I’ve always loved the Sleeping Beauty story because of it’s underlying symbols of good verses evil and truth defeating darkness. I must confess however, Aurora is more damsel in distress than fearless heroine. She’s kind of a wuss. In Nancy Campbell Allen‘s spin of Sleeping Beauty that was released today, Kiss of the Spindle, Isla Cooper her resident Briar Rose, is anything but a wuss.
Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date–after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.
In a desperate attempt to find Malette–the witch who cursed her–Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.”
As a fan of the Sleeping Beauty story I have to give Nancy props for how expertly she gave subtle nods to the original story. Crow and the dragon were too of my favorite, genius!
Isla is not just an internally strong character, she literally carries multiple weapons and fights evil. Nancy has a gift for writing two personalities that are paired so well that you are thrilled to watch the couple come together. The romance in her stories are always a perfect blend of tenderness and passion.
This novel wasn’t just a romance though, it had mystery, suspense and the perfect comic relief. Samson really made this story amazing for me. Nancy perfectly timed his comments at just the right time to make me bust a gut on multiple occasions.
Balance that with the fact that I really couldn’t figure out who the enemy exactly was until she spelled it out for me, made for superb writing.
She also threaded through her story deeper emotions. With Daniel’s PTSD and Isla’s realization that “everybody on board dealt with hard things…it’s what defines us” made for a truly fascinating story. I am now completely on board with the steampunk fairy tale world she’s created and am secretly trying to figure out how I can come up with an opportunity to wear a steampunk costume, Halloween is just too far away…