by Coleen Kwan
Series: Uncanny Chronicles #1
The only way to save her life is to resurrect the dead... Julian Darke was only a newborn when he was abandoned on the doorstep of a gentleman doctor. Though raised with love, he is driven to discover his true origins. Convinced Sir Thaddeus Ormond knows something, Julian shadows him one night and is shocked to see a young woman thrown from Ormond s carriage and accosted by a thug. Julian manages to save her life, but not her face and hands from horrific injuries.
Nellie Barchester doesn t recognize the scarred, disfigured stranger in the mirror. Though the gifted doctor and engineer has done his best to repair the damage, scars ravage her body, and chill her soul with the realization that her own husband may have plotted her death. Julian s tenderness is a balm to her soul, and Nellie is drawn to the edge of passion by a man not repelled by her deformities. But as their pursuit of the truth draws them into London s underbelly, they cross the path of a ruthless enemy who will stop at nothing to fulfill his schemes.
Darke London by Coleen Kwan is the first novel in the Uncanny Chronicles and offers a nice blend of historical romance, suspense and steampunk. With its colorful characters and heated romance, I quickly devoured this tale. Three word review: engaging, original and fast-paced.
The tale quickly captures your attention as Julian Darke gallops towards his home carrying a badly injured woman. While stalking Sir Thaddeus Ormond, a man who may hold the key to his birth, he witnesses him throw a young woman from the carriage. A young woman Nellie Barchester is immediately set upon by a thug. Her hands and face brutally injured before Julian pulls the thug from her and races to his estate. Julian and the man who raised him are both doctors. They work to save her life, and as she recovers, Julian learns they are linked through Ormond. Together they pursue answers and the tale that unfolds was action-packed, and suspenseful.
Julian Darke is yummy, compassionate and more than just a healer. He is also an engineer who looks at ways to help damaged bodies become whole with gadgets. I instantly liked Julian and understood his desire for answers. Nellie Barchester is brilliant, opinionated, and fearless. She her own share of issues but I adored her and loved her nonsense approach to life. The relationship that develops between them felt real and grew out of trust and respect. We get some heated moments with just enough detail to sizzle the page. The characters were fleshed out, and the secondary characters added depth, and suspense.
Kwan offered up a light blend of genres with Darke London. She wove them into a historical romance that took us into the underbelly of London. The world and characters were fleshed out allowing me to slip into the world. This is a relatively short book and one that I finished in a single sitting. The gadgets mentioned were impressive, but I am not sure I would classify this as Steampunk. There were some paranormal moments that were chilling and offered a unique creep factor to the tale. The pacing was excellent as we went from moments of action to character development allowing the reader to become invested. The first in Uncanny Chronicles, Darke London,wrapped up nicely giving us closure and felt genuine.
Fans of historical romance filled with mystery, suspense and a dash of steampunk will enjoy Darke London and the Uncanny Chronicles. I look forward to reading more of Coleen Kwan’s work and this new series.
Four cups of coffee out of five
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