March 24, 2011

ARC Review: Lady Doctor Wyre by Joely Sue Burkhart

A dangerous technology could conquer the universe. Love could set it free.

Jane Austen Space Opera, Book 1

Charlotte, Duchess of Wyre, once held the Queen’s highest confidence—and the technological secret that keeps the royal heart beating. Fearful of what atrocities that Britannia might commit with her research, Charlotte turned to the galaxy’s most infamous assassin, Lord Sigmund Regret, to stage her own death.

Even without the simplest of luxuries, seven years hiding in the Americus colony is preferable to one day in the Tower of Londinium. Until a bounty hunter’s bullet forces her to revive her research. Now the same nanobots that keep the Queen alive also run rampant in Lord Regret’s body. Making his yearly Solstice visits increasingly…intimate…and complicating her courtship with the safe and honorable Sheriff Gilead Masters.

When the Americus colony declares independence, and her humble sheriff makes a shocking confession, Charlotte has had enough. Weary of running, tired of living without tea and silks, she fires a warning shot across Britannia’s bow: cease hunting Lady Wyre, or lose the technological power the crown holds so dear.

Her next task isn’t so simple. Somehow she must keep the two men she loves alive—and prevent them from killing each other.

Warning: Ladies in positions of power, stylish spaceships, BDSM. A ménage a trois featuring a duchess on the run, a gentlemanly assassin, and a rough-and-tumble sheriff willing to gun down anyone who gets between him and his lady.

A Jane Austen Space Opera- that's was the first thing I heard about Lady Doctor Wyre and I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not a huge fan of Jane Austen inspired books because I usually like the originality of the author's own imagination more but let me assure you this novel didn't feel like one of those inspired stories.

Lady Doctor Wyre is set in a steampunk universe that resembles our world in a rather inventive way. It's a mix of historical and science fiction with more than just one steampunk element- very intriguing and something I haven't seen before. We visit a galaxy of planets like Britannia, Americus, Francia and so on which resemble the countries we know. Each one has it's own way to live with what their ressources allow. One thing all of them have in common is the reversed gender rules. In this world the women rule and take the lead in every situation- politically socially and sure in bed too. *wink* It was very interesting to see how Burkhart envisions such a world and I smile so often while reading about a shy men or the incredulity of a man proposing a woman.

As the title suggests the story centers around Charlotte the widely known and feared Lady Doctor Wyre. She's a Duchess in exile but more know for her obsession with everything technology can produce. She's an inventor and probably the one who created the most advanced technology know to this world. Her reputation makes her seem ruthless but deep inside she is a woman who loves all things pretty and shiny. I loved to see this contrast in her character- a sharp mind that still appreciates a pretty dress or good tea. She's a really complex character and with every page we discover another facet of her personality. Charlotte is a woman I can imagine myself being friends with even more if she would invite me into her world.

Her life wasn't easy in the past and she was forced to leave the life she knew behind in a exciting coup that left her dead in the eyes of the world. This wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of the master assassin  Lord Sigmund Regret who nearly lost everything while helping her. Her lives are connected now and not only by emotions.

In her seven year long exile Charlotte missed her "lost" live but in the last year she met Sheriff Gilead Masters- who captured her heart with his thoughtful courtship and admiration. These 2 were so cute together- they reminded me of a typical historical romances couple just with reversed roles. Gil is heartfelt and headstrong and he would do anything to keep our lady safe.

The story wrapped around this love-triangle was really engaging and I was fascinated by the world. I think this is the strongest factor of Lady Doctor Wyre- the world-building is exceptional. I loved how everything was different from what I normally read- it's a very fresh and unique approach for a romance novel.

But there were also some things that rubbed me the wrong way. The characterization of our two heroes could have been a bit more thorough. I didn't really connect to them as I would have liked to even though I really liked the idea behind them. Perhaps I would have needed more time to really warm to them. I think this is also the reason why I actually didn't care that much about the actual smex scenes or the romance aspect of the story- with the missing connection to the male lead characters I wasn't touched.

Lady Doctor Wyre really fascinated me. An inventive setting with an enthralling adventure plot. The mix of historical, steampunk and science fiction is masterly woven together and the detailed view you get in the novel will leave you breathless. I would have wished a bit more time and space for the romance part but I still really enjoyed this one. I say bring me more Lady Burkhart!

To learn more about Joely and her books please visit her website here.

- read other reviews @goodreads
- read pattepoilue's aka The HEA Lover's review @Book Lovers Inc
- pre-order the book @Samhain Publishing (for only $2.45 right now)


Joely Sue Burkhart March 24, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

Susi, thank you so much for your thoughtful review! I appreciate your feedback on the male characters -- I hope to write another novella with the same characters, so I'll make a note to make sure the men are as well known as Charlotte!

Blodeuedd March 24, 2011 at 10:16 PM  

Lol, sounds weird and I am loving it :D

SusiSunshine March 24, 2011 at 10:24 PM  

@Joely Ohhh I so can't wait for that! *g*

@Blodeuedd Me too LOL ;)

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