FeaturedHistorical Mysteries

A Study in Steam


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A great kick off to a new steampunk murder mystery series. Sign me up for the next semester at Grantabridge U with the Ladies of Wack!

A Study in Steam by Stephanie Clemens is the first book in the Ladies of WACK series. What the heck does WACK stand for, you ask? Well, this book is the start of a friendship between four intelligent young ladies in a new academic society called the Women Adventurers' Consortium of Knowledge.

A Study in Steam introduces us to Pippa Stanhope, an innovative and feisty young lady who dreams of attending university to further her steam engineering knowledge. Easier said than done in Victorian times. Her mother is adamant that no respectable lady in 1870's Brythion would do such a thing. She will harm their family reputation, and no eligible Duke will want to marry such a bluestocking! Undeterred and thanks to financial support from her independently wealthy aunt, Pippa heads off to Grantabridge University to learn everything that she can about building the perfect steam-powered bike. There she quickly becomes fast friends with the rest of the young ladies in the first female cohort: Georgi (politics and law), Mads (maths and coding), and Willa (herbology). However, they quickly discover that their fellow male students want no part of them in their hallowed academic halls (except for maybe one brilliant professor and one handsome Duke). Even worse, someone is making significant efforts to scare them off -- even going so far as to commit murder and implicate Pippa.

This book was right up my alley. I am a fan of historical fiction with strong female characters, a good dose of mystery, humour, and romantic banter. I enjoyed that each of the young ladies had distinct academic specialties and personalities that could contribute to the investigation, bringing them closer to finding out who the murderer was and how to stop them from killing again. The mystery takes a while to get going, but the first half sets the story well and allows the reader to get to know Pippa, the members of WACK, and their new allies. It is a fun Steampunk mystery with some witty one-liners and wordplay to make you grin along the way.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series! So sign me up for the next semester!

Thanks so much to the author and Reedsy for providing me with an ebook for review. I would recommend this book to those who also enjoy Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell series, Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles or Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series. So much fun!

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An avid reader since Grade school, I think there is nothing better than losing yourself in a good book. I've also taken on the role of finding great books for my niece and nephew to read so I pre-read quite a few middle grade and YA novels to find great books to inspire their love of reading.

About the author

An author, photographer, dog mom, instagrammer, adventurer, teacher, lawyer, and more. When she’s not sitting behind her laptop she can be found on some adventure. Most of the time it’s a road trip with her two doggos, but recently it has been in the pages of a book. view profile

Published on February 22, 2022

90000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Mysteries

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