually all of them, but especially Sir A., Eloise and the Duchess. Sir Aubrey is, for me, the most lovable of Eva Deverell’s male leads, not only because he’s surrounded in mystery, but also because he’s so sweet I get a sugar rush just thinking about him.
The steampunk element is so strong that there’s a “clash” every time you get back to modern reality—the first time we see a certain character out of costume is quite memorable. ♥ Man, I want this turned into a movie. Or a comic book. Just for that scene. Somebody, make it happen.
The mystery element is faultlessly entwined into the romance and falls in beauty; that might also have contributed to the “something more” I was referring to earlier. Oh, and I can’t end this review without mentioning the humour: I’ve laughed out loud in several places.
What are you waiting for? Subscribe to Eva Deverell’s coterie and get reading!
Who would I recommend this to? Everyooooone! Okay, no. But everyone who enjoys a cute romantic-comedy once in a while, especially if they love the steampunk aesthetics. Bonus points if you’re a millennial geek.
As a final word, if you know any free short story, novelette or novella that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed, feel free to share them with me! There are a lot of free stories out there, so it’d be great to get recommendations.
If you’ve enjoyed this review, subscribe (right menu or at the bottom on tablet & phone) to receive an email every time I post, or follow me via Twitter or Facebook! I post reviews monthly.