by Penny Blake

Morning Cuppa: Secrets

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Max and Collin’s superiorly sub-aquatic parlour located within the desperately deluged city of Lancaster! True some have called it a wet weekend with only drips for company but we consider that such people are from less than hardy stock. And dashed rude to boot.

You find us this morning bailing out after three months worth of rain has fallen in the space of a single evening. Sack cloth roofing is not built to stand such an onslaught and so we have spent a desperate night, myself using a tea cup in each of my eight tentacles to catch the heavens as they fell and Max fending of the Liver Birds with his aether-colliding energy ray pistol.

We are both exhausted, the tea has gone for a Burton and we are in desperate need of some reviving ¬†literature. Fortunately we have managed to salvage some from the flood…

 

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This is the first book in the Steamship Chronicles but we highly recommend reading the prequel Safe Haven first so that you come to this having already fallen in love with the main characters (and we promise you will fall in love!)

In a world where’naturals’ (those who are able to hear the dreams of machines and use aether to make those dreams real) are feared, despised and locked away in asylums, Lily and her husband Henry think they have found the perfect safe haven for Lily’s ‘natural’ sister, Sam. But it soon becomes aparent that even Henry’s country estate is not going to provide Sam with the chance to truly live a life of freedom and safety. With Lily’s health in rapid decline, Sam bravely sets off for the continent where Henry has found a colony of ‘naturals’ living in peace and safety. But Sam soon discovers that her ‘gift’ can be a dangerous thing which she struggles to control away from Lily’s calming influence…

Nathaniel Bowden wants desperately too leave his upper class heritage behind and work his way up to become a Steamship Captain. Hardworking, capable and honourable almost to the point of self destruction, Nat has won the respect of the captain and crew but the gruff engineer remains prejudiced against him and when mysterious things begin to happen in the engine room he is quick to insist that Nat must be to blame. Desperate to defend both his honour and his life, Nat sets out to capture the real culprit…

This story had us in tears from the first page. A tense steampunk adventure full of high adrenaline moments with a warm heart running through it thanks to the truly lovable cast of characters. The story has a real ‘coming of age’ flavour to it as both Nat and Sam are forced slowly to control their impetuous natures as they realise the effect their actions have on those around them and they both move from egocentric naivete to the self sacrifice that is the bedrock of true friendship.

This book ended on such a cliff hanger that we had to plunge straight into the next one in the same sitting and will be reviewing it shortly!

Now then, as our cephalopterois is sulking under a tea cosy giving us a look which seems to say ‘I tried to warn you…’ there is nothing more to do but wish you all a very arid afternoon and invite you back to join us for elevenses tomorrow when we will hopefully be in a better position to receive visitors… and of course spin you the tale of our dreadful visitor last week… so, until then please be always,

Utterly Yourself

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