Morning Cuppa: Clockwork Fairies #steampunkfiction
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s sublimely subterranean, yet lavishly luminescent parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.
True there may be some rather odd noises coming from our landlord’s ‘rumpus room’ next door, but we ask that you ignore the screams of those poor unfortunates who couldn’t pay their rent, and pull up a cat, or a cushion, and make yourselves at home.
Do you like what we’ve done with the place? We discovered that marvellous little lanterns can be made by filling our empty lemonade bottles with fish oil (there are barrels of the stuff lying around at the docks), sticking a wick of rope in the top and setting fire to it! Genius eh?
Hm? A bit of a smell, you say? Well the cats seem to like it… black smoke? No no that must be your imagination…now look here, did you come to give us a health and safety inspection or to enjoy a cup of tea and some excellent fiction? Right then, let’s begin…
Desiree is an inventor of unparalleled skill – a wealthy heiress with the luxury of time and money to spend in doing what she loves best. But her father is worried; keenly aware of the fragility of a woman’s freedom in Victorian society, he dreads his beloved daughter being forced to bend her will beneath the yolk of misogyny. This is why he dislikes her fiancee, Claude.
Claude (Oxford Dean, wealthy and influential) loves Desiree as well. He loves her exotic beauty (provided her dress does not become too flamboyant), he loves her intelligence (although of course her views on Darwinism are heretical ), he loves her inventions (but of course that will all have to stop when they have children) and he loves the idea of taming such a creature and bringing her under the protective wing of his care and instruction.
Into this furnace of social and emotional tension strolls Lord Tyrell, the enigmatic Irish Gentleman who casts his charismatic spell over all and soon the little family are transported to his country estate for a weekend of hunting and fine entertainment. Despite all this, Claude is certain that something is not quite right about their host – but are his macabre suspicions and fears for Desiree’s safety founded on reason, or fantasy?
This is a beautifully written short story, heartbreaking and tense with the leash-tight interplay of well-crafted characters and a plot that is both surprising and moving. If you are looking for a steampunk read that is both satisfying and short then we thoroughly recommend this one.
And is that the kettle boiling? I think it is, please do join us in a cup of cat-inspired tea from Contours Albion
Yes it was a house warming gift left without a note on the doorstep this morning. Some people find themselves very amusing don’t they? I don’t suppose you would like to take a cat with you when you leave? They make very good foot-warmers, if you have feet…?
Anyway, we wish you a deliciously delinquent afternoon and hope you will join us for elevenses tomorrow. Until then, please, be always,