Title: Teacups and Roses
Author: E.T. Malinowski
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Perry, Alex
Sub-Genre: Steampunk, Historical, Erotic Romance
The second son of one of the wealthiest men in the city, Perry Loughton longs for simple comforts but fears nobody will want him for anything but his name and his money. While working as a steam cab mechanic to distract himself from his worries, Perry meets tea shop owner Alex, and soon shy Perry wants more than their casual association. With an optimistic heart and a natural talent for clockwork, Perry hopes his gifts will convey the feelings he can’t yet express in words.
Alexander Fitzgerald lives a quiet life with his handsome boyfriend Marcus. Alex just wishes the passion between them carried beyond the bedroom. Then the anonymous handcrafted gifts he begins receiving make Alex more and more curious about their maker, and the intricate devices might be the key to what’s missing from his life.
A delightfully positive tale about a shy aristocrat inventor and a commoner tea shop owner meeting and falling in love in a steampunk setting.
Perry is so shy and sweet it made my teeth ache. When he couldn’t confront Alex and started giving those amazing gifts, I was smitten with him myself. One would think a big man like Perry wouldn’t be socially awkward but you can never tell. Alex, on the other hand, was less sweet. For me at least. His boyfriend, Marcus, seemed like such a needless character in the story, and I didn’t like him. That made Alex too less likeable by association, which I know sounds silly. But Alex proved me wrong by turning out to be a good man with a giving heart.
Ignoring all that, the plot is a simple romance with a couple of predictable obstacles to clear off: Obnoxious ex, prejudicial parent, the social rift, and character shyness. Toward the end, when the family situation is dealt with, I thought the dialogue got a bit preachy and sugary sweet, but one can’t argue with the positive message of accepting your family—and others too, for that matter—for who they are. The steampunkish setting, though, gave the story some added depth, and I ended up rooting for the couple with bells and whistles on. I especially liked how normal it seemed in this society to have a homosexual relationship. That was a nice detail.
The writing is skilled, and the pace handled well. A few side-tracks, like Marcus, throw the novella off a bit, but we all have our pasts to deal with. And considering what happens to the ex, it all works out in the end. So, overall a pretty fine steampunkish romance, and with some hot and heavy moments to boot. I look forward to more tales from Ms. Malinowski.
Reviewed By: Susan