Sunday, January 11, 2015

"A Heartless Design": why is this not alt-history?

A Heartless Design (Secrets of the Zodiac, #1)A Heartless Design by Elizabeth Cole


This may be a good story. I don't know, because I didn't make it past the first few pages. The cover is pretty and vaguely Regency despite the bad/21st century hair on the model (not the author's fault), so I was guessing this was a historical romance. After a few paragraphs I was confused and thought maybe this was supposed to be alt history or Steampunk, and since I was reading an e-version had to look up the blurb online. Nope. It's listed as a "Regency romance". What with there being a steel (sic) ship with a mechanical drive system powering a screw, and all of it designed by a woman in the first decade of the 19th century, I would not consider it historical. Iron (not steel) cladding wasn't used for another fifty years, not to mention steam propulsion. Hopefully Cole makes a big deal of the designer being female, because that would have been huge back then, too. I'm not saying there weren't women designing things in the early 19th century (Ada Lovelace!), but it was not commonplace and they would have had huge social and commercial obstacles to surmount. Anyway, I couldn't continue with that much askew right out of the gate.

I can't give it a serious rating of any kind since I didn't read it.

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