Plucky Miss Verity Newton intends to become a governess in the British colony of New York, circa 1888.
In a world where the nobility has magic, there's never been any hope for Britain's rebellious colonies. Magisters live in wealth and glory, never intermarrying with the poor, the military, or even the nouveau riche. Seventeen-year-old Verity arrives in New York nigh-penniless, determined to make her own way. Though she wants to be acceptable to the potential employers of New York's best families, she befriends some friendly scoundrels: the Rebel Mechanics. These rascally engineers are determined to overthrow their colonial overlords through the power of machines. Verity's torn between her dangerous new friends (with a cute guy among them) and her kindly employers (with a different cute guy). With the author's note and opening scenes spoon-feeding the alternate-history premise, readers won't be confused about why the rebels are angry. They may be confused, however, about the so-sneaky Mechanics' predilections for wearing corsets over blouses and waistcoats over union suits, as no justification is given for Victorian characters dressing more like modern cosplayers than like their nonrebellious compatriots. Still, there is no denying the novel’s got verve, and there’s an undeniable appeal to plucky, would-be governesses.
Despite lackluster worldbuilding, steampunk fans will enjoy this gadget-filled costume drama. (Steampunk. 12-14)