Reluctant to play the part of a proper lady by English standards, Evie finds herself without choice and travelling to London for her first season. She finds her trip threatened by an enemy submarine bent on destroying the airship carrying both her brother and herself. When she steps forward to help, she finds her knowledge questioned and her secret gift in danger of exposure.
As a woman whose passion turns toward engineering and mechanical designs, her curious nature could expose her extraordinary talent. Will this Christmas season allow Evie to keep her secrets or will her secret gift be revealed too soon?
Evie’s Gift by PJ Schnyder is an enthralling steampunk full of adventure and an interesting cast of characters. The dialogue is sharp and the story’s pace kept me glued to the pages. It’s easily read in a short afternoon.
Evangeline Dunn is an interesting character. She’s young, attractive and very intelligent. She has a sense of adventure and a naturally born affinity towards engineering and mechanical designs; in fact, her natural affinity is almost a paranormal gift. Due to her parent’s death, she finds herself en-route to England with her older brother Jeffrey, who plans to promote the family business. Jeffrey also plans to find a sponsor for Evie, someone who will help turn her into a polished lady so that he can find her a suitable husband. A husband with high social standing and financial security whom he hopes will help further their business interests and possibly curb some of Evie’s boyish tendencies. Evie wants more out of life than she’s willing to acknowledge to her brother, she’s hoping to find a man who will indulge her interests.
While this story doesn’t have a male lead character, there are a handful of secondary male characters that provide support to Evie. I especially liked Alex Corwin, the Captain of the airship who finds himself attracted to Evie and her mechanical talents. He’s very curious about her knowledge of engineering and her natural gift, which he discovers when she helps save his airship. I also liked Jeffrey Dunn, Evie’s brother, who loves his sister, even if he doesn’t completely understand her and is interested in hiding her true talents out of fear. I also enjoyed Lord Weatherly, a British nobleman who had been a business partner to Evie’s father and who has invited the Dunn children to his home in order to help Jeffrey and Evie with their future plans. Jeffrey hopes Lord Weatherly and his wife will become Evie’s sponsors and help him find her a suitable husband. We also get to meet Angelia Weatherly, Lord Weatherly’s granddaughter, who has an interest in mechanical engineering and proves to be somewhat like Evie.
There is small bit of suspense which takes place throughout the length of the story. The attempt to shoot down the airship and then an attempt to destroy one of Lord Weatherly’s inventions take place during one of the holiday parties. Both attempts appear to be made as a move by German spies, set on destroying the mechanical advances being made in England. There is also the hint of romance between Evie and Captain Corwin, who expresses an interest in calling on Evie in a social setting. The story ends in a pivotal spot and is open; which leads me to suspect that Ms. Schnyder is planning additional stories for Evie and this interesting cast of characters. For a good introduction into the Steampunk craze, Evie’s Gift is a good place to start.