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Wanted: One Scoundrel: A Steampunk Christmas Novella (The Bustlepunk Chronicles) by [Schwartz, Jenny]
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Wanted: One Scoundrel: A Steampunk Christmas Novella (The Bustlepunk Chronicles) Kindle Edition

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Length: 100 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is a man. A scoundrel to be precise. Someone who can be persuaded to represent her political views at men-only clubs. As the daughter of the richest man in Australia, Esme can afford to make it worth the right man's while.

Fresh off the boat, American inventor Jed Reeve is intrigued by Esme's proposal, but even more interested in the beauty herself. Amused that she takes him for a man who lives by his wits, he accepts the job—made easier by the fact that he already shares her ideals. Soon, he finds himself caught up in political intrigue, kidnapping and blackmail, and trying to convince his employer he's more than just a scoundrel...

26,000 words

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 399 KB
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Carina Press (5 December 2011)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005Z1CFSE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #595,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, entry-level intro to 'steampunk' 19 October 2012
By Stuntgnome - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm clearly quite late to the Bustlepunk party but the good thing about having only just read 'Scoundrel' is that I can go straight on to the next in the series with a pause only long enough to write this review. Be still my bad-with-delayed-gratification heart.

What I know about steampunk, as a reader, I got from the big screen. 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'The Golden Compass', 'Wild, Wild West'. So this book, for me was a really gentle introduction to it. The novella was well-paced and the tech stuff was, too. I get that it's possibly not typical of the steam-to-story ratio of the average steampunk but I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily. There was no disorienting disembarkation from an air-ship or a Vernesque submarine into a bustling technical wonderland. The scientific concepts grew with the story, and they really fit the society rather than feeling laboured. And they let the unique setting (the Swan River colony in Australia) have decent stage time.

Anyway, setting the science aside... The relationship between Jed and Esme reminded me very much of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane--both of whom I adore. I love a slow burn, I love equally matched intellects and a gentler pace that doesn't feel the need to get all heavy-breathing. Not saying I never want to see them getting below the bustle but I definitely don't want to see it in the first 25,000 words. I hope that (like Julia & Brisbane) Schwartz can stretch the relationship out over a number of books to keep Jed and Esme's romance alive much longer. And the mystery, literally. I'd love to see these two continue to best lesser minds together.

And lastly, hooray for a historical ripped from the ample bosom of England. That's well overdue.
1.0 out of 5 stars See that potential? Yeah. It's wasted. 21 November 2012
By The Rekindled Reader - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those pre-series (?) novella situations where I didn't really know what to do. I received an ARC of Courting Trouble and noticed it said Steampunk Chronicles #2. But there didn't seem to be a Steampunk Chronicles #1. Wanted: One Scoundrel was the only thing I could find that appeared to be a precursor, so I went for it.

The book has a fantastic start.

Esme Smith is a strong-willed 22 year old, daughter of the richest man in Australia, and staunch supporter of the women's suffragist movement. She has a problem, however. Many of the political discussions are held at men's clubs where she can't participate. She needs a man to advocate for her cause. More particularly, she needs "a well-dressed, well-spoken man" who will "do as he's told."

And that scoundrel happens to be Jedediah Reeve - an American and, unbeknownst to Esme, an inventor and son of a senator. He takes the job not because he needs money, but because he's intrigued by Esme.

As the two work on promoting the cause, Esme becomes attracted to Jed, although she struggles to keep it purely professional. And Jed tries to control his jealousy over the haughty, powerful Nicholas Brambury, who wants nothing more than to woo Esme.

And that's about what this book covers - in an uninteresting, droning manner. It amazed me that the author could flatten such promising and dynamic characters. The Esme who was looking for her scoundrel at the beginning shriveled up into an unemotional shell of her former self. Jed wasn't awful, but instead of being intrigued by and following in love with Esme as he got to know her, he just sort of went from intrigued by to possessive over. If there were any deep conversations or opportunities for them to get to know each other, they certainly weren't mentioned in the part of the book I read.

Also, this was advertised as a "Christmas" novel. Other than occurring during the time when there were holiday festivities - none of which played a role in the plot - this had nothing to do with Christmas.

I was baffled.

But I went into this as a preview to Courting Trouble and thought maybe the purpose was just to introduce the characters. I would've liked an exciting plot, but whatever. The next book was probably a lot better. At this point, I would've given Wanted 5 stars.

I know this isn't fair, but I felt compelled to take another star off when I started Counting Trouble. I read maybe the first chapter and was appalled. Jed seemed to be taking a little bit of a possessive stance in Wanted, but I shrugged it off. InCourting Trouble, he was a downright tyrant. He physically carried Esme out of a seedy bar (where he felt a lady shouldn't be) while she was listening to a political speaker. Then, when he gets her home and a verbal fight ensues, he physically grabs her and drags her off the street.

Excuse me? And she lets this happen?

I hadn't written this review yet and it retroactively tainted my opinion of Jed. As I said, it isn't exactly fair, but I couldn't write this review in good conscience without factoring that in.

Courting Trouble is now on my DNF list.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Scoundrel! 21 January 2014
By Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of contemporary short stories by Jenny Schwartz so was thrilled to discover her steampunk historical short fiction. This Christmas read was entertaining and took me into a time I'd like to visit! Impossible not to fall in love with heroine Esme and hero Jed in this Bustle Punk chronicle. Steamy good! Where have all the scoundrels gone?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More historical than mechanised 6 December 2011
By Tez Miller - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
In 1895, Esme Smith is the daughter of the richest man in the Swan River colony, if not the whole of Australia. She's campaigning for equality: for men and woman, rich and poor, internationally descended and indigenous. But as a woman, she's not permitted to enter gentlemen's clubs, so she needs a puppet. Enter Jed Reeve, an American who's the perfect scoundrel for Esme to train.

This is more historical than steampunk - the technological aspects seem only as set design, and not plot-centric. This is disappointing, because I WANT devices to be centre stage - they're vital for true steampunk.

But even though WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL is more historical than mechanised, I really enjoyed this. I've never before encountered a steampunk set in Australia, so the location here is easier for me to identify with, and a welcome change from the seemingly endless parades of English- and American-based corset-and-bustle dramas.

And I actually believe the relationship, and wanted it to happen - which I almost never do, so this is a big compliment to the author's considerable talents. Esme and Jed don't have silly misunderstandings to create a "darkest hour" - they're smart, likeable characters who don't turn into insufferable gits once they fancy each other.

In fact, the STORY is more central than the romance, and this is another brilliant difference that lifts this novella above its peers. I certainly hope to read more Australian steampunk from Jenny Schwartz.

P.S. I still don't know what a "scoundrel" is.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A short and sweet steampunk romance 27 December 2011
By Cheney - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Wanted: One Scoundrel: A Steampunk Christmas Novella was a quick, lighthearted read. I thought that the author did a wonderful job of balancing the "steam" and the "punk" with engaging characters to create a very enjoyable story, especially in the limited space of a novella. There was a touch of humor and the romance was sweet and believable.

The story is really about the politics of the period and the characters - their fight for equality and debate about the secession of the west coast from the east. This isn't steampunk with a world-ending device in the hands of a criminal mastermind nor is there a gadget in every scene. I found it easy to accept that the inventions described were a part of everyday life in this alternate world. While I would call this a steampunk romance, the romance is secondary to the story.

The protagonists were thoroughly likable. It was refreshing to have a heroine who could be strong and intelligent without being a harpy. The minor characters added to the colour and atmosphere of an alternate Swan River Colony. The author also created plausible conflict without resorting to the usual obvious misunderstandings between the protagonists that just makes me want to shake some sense into them.

Finally, it was great to read a story set not just in Australia, but Western Australia - all too often overlooked in favour of the east coast! I'll be looking out for more steampunk stories from Jenny Schwartz.

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