Light fell on The Dark Unwinding yesterday – its release day – revealing 4.4 out of 5 stars average reader ratings for the gothic/steampunk novel by Sharon Cameron.
This is a adventure/romance story pegged for ages 12 and up, but you could probably go a little younger.
It had been long anticipated, most likely because in 2009 the book was tapped for a “most promising new work” award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. So this is Cameron’s debut novel. It’s billed as a “spine-tingling tale of steampunk, spies, intrigue, and hear-racing romance.”
More specifically, protagonist Katharine Tulman goes after protecting her inheritance when she hears her uncle is squandering it. She’s determined to have his eccentric self confined to an insane asylum. But then, of course, she discovers there’s method in his madness. He’s a genius inventor (here comes the steampunk stuff) who’s employing nearly a thousand people whom he has rescued from the punitive workhouses of London.
Katharine’s preconceived notions crash. She has to think. There’s protecting her inheritance on the one hand and the fate of the unique community it supports on the other. Obviously, much of this story is going to involve Katharine getting to know this community of the former impoverished, the former misfits. Simultaneously, she’ll be faced with falling in love. There’s a handsome apprentice…
There’s also secrets to unravel and questions relating to her own perceptions.
The stakes rise as she realizes, not only her own inheritance and her uncle’s inventions and ideas, but the fate of England, too, ride on her choices.
Plot twists and excitement will keep the reader going.
Those who got advance copies have already praised Cameron’s writing for a “beautiful Victorian style” of painting the scenes, that, nevertheless, is updated to eschew the tedium. Characters, they said, are multifaceted, often loveable, and the heroine, capable, not crumbling until rescued.
One complaint was heard: the ending could have been more satisfying. This might be by design. If Cameron is as astute as her writing would indicate, she’s got a sequel in the works.
Anyway, I just love the little bio that describes her life away from the word processor: “When not writing, Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.;”
Secret passages, eh?