Author's Website: http://sharoncameronbooks.com/
Editor: Lisa Sandell
Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Released: September 1, 2012
Genre: YA Steampunk
Series: Yes (?)
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Katharine Tulman is sent by her aunt (by marriage), Alice Tulman, to her uncle's estate, with the sole purpose of declaring her uncle unfit, basically insane, so that her cousin can inherit the estate and Aunt Alice can have more to spend. Katharine has every intention of carrying out this plan, because her own fate hangs in the balance according to the outcome of her visit. But she falters in her plans when she gets to Stranwyne Keep, as she meets and gets to know her uncle and all the people in Stranwyne. Torn between doing right by her uncle and securing a future for herself, Katharine also has to deal with the disturbing incidents that question her own sanity. In the process, Katharine learns what true love and loyalty mean.From the start, I was drawn in by Katharine's voice and personality. She's been downtrodden all her life, forced to face the fact that she has nothing, reinforced by the declaration by her aunt that she is worth nothing. But still, she has such verve, such strength of character. She is confident without being obnoxious, and that definitely helps when she has to deal with her uncle. She shows this later on in the story when she firmly but kindly takes charge of the goings-on, displaying her strong leadership abilities along with her compassion - compassion that she thinks she can't afford to have but soon learns that she can't afford not to have it.
Uncle Tully also captivated me from the moment he stepped on the scene. Aside from puzzling out what label today's society would give him, there was the delight in his innocence and eccentricities, empathy for his need for routine and fear of strangers. It makes Katharine's struggle all the greater, especially when she is one of the few people who seem to understand Uncle Tully and know how to deal with him.
And then there's Lane. Exasperating, glowering, generally annoying, he tries to interfere with Katharine's plans, and then toys with her emotions. But I love Lane. He's only looking out for the good of Uncle Tully and the villagers, which Katharine understands, but in doing so he reveals his kind and generous nature even as he torments Katharine.
I love the little twists ate the end of the story, the introduction of a dark subplot that Katharine gets to save everyone from. And the resolution - perfect! Everyone gets exactly what they deserve, so I'm well satisfied!