The Lady in the Coppergate Tower is the 3rd book in the Steampunk Proper Romance Series by Nancy Campbell Allen. This one is a fun spinoff to the Rapunzel fairytale. But I would also add in parts of Count Dracula stuff too!!
This story is about Hazel Hughes and Sam MacInnes.
She was the medium that showed up in book 1 to help Lucy and Miles find and get rid of the ghost that was haunting the manor.
You'll find that that scene in book 1 is repeated here as the prologue but in Sam's POV.
That makes it fun!!
You'll also find that Emmeline O'Shea plays a small role in this book. She's the main character of the next book, Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts. Emmy, Isla, Hazel and Lucy have all become friends because this series is about the men.
With the word "proper" in the series name, you can know that this book doesn't have any sexual details whatsoever. So it's a clean and wholesome romance. It's also classified as an action and adventure romance as well as a Victorian historical romance.
Because it's a Victorian romance, which is the Victorian England era and based in London, you can know that the customs and mannerisms match that era. The romance parts also go right along with that too with proper conduct and language!
Steampunk is an interesting genre. It's filled with mechanical parts attached to the main characters and characters that are actually automated robots, called automatons or 'tons. But you also read about vampires and werewolves, who're predatory shifters that can be good or bad. There's also elements of magic woven in too. It's such an interesting genre!!
Please know that this is still a romance with a hero and heroine that must work together to solve something.
And this one is a fun spin on the Rapunzel fairy tale!! Hazel actually has a sister that she didn't know about and it's that sister who's caught up in a tower.
Hazel Hughes was told that she was a medium that allowed her to communicate with the dead. But on her first and only job, she gets attacked by a vampire. Instead of continuing as a medium, she ends up working for Sam MacInnes, a doctor.
Sam is a doctor, an inventor and has a successful practice where he's a leader in animatronics that help injured shifters heal and have better lives. He's also from a wealthy family, even tho he doesn't care about that!
Hazel and Sam have a platonic friendship where they both want more but don't dare say anything to the other because of insecurities and customs. But they do work well together as doctor and assistant.
At first, they're just dancing around each other, but when a wealthy count shows up, telling Hazel that she's his long lost niece, Sam steps in as a protector and confidante and insists that he accompany her to Romania with her to find and save her sister.
And this trip's filled with intrigue and adventures and interesting characters. They travel to Romania in a really fancy, well built submarine which they call a submersible.
Please know that these characters are complex and dynamic and the plot line is complex and engaging.
And of course, there's a romance too. Sam and Hazel get to know each other better being part of only a few passengers, along with a handful of 'tons. Because of the era of the story, much of the language and mannerisms of the characters are always proper.
They play nice with each other throughout the entirety of the trip. Not only do they get to know her uncle, but their relationship deepens and they band together in what feels like a fight for their lives.
Neither of them trust Uncle Petrescu but Hazel plays along because she knows that she must get to her sister and find out what's happened to her.
Over half of the story is the journey on the submarine. But when they finally get close to their final destination, the Coppergate castle, the storyline gets more and more exciting.
Please know that this author is very good at making us anticipate and excited for what will happen later in the story. She weaves a sensational story that leaves you turning the pages because you need to know what happens next!!
They stop at an inn for the last leg of the journey. But when Sam wakes up in the morning, he finds both Hazel and Petrescu are gone. He's frantic to find out what happened to her and to find her.
All along, we've been finding out bits and pieces about Petrescu and it's reached a fever pitch by now. Allen's good at making it that we're sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out what he is and what he knows.
Okay, between this point and the rest of the story, you'll find that the story moves really quickly, even too quickly! Sorry spoilers now!!
Hazel gets kidnapped from the inn and thrown into the tower with her sister. Now her sister's been stuck in this tower her entire life and while Hazel's been dreaming about her their entire lives, we don't get to know Merit very well.
The character Merit is not a well developed character. She plays a very small but significant role. But know that this character doesn't grow at all, we just see her and a bit to the aftermath of what happened.
So Merit and Hazel are trapped in the tower. Hazel can see that Merit is slowly going mad and realizes that she's under a magical spell that makes it that every time she tries to think clearly, she can't.
Everything about this tower is magical. The whole room spins, there's an invisible forcefield around it making it impossible to get out, there's magical vines protecting the whole tower. Fun huh!!!
And this is also where we find out who Uncle Petrescu is and what he needs from them. He's a 500yr old mage and needs both of them to resurrect his cruel step-father in order to complete a magical incantation that will give him immortality.
He knows that between the two of them (because Hazel's a exceptional healer) he knows they're capable of resurrecting him and he can force Vlad to complete the incantation they started 500ish years before for him to finally be immortal.
But things don't go quite as planned. With Hazel and Merit finally being together, they're able to not only stop Petrescu but also destroy him and his long dead father.
Okay, you need to remember because this is a complete fantastical story, the ending is just as fantastical!! Petrescu tries to force them to resurrect his father, but they choose not to and ending up not only saving themselves, but Sam as well.
And then the story just ends and they're getting married!!!
I was not disappointed in this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the old English language and customs that was for this era. And the tender courtship that happened between Hazel and Sam.
I also found this book on audiobook. And while the narrator spoke with an English accent, she enunciated some passages and emphasized some characters really weird. Don't get me wrong, I loved the idea that this was an English story with a narrator who also was English. That made the story, really it did.
But I found that while she was good at some of the character voices, she made emphasis on certain parts that was just silly.
And while the ending happened really quickly, Allen did close all the questions in the plot that needed to be answered and closed. So that was good.
As a reader, I always want to know what happened next!! I would've loved to read more to the ending, in how Merit adjusted to life outside the tower, how people reacted to Hazel and Sam being engaged and the fact that she's now a countess and what that means for her and Sam. Maybe even how they adjusted and adapted their medical practice to accommodate the new skills that Hazel seems to have and how Merit would fit in with that!!
Okay, I go overboard. But as a reader, the stories don't end with the last page for me!!
This whole series is definitely worth reading.
We can read Emmy's story in Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts here!!
Check out the other books in the Steampunk Proper Romance Series:
If you liked Kiss of the Spindle, you might like: