Gail Carriger’s Romancing the Inventor takes place in the same supernatural steampunk setting as her Parasol Protectorate novels, and several primary characters from those novels appear in this novella as secondary characters. Romancing the Inventor focuses on Madame Lefoux, the crossdressing inventor whose previous history is somewhat checkered (her giant mechanical octopus machine destroys swathes of London in an earlier book) and Imogene Hale, a woman from the country who enters service in the vampire household to which Lefoux has been sentenced (because, giant mechanical octopus machine).
The romance between Imogene and Lefoux is delightful. Both of them are well matched: strong, lovable, intelligent women–and the longing the two have for one another grows believably. Events are told from Imogene’s point of view, which is infused with Carriger’s light humor (something I always enjoy in Carriger’s writing), and readers who know Lefoux from other novels will have fun interpreting Lefoux’s feelings from her body language, muttered asides to herself, and occasional ambiguous remark to Imogene.
Unlike other novels in the series, this novella doesn’t focus on national or political threats. The romance is definitely the focus of the plot, and it is thoroughly satisfying.