Holiday Steampunk Romances
The steampunk romance anthology A Clockwork Christmas (Carina Press) features four steampunk romance novellas. Even though it came out in 2013, I figured there was no time like the present holiday season to catch up with it! I’m going to share my general impressions and some tags, but first, here’s the anthology’s blurb:
We Wish You a Steampunk Christmas
Changed forever after tragedy, a woman must draw strength from her husband’s love. A man learns that love isn’t always what you expect. A thief steals the heart of a vengeful professor. And an American inventor finds love Down Under. Enjoy Victorian Christmas with a clockwork twist in these four steampunk novellas.
Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz
Far From Broken by JK Coi
This Winter Heart by PG Forte
Here are a few general notes about what you can expect from this anthology:
Compared to other stories I’ve read, A Clockwork Christmas is light on the steampunk. For the most part, I’d characterize the stories as having steampunk elements as opposed to steampunk technology being an integral element. Far From Broken and This Winter Heart have the strongest clockwork/steampunk feel, while the other two stories are closer to romances with steampunk elements. The worldbuilding is mainly based on inventors ahead of their times.
One notable and refreshing aspect all four stories share is that the heroines are the extraordinary characters, possessing either special abilities, qualities, and/or skills. The heroine with the most agency is Esme Smith from Wanted: One Scoundrel as she calls the shots. Her decisions are the ones that keep the plot moving.
The holiday element wasn’t as strong as I expected. All four stories occur around the Christmas holiday, but religious themes are pretty much absent. So I’d characterize this anthology as neutral in that regard.
Another item that struck me was the bleakness of some of the stories. Three of the heroines suffer quite a bit, make extreme sacrifices, and have martyr-like aspects to them. Far From Broken, for example, contains very dark moments that reminded me of films like It’s a Wonderful Life. For me, the moodier elements were both an unexpected and welcome surprise. Just because a story takes place around the holidays doesn’t mean it has to be syrupy sweet. Holiday tales can engage the mind as well as the heart.
Below are a few non-spoiler tags so you can get a stronger sense of each story.
sensual heat level
steampunk cyborg heroine
alternate history settting
Hero with a secret
Progressive themes and light political elements
mild suspense elements
“sweet” heat level
steampunk cyborg heroine
heroine with a tragic past
lots of angst
experimental steampunk technology
theme of love overcoming great odds
sensual heat level
Angsty anti-heroine who is presented as virgin-like
Vengeful, manipulative hero
erotic heat level (trigger warnings apply to first encounter between hero and heroine; forced seduction themes)
high level of conflict between the couple
It’s been a while since a holiday-themed steampunk romance has made an appearance, so now I’d like to share the news about the release of Tina Christopher’s all-new erotic steampunk romance, Dirigibles Are Forever. It takes place around the Christmas holiday and includes lots of steamy, snowy action. Here’s the cover and blurb:
Working as an Aether Traffic Controller saved Holly Acklin after the death of her husband, but now she wants more—including a night of uninhibited passion with Jack Smith, whose very presence has kept her body tingling for months.
Special Agent Jack Smith kept his identity a secret when he came to the London Royal Port Authority with one assignment, one he cannot fail. It holds him back from following his attraction to Holly. But on the eve he must complete the mission, Holly asks for one night with no rules or boundaries, and his control snaps.
When London experiences an unexpectedly white Christmas, all dirigible traffic is grounded, leaving Holly and Jack free to act upon their stormy passions. Holly finds her determination to stay emotion-free crumbling unaware Jack is experiencing the same need. Each lover wishes for more, but fears it can’t be. Instead they focus their desires in mind-blowing passion.
But when Holly discovers that Jack isn’t who he claimed to be, everything is thrown into turmoil. Can she trust the man she thought she knew?
May your steampunk romance reading be merry and bright this holiday season!
About the author
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express and is the Releases Editor for the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly.
She’s also an author in the genre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com. When Heather’s not reading or writing, she’s watching cult films and enjoying the company of her husband and daughter.