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The Brass Queen

by Elizabeth Chatsworth

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346605,833 (4)4
She knows a liar when she sees one.He knows a fraud when he meets one.In a steam-powered world, Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogues. Selling firearms under her alias, the "Brass Queen," she has kept her baronial estate's coffers full. But when US spy J. F. Trusdale saves her from assassins, she's pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don't, the world as they know it will disappear before their eyes.If you like the Parasol Protectorate or the Invisible Library series, you'll love this gaslamp fantasy-a rambunctious romantic romp that will have you both laughing out loud and wishing you owned all of Miss Haltwhistle's armaments."Simply a joy to read " -James A. Owen, bestselling author of Here, There Be Dragons"At times wondrous, at times romantic, and very often gut-bustingly funny." -David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of The Runelords series… (more)
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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I had a great time listening to this book! With witty banter, action scenes, & a touch of romance this was a fun & delightful read! The main character Constance is absolutely wonderful to follow! There were a few times she had me laughing out loud! There's a good mix of genres there really is a little bit of something for everyone! I really hope this is going to be a series. I would love to read more about these characters! ( )
  jacashjoh | Apr 19, 2022 |
Constance must find a husband or she is going to lose all her inheritance. Such a stupid law! She has been selling illegal firearms to stay afloat. so, she does what she has to do. She throws herself a lavish party in hope of meeting a new husband. Instead, she meets US spy scientist, J.F. Trusdale. Constance may have met her match…in more ways than one.

Well, this was not at all what I was expecting. It is a steampunk romance. I do not think I have ever read one of those. As a matter of fact…I avoid them at all costs. But to tell you the truth, this was just plain cute!

Constance is a hoot! She is tough and just a bit strange. Add in the American scientist, Trusdale, and their antics will have you laughing one minute and rolling your eyes the next!

Need a strange romance with a kick…This is it! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review. ( )
  fredreeca | Jan 14, 2022 |
steampunk, fun, verbal-humor, situational-humor, British, snarky, espionage*****

Great characters, lively imagination, lots of fun!
A British heiress trying to remain in charge of her company until her father returns from an unknown location, and American agent who is not an engineer like his brother was, and invisibility serum, a farcical villain, and more! I loved it!
Michelle Babb aces the narration with just the right touch that highlights the humor by downplaying the guffaws with a haughty kind of snark.
I won this audio in a giveaway! Yay me! ( )
  jetangen4571 | Jan 1, 2022 |
This is just a really fun romp, steampunk style.

Not everyone agrees; on Goodreads, I see a whole lot of five-star reviews, interspersed with occasional one-star reviews. Or rants, as one of the one-star reviewers freely admits.

So, a bit of a marmite book. You'll enjoy it, or hate it.

In an alternate late Victorian England, Miss Constance Hartwhistle, daughter of a baron who is missing. Her mother died; her father went off on somewhat more adventurous explorations than he had while she was alive, and found a portal to an alternate world where his wife is still alive, but the alternate baron is dead. He decided not to go home.

Constance has been running the baron's secret arms trading business for months now, mostly successfully, but there are some challenges. First and foremost, she's 21 years old, and has been, until this, rather sheltered. Secondly, her uncle is, not unreasonably, convinced that her father died on one of his risky adventures into the Congo, or the Amazon, or whatever. He's now suing to force her to produce proof the baron is alive, or to marry a suitable man of noble birth within a couple of weeks, or, failing both, he will become the new baron. This will be disastrous not just for Constance, but for all the people living and working on the Hartwhistle land, because her uncle has very different plans for that land.

So Constance has to find a husband. Unfortunately, her coming-out party, at which she fully expects to secure a proposal of marriage, is interrupted by the exo-suits serving drinks instead being hijacked by someone who has also arranged for a dirigible to break through the glass ceiling of the venue, and kidnap the lead scientists from Steamwerks, the premier weapons maker, including weapons for a very activist, conquering Britain ruled by the near-absolute ruler than Queen Victoria is here. Constance is very nearly killed, but at this point no one, least of all Constance, recognizes the significance of this. She's saved by the intervention of a man she met mere moment prior to the excitement, and found very annoying--a man who introduces himself as JF Trusdale. He's an American, and they find each other very annoying, although also very attractive.

He's supposed to be the new American engineer hired by Steamwerks. In fact he's an American spy, investigating the death of the real JF Trusdale. The blurb says, and some of the reviews repeat, that he's an "inept" spy. He's not inept. He's a non-engineer impersonating his brilliant, deceased, engineer brother. And he had the news of his brother's death, and of his mission, dropped on him with no normal briefing time. His previous missions seem to have been in parts of the world that the missing baron would have recognized very well.

The action is fast-paced, and sometimes slapstick. The characters are eccentric, arrogant, and impulsive, and it takes a while to know for sure that both Constance and Trusdale, not to mention Constance's cousin Welly, and other unexpected characters, have very sound and decent values--even if Trusdale was in no way prepared for a mission to England, Constance is far more inexperienced and naïve than she realizes, and Victoria really is a tyrant.

There are dirigibles everywhere, steam-powered mechanical animals including Welly's horse, and the unicorn, lion, and dodo that Constance, the charming and evil Prince Lucien, and Trusdale ride in the deadly game of Prussian polo. Also an invisibility serum which has some really unfortunate side effects, and of course, interdimensional keys to alternate worlds. What powers the interdimensional keys? That would be telling!

It's crazy, it's madcap, and if you're prepared to go with it, it's a lot of fun.

Michelle Babb does a great job as the narrator.

Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily. ( )
  LisCarey | Dec 15, 2021 |
Constance Haltwhistle has a problem. With her father's escape into another dimension, Constance is now the only remaining heir to her estate. However, according to the law in 1897 England, women can not inherit. Luckily, Constance has a plan to keep her estate along with all of the people who depend on it. Known to some as the Brass Queen, Constance's side business as an arms dealer, creating new and imaginative weapons has kept money flowing through the estate. Now, Constance must simply secure a husband at the coming out ball that she has planned. The coming out ball goes terribly awry as Constance's exosuits come to life and a cage comes crashing down through the ceiling kidnapping two of the Steamworks most esteemed scientists. Now, Constance must work with newcomer American Scientist, J.F. Truesdale against an invisible foe with a very nefarious purpose.

The Brass Queen is an action packed steampunk fantasy adventure. I was very intrigued by Constance Haltwhistle and her alternate identity of the Brass Queen. Most of the story, however, focuses on Constance's battle with presenting herself as a prominent member of society and hiding the fact that she is more than she seems. The story is very involved with descriptions of machinery, fashion, and proper etiquette and manners, which Constance is obsessed with despite being an undercover arms dealer. I did think that there was a significant break between the two personalities that Constance holds and I didn't really see them merge until the end. There were a few inconsistencies that made it hard for me to believe that Constance led a double life. J.F. is a nice counterpart to Contance's very Victorian need for perfection and rules. J.F. holds the same set of values as Constance, but displays them in a very different way. I was very intrigued by the mystery of why someone wanted to steal the invisibility formula and everything surrounding the Enigma Keys. Towards the end, I was very happy to see Constance finally be the Brass Queen that she was hiding underneath and accomplish good things for her people and the women of the time.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Jan 26, 2021 |
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She knows a liar when she sees one.He knows a fraud when he meets one.In a steam-powered world, Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogues. Selling firearms under her alias, the "Brass Queen," she has kept her baronial estate's coffers full. But when US spy J. F. Trusdale saves her from assassins, she's pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don't, the world as they know it will disappear before their eyes.If you like the Parasol Protectorate or the Invisible Library series, you'll love this gaslamp fantasy-a rambunctious romantic romp that will have you both laughing out loud and wishing you owned all of Miss Haltwhistle's armaments."Simply a joy to read " -James A. Owen, bestselling author of Here, There Be Dragons"At times wondrous, at times romantic, and very often gut-bustingly funny." -David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of The Runelords series

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