By Delphine Dryden
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Source: PublisherFrederique Murcheson’s introduction into society hasn’t gone smoothly—some would even call it a disaster. Only Freddie considers her debut a success. Her scheme to become a makesmith has gone off flawlessly. The only thing that could upset her plans now would be if someone discovered that brilliant tinker Fred Merchant is, in fact, a lady in disguise.
Wooing a spoiled heiress is not exactly Barnabas Smith-Grenville’s idea of high espionage. However, considering his brother disappeared on the job, supposedly into the most iniquitous of opium dens, he cannot expect much better. At least the assignment will afford him time to search for his brother, whom he suspects is in spy-related trouble rather than a drug-addled haze.
But when Freddie proves to be both irresistible and the key to the answers he seeks, Barnabas finds himself not only entwined in a scandalous mystery involving lethal submersibles and deranged dirigibles, but also in a dangerous game of the heart…
Review: Steampunk is always a fun genre, but I never seem to read it as often as I’d like to. So every time a new Delphine Dryden novel comes out, I can’t wait to get my hands it and lose myself in the world of exciting danger and steamy romance.
Frederique Murcheson is different from your typical lady in society. While everyone thinks she’s a failure in society, Freddie loves being single so that she can live a double life as a tinker named Fred Merchant. But her father isn’t too happy with his daughter, so he hires Lord Barnabas Smith-Grenville to pretend to court Freddie in order to spy on her. Barnabas thinks watching Freddie will be no problem, and will give him the time to look into where his brother has disappeared. But Freddie isn’t the flighty heiress Barnabas thinks she is and he finds himself falling for her fearless attitude and impeccable skills with machinery.
After the ending of Scarlet Devices, I was dying to see what would happen next in the world of steam and seduction. Right away, I loved Freddie's character. In a society where women have such strict roles, Freddie doesn't let that stop her from doing what she loves with her life, which is working with machines. And in a steampunk novel, Freddie has a ton of machinery in her hands. Throughout the novel, she runs across some pretty cool machinery that actually lead to huge, dangerous secrets that include her father and opium smugglers. While the story did revolve around Freddie and Barnabas's relationship, I loved the intrigue, mystery, and danger behind the submersibles that instantly captivated and intrigued the tinker inside of Freddie.
The entire steampunk world of this novel was fascinating, but I truly loved the characters that Delphine Dryden created. When we first meet Barnabas, he's described as perfectly ordinary, just the person to spy on Freddie without seeming suspicious. But as Freddie spends more time with Barnabas, she sees him as beautiful and far more intriguing than her father pegged him to be. Freddie truly keeps Barnabas on his toes and ends up helping him solving his own mystery involving his missing brother. The only problem I had with this novel was the chemistry between Barnabas and Freddie. When they first get together, I felt like it was kind of out of nowhere and I wish there was more chemistry and intensity to their relationship than what we got. Other than that, though, I really enjoyed their story.
With mystery, machines, and romance, you can't go wrong with Gilded Lily. The mystery and danger behind the strange creatures destroying ships and what exactly Freddie's father was doing with his business make it hard to put this book down. I'm definitely looking forward to what Delphine Dryden has in store for us next!