Published by Gail Carriger LLC on November 1, 2016
Vampires are keeping an inventor in their potting shed. Imogene wants to seduce her.
Imogene Hale is a lowly parlourmaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local vampire hive, only to fall desperately in love with the amazing lady inventor imprisoned there.
Genevieve Lefoux is heartsick, lonely, and French.
With culture, class, and the lady herself set against the match, can Imogene and her duster overcome all odds and win Genevieve’s heart, or will the vampires suck both of them dry?
New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents this stand-alone lesbian romance is set in her popular steampunk Parasolverse, full of class prejudice, elusive equations, and paranormal creatures taking tea.
Supernatural Society stories can be read in any order. Look for surprise appearances from popular Parasol Protectorate characters and the occasional strategic application of cognac.
This story contains women pleasing women and ladies who know what they want and pursue it, sometimes in exquisite detail.
This second self published novella in the Parasolverse is the first of the LGBT offerings from Miss Carriger. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a story I didn’t know I wanted. Adult Genevieve Lefoux has never appealed to me the way her childhood self did. For the first time though, I felt myself finally falling in love with her during this novella.
Our protagonist, Imogene Hale, is working for the newly minted Wooley vampire hive. (Hale, vampires, why does this sound familiar?…oh yeah). This story really remarks on the cruelty and selfishness of many of the vampires in Carriger’s world in way that is very different from the novels. Countess Nadasdy is predatory in her pursuit of Imogene and the footman Henry is downright abusive. If you’re triggered by abuse and attempted assault be wary.
However these events are not used for shock value or as mere plot devices. Carriger treats her characters with dignity. While Imogene certainly embodies a battered underling, she never loses the spark of her own self and has enough agency to remain herself. with a little help. These are vampires after all, it’s pretty difficult for a human to go up again them an her own.
What I love most about Imogene is that no matter what is going on, she always knows her own mind. She has plenty of opportunity to take the “easy path” but stays true. When Madame Lefoux is trying to convince herself that there is nothing between them, Imogene stands firm.
I think the best part of this novella is how it humanizes Genevieve. Sometimes she can come off as so cold and distant in a way her childhood self never was. This story pulls back the curtain a little bit more so you can see that little spark of cve is still there, just hidden by grief and heartbreak.
This book is very sweet at times, uncomfortable and others, and kick ass at other parts. It’s not the fun romp of Carriger’s other Parasolverse books, being that it’s darker and way sexier in the same vein as the previous novella, POISON OR PROTECT. ROMANCING THE INVENTOR was a quick read and I enjoyed the whole thing. Sadly I wasn’t able to procure the audio of this one just yet so I cannot comment on the performance, but I may have to do a mini review of that in the future.
IF you are planning on reading any of these 4 novellas note at all 3 are adult themed and include frank depictions of sex between adult characters. This and the other Supernatural Society book, ROMANCING THE WEREWOLF are LGBT stories and so the sex is between characters of the same gender. If that’s not your thing, don’t read them, and certainly don’t complain to myself or Gail. It does what it says on the tin, as it were.
What’s your all time favorite novella? Share your pick in the comments below. If you’ve read this novella, tell us what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
From my shelf to yours,