Title: The Women of Nell Gwynne's
Author: Kage Baker
Page Count: 120 pages
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Genre: steampunk, adventure
50 words or less: This is a novella that is apparently a loose tie-in to the Company series of books by the same author. Lady Beatrice is a fallen lady recruited to work as a spy while plying her current trade. A mystery must be solved; gadgets are introduced. Adventure and peril abound.
This book was an impulse grab at the library, the cover art is pretty fabulous so I figured I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did; the story was good for the short length and was intriguing enough to make me want to read other books by this author.
Lady Beatrice has had a tough life and there's no two ways about it, but she's calm, cool and collected so she takes care of herself. She uses whatever resources are available at the time, and that includes her own body and the desires of other people; it's all the same to her. When one of her dead father's friends finds out what's become of Lady Beatrice, he refers her to Mrs. Corvey, the clandestine proprietress of a house of ill fame. Lady Beatrice comes on board as a resident and worker at the house and the adventure takes off from there, as apparently this is no ordinary brothel, but instead is a front for gathering information from people who forget themselves and who they're talking to.
Since this was a novella, there wasn't a lot of time or space to devote to story or really deep character development, but according to the author's website more novellas featuring this cast of characters are forthcoming so apparently they're not gone forever.
One big downside to this book- because it was an independent release, the cover price is very steep indeed for the amount of story that you're getting. If it sounds interesting then definitely read it, but it might be worth seeing if the public library has it first. Just saying.
Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable story that brought my attention to an author I'd never heard of before and got me interested in reading more of her books. It wasn't the most spectacular thing I've ever read but it wasn't terrible either.
Overall Grade: B
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