Disenchanted & Co., Part 1: Her Ladyship’s Curse
Author: Lynn Viehl
Rating: Stand alone: B, 3 Stars
Part of larger book: A-, 4 Stars
What I’m Talking About:
Her Ladyship’s Curse is actually the first part (of two) of the upcoming title, Disenchanted & Co., the first novel in the Disenchanted & Co. series by Lynn Viehl. Fortunately, I was able to read both parts back-to-back, and knowing that they were two halves of a whole makes this review difficult to write. Therefore, I am giving this story two ratings: one as a stand alone story and the other as the first half of a bigger book.
The story is set in an alternate timeline where the colonies did not win the Revolutionary War and are now the Provincial Union of Victoria. Times are hard, and society supports a wealthy class, a working class, and a group of undesirables. The Native Americans have some rights, but are still looked down upon. Women – especially ones like Kit who are trying to make it on their own – are on the lowest rung of society. While the author promotes the book in the steampunk genre, I feel there isn’t enough steam technology to support this label. With that said, it doesn’t matter what genre you want to label the book, it is a fascinating, well-developed world that I highly enjoyed reading.
Miss Charmian “Kit” Kittredge doesn’t believe in curses or magic, yet she is surrounded by believers. Therefore, she has opened up her own “private eye” business (not something looked highly upon by society) called Disenchanted & Co.. While Kit feels she is debunking myths and uncovering false magic, everyone else believes she is the best dispeller of magic.
Lady Diana Walsh, the young trophy wife to the wealthy Lord Nolan Walsh, thinks she’s been cursed by her husband’s deceased first wife. Terrified by the mysterious events plaguing her, she turns to Kit in secrecy, hoping Kit will put an end to the curse. However, when Kit begins to uncover the facts, the ominous nature of the truth begins to turn on Kit, placing her in mortal danger.
As I mentioned earlier, writing a review for one half of a story is difficult. However, as a stand-alone book, Her Ladyship’s Curse provides an exciting glimpse into an adventurous new world. Ms. Vielh does a marvelous job setting the stage by developing her world and creating interesting characters. The story is completely engrossing and engaging from the get-go. The author weaves details into the lines of the story, giving clues and hints, while leaving the truth a mystery to be solved. My mind was constantly working to figure out who did what and why, all the while trying to decide if magic is real, or as Kit believes, a big hoax.
Another aspect that makes the story so interesting is the characters in Kit’s life. Kit has two marvelous girlfriends. Rina is the owner of a successful brothel. Bridget is the owner of an exclusive dress shop that caters to the wealthy class. She married for love and it came with the perk of wealth. Both independent women care deeply about Kit and have the resources to help her. Then there is a childhood friend, now police officer, Tommy Doyle. You can tell that he cares for Kit, but he’s not going to let his feelings stop him from doing his job. He’s sweet and protective, yet hard and scary. Finally, there is the mysterious Lucien Dredmore (former Lord Traval). He is the Grand Master of the Dark Arts and a death mage (although his is the biggest con artist in town according to Kit.) He feels entitled to whatever he wants, and he wants Kit. He is aggressive and cruel, and for the life of me, I have no idea why he desires Kit so obsessively.
Along the way, Kit also begins to unravel her own past and the truth of her ancestry (which she knows very little). This storyline is equally as intriguing as the primary mystery of what is being done to Lady Walsh. Again, bits and pieces are uncovered, allowing the reader to guess and discover what the truth may ultimately be. More side characters are introduced, creating a full ensemble of individuals that enrich the overall tale.
While the groundwork is set for an exciting adventure, the story ends quite abruptly. If I hadn’t known this was only the first half of a book, I would have been very upset. It’s not so much a cliff-hanger ending, but rather there is just so much left unresolved that stopping at the end of the book would leave one completely unsatisfied. It literally is only half of the story.
Her Ladyship’s Curse is the exciting first part of the book Disenchanted & Co. The second half, His Lordship Possessed, will be released on October 14, 2013 (with my review later this week). Both parts 1 and 2 are being released as ebooks, and the whole book will be released as mass market in 2014. The story had me hooked right from the beginning, and it was fortunate for me that I was able to immediately start the second part upon conclusion of this tale. Ms. Viehl has created a richly detailed world, which I find completely fascinating. I love Kit’s fierce independence and intimate desire to find a man who will treat her as an equal rather than a possession.
As a stand-alone book:
3 stars: Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)
As part 1 of Disenchanted & Co.
4 stars: Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
About the Book:
In a steampunk version of America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian (Kit) Kittredge makes her living investigating magic crimes and exposing the frauds behind them. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, as the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. she follows mysteries wherever they lead.
Lady Diana Walsh calls on Kit to investigate and dispel the curse she believes responsible for carving hateful words into her own flesh as she sleeps. While Kit doesn’t believe in magic herself, she can’t refuse to help a woman subjected nightly to such vicious assaults. As Kit investigates the Walsh family, she becomes convinced that the attacks on Diana are part of a larger, more ominous plot—one that may involve the lady’s obnoxious husband.
Sleuthing in the city of Rumsen is difficult enough, but soon Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of nefarious deathmage Lucien Dredmore and the unwelcome scrutiny of police Chief Inspector Thomas Doyle. Unwilling to surrender to either man’s passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. Yet as she learns the truth behind her ladyship’s curse, Kit also uncovers a massive conspiracy that promises to ruin her life—and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape alive.
Release Date: August 12, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Star
Series: Disenchanted & Co. #1, part 1
Genre: Alternate Timeline, Historical, Romance
Book Source: Author
Disenchanted & Co., Part 1: Her Ladyship’s Curse