[Belated October] Team TBR Challenge Review: Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

*I would like to note that all the blame goes to me for this post being tardy. Babs sent me this review on October 15th, to go live the 17th. My apologies to Babs, and to you all.

Romancing the Inventor (Supernatural Society, Book 1) by Gail Carriger
Paranormal F/F romance with steampunk elements published by Gail Carriger on November 1, 2016

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing an imprisoned cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

Imogene Hale is a lowly parlormaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local hive,only to fall desperately in love withthe amazing lady inventor the vampires are keeping in the potting shed.

Parlormaid versus vampire!

Genevieve Lefoux is heartsick, lonely, and French. With culture, class, and thelady herself set against the match, can Imogene and her duster overcomeall odds and win Genevieve’s heart, or will the vampires suck both ofthem dry?

This is a stand-alone LGBTQ sweet romance set in GailCarriger’s Parasolverse, full of class prejudice, elusive equations, and paranormal creatures taking tea.

Delicate Sensibilities?
This story contains women pleasing women and ladies who know what they want and pursue it, sometimes in exquisite detail.

Supernatural Society novellas can be read in any order. Look for surpriseappearances from popular characters and the occasional strategicapplication of cognac.

I thought this was an adorable read. I read this paranormal for the TBR Challenge and because the second book in the Supernatural Society series releases in a few weeks. This is a lovely little add-on story to the Parasol Protectorate series, one of my favorites. Madame Lefoux always intrigued me and Imogene is a great partner for her. The romance is delightful and hit all the right notes for me. 

Imogene doesn’t fit in with normal country life or the plans for a woman her age. Marrying the local butcher in her small village (or any man) is not for her. She goes to work for the vampires hoping for…something. To find out why she’s different? To find a place to belong? Most definitely to hopefully experience some of the wickedness she’s heard happens in vampire hives. She meets Madame Lefoux who is a human inventor working for the hive and is instantly attracted. Imogene believes she’s not good enough for Madame Lefoux.

Madame Lefoux is charmed by Imogene but doesn’t believe she can love again, that Imogene could possibly want to be with a woman or an “older” woman like her (there’s like 10 years difference in age—not a good reason). They begin working together and after several months succumb to their attraction for each other. However, Madame Lefoux still can’t believe Imogene truly loves her so tries to keep her at a distance.

Alexia (main character of the Parasol Protectorate series) of course intercedes to help bring the two together and in the end succeeds.

Some of my favorite lines from this story:

The fact that the vampires occasionally referred to their servants as nibbles was neither here nor there.

Madame Lefoux smelled of vanilla and machine oil. Imogene couldn’t believe how charming the scent was.

…no fencing with ghosts. The human with the sword always ended up looking ridiculous.

Characters from the Parasol Protectorate series appear throughout this story which is great. I love re-visiting my favorite series. I also love the direction Carriger is going in this Supernatural Society series by writing about LGBT characters from the Parasol Protectorate series. The next book, Romancing the Werewolf, features Biffy and Professor Lyall! It comes out November 5, 2017, and I can’t wait.

For me this story was lighter on the steampunk elements than the Parasol Protectorate series. There is discussion of Madame Lefoux’s inventions, dirigibles, and a few other steampunk-adjacent items from the world of the Parasol Protectorate but doesn’t seem to overlay this story like the main series. If all the gadgetry has turned you off steampunk or the Parasol Protectorate series, you might try this book.

Grade: B+

You can buy a copy here.

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