Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Genre: Adult Steampunk Paranormal Romance
Taking place after Wicked as They Come, this original eBook features a mysterious lady and a reclusive mechanical genius who find love and danger in a traveling circus.
An elusive woman arrives at Criminy’s doorstep with a steamer trunk, begging for a position in the caravan to perform her unique new act. She opens her trunk to reveal a menagerie of brilliantly colored butterflies. The woman, who calls herself Madam Morpho, is on the run from a dark past in London, where she was forced to leave her equipment behind and abscond with only her tiny performers. Playing a hunch, Criminy hires Madam Morpho on the spot. Taking her down to meet Mr. Murdoch, the reclusive talented engineer who keeps the carnival’s clockworks running, Criminy instructs them to work together to design and build a groundbreaking new circus for the butterflies. Amid the magical ambiance of the circus and the hint of danger from Madam Morpho’s pursuers, she and Mr. Murdoch soon find that their scientific collaboration has produced chemistry of a more romantic kind.
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: I fell in love with the world of Sang when I read Wicked as They Come (review here) and was so excited to see Delilah write a novella in this world. The Mysterious Madam Morpho takes place after Wicked as They Come and can be read alone, but I highly suggest reading the first book in the series before you pick up this novella. Delilah does an excellent job of explaining this world, but it was explored in depth in Wicked as They Come and has many recurring characters that will come to life even more if you have read the previous book.
In The Mysterious Madam Morpho we follow Madam Morpho, Imagen, who has asked Criminy if she can join his caravan. She seems to be hiding quite a few things (things I will not be revealing to you because you have to read to find out about them) but he takes a shot with her after his wife, Tish, does a glancing on her. Just having Tish do that glancing and we as the reader not knowing what she saw was enough for me to want to know what her future held. Imogen has not had an easy life, she has been mistreated by the people she should have been able to trust and as a result she is a little broken inside. She wants to trust again, but keeps her heart guarded. Mr. Murdoch keeps people at arm’s length as well, but he is fascinated by Imogen and the two of them slowly drop their guard and begin to open up to one another. One of my favorite moments between the two of them is this one when Mr. Murdoch is explaining his work to Imogen:
“I myself have a soft spot for things discarded by men who think themselves great” he said gently. “My work is to see the masterpiece hiding underneath. To fix what has been broken.”
“What if the object in question isn’t broken at all?”
She kept her back to him, and she was aware of his closeness as he stepped under the tent and stood close enough to touch her. But something held him back.
“Then I think perhaps it’s a case of finding the right mechanism to bring it alive.”
It felt like a pivotal moment for the two of them, a turning point, and the emotion behind those words in the scene was very powerful. They have both been hiding for a very long time and through this story they find themselves again within one another.
Sometimes novellas can give too little information, or not have a fully established world and I am left wanting. That is not the case with The Mysterious Madam Morpho. Delilah delivers a complete and well-rounded story that had me captivated from beginning to end. Her characters are well developed, the world is fascinating and the story was intriguing. I appreciate her ability to give me everything I need in such a short story.
Delilah is also a master with her descriptions and inventions in this world. I would give almost anything to see Criminy Stain’s Clockwork Caravan in real life. Delilah paints such a vivid picture though, so for now I am going to have to be satisfied with what I can see with my mind’s eye. Trust me, the world alone is worth picking these books up for.
Overall, I am still in love with the world of Sang and the characters that dwell within it. The Mysterious Madam Morpho is an outstanding addition to this world and cannot be missed if you have read the first book. I am very eager to get my hands on the next book, Wicked as She Wants, which releases next year.
FTC: Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book for review.