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Steampunk Proper Romance #4

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts

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A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?

368 pages, Paperback

First published October 6, 2020

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Nancy Campbell Allen

30 books992 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 363 reviews
Profile Image for PamG.
820 reviews487 followers
June 25, 2020
BRASS CARRIAGES AND GLASS HEARTS by Nancy Campbell Allen is the fourth book in the Steampunk Proper Romance series. This is the first book that I have read in this genre and by this author, but it certainly will not be my last. Each book in this series has a steampunk version of a retelling of a fairy tale. In this case it is loosely based around the story of Cinderella. It is set in a world with steam-driven carriages and airships as well as shifters, vampires and humans.

Emmeline O’Shea wants to change the world and is a strong voice for societal reform. She is selected to give the final speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s Summit in Scotland. With death threats, her nemesis Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed, a step-father, two step-sisters, a preoccupied mother, unknown enemies and political indecision, the path forward is certain to be exciting.

I was immediately captivated by Emmeline and Oliver. Their characters are compelling, felt real, and were three-dimensional. Their motivations seemed believable and had well-drawn and appropriate emotion. The secondary characters enhanced the story rather than overwhelming it. The internal and external conflicts were well defined, organic and believable; arising out of characterization and circumstance. The stakes were high and the tension made this a page turner for me.

The prose was well-written, entertaining and engaging. The plot was clever, suspenseful, fun, enjoyable and entertaining. The ending was satisfying. Overall, I was drawn into this tale immediately and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was appealing, enjoyable, entertaining, humorous as times, and thought-provoking. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I highly recommend this series to those that enjoy clean romantic suspense set in a steampunk world with a paranormal aspect and loosely based on a fairy tale.

Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and Nancy Campbell Allen for a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Julie Carpenter.
1,388 reviews162 followers
August 15, 2020
Years ago, before I even knew what Steampunk was, I stumbled across a book. It looked interesting. It was about Sherlock Holmes' niece and Bram Stoker's sister. Both of those literary male figures were ones that I really enjoyed. So I took a chance and picked up the book. I didn't know when I checked it out from the library that it was Steampunk. So you can imagine my surprise to diving into this new series and reading about the main character discussing her outfits and adding cogs and sprockets and goggles and such to it. Plus the constant talk about steam power and no electricity, and Tesla coils. I took it all in, loving it and trying to figure out what this new world I'd entered was. I figured it out eventually of course (I was probably halfway through the book when I stopped to do some research). Now I've read several books in that genre and have really enjoyed them. This Steampunk Proper Romance series has been one that I've read them all and I keep hoping that the author will continue to write more books for it. The sky is the limit for fairytales to add into it. Hee Hee! Just a little plug from a fan wanting more. And I have to say that I say several potential characters in this book that could have their own story...another little hint, hint!

Before I write anything further in my review I have to put a plug in for readers who haven't read this series. Although you can read this book as a stand alone, I recommend reading every book in order. There's a lot that the author has built up, the world, the characters, the shifters and their need for protection. So much that will pull you into this world and have you turning the pages to discover what is in story for the characters and how the fairytale ties into the story. At least the books pulled me into the world and had me turning the pages to discover.

It's interesting that as I opened the pages of the book, I felt like the author was advocating for rights for all in the real world. That may not make sense, but to help, in this world there are many who are called shifters. They transform into werewolves, vampires, and many other creatures. Emme is trying to spearhead the cause for reforming rules and regulations regarding the shifter community. She wants all to be equal. I loved her passion and her rushing ahead to be the voice for those who didn't have one. Oliver is a detective who knows Emme's desires and personality as he's been watching her and pulling her out of situations where she puts herself in harms way. They've been at odds for years. She thinks he hates her and is out to get her when really he supports the need for reform and equality but knows there's a way to go about it without creating damage or harm to others or property. Not that Emme is harming anyone, just that she has a way with speaking and can bring crowds of people to seeing her point of view, which eventually turns to some riots.

There's danger around every corner for Emme. When one such letter brings alarm to her mother, Emme finds herself at the mercy of the police for protection and one such detective, Oliver Reed. Yay! You can bet that really makes her happy (ok, I'm being sarcastic there).

I really loved watching these two dance around their many emotions and the tension of their relationship...definitely not friendship. Unless, maybe they realize that they are actually fighting for the same cause, just a little different route for both.

One of my favorite scenes was at the beginning when Oliver comes to her house to discuss the particulars of what was happening, her upcoming schedule for traveling to the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland. There are so many important things happening in the story at that point. I loved it! There are many other scenes that I loved throughout this book as well. There are plenty of scenes that are calm, scenes that are full of intensity and suspense, danger, intrigue, surprises, struggles, and much, much more.

Now I find myself hoping once again for another book to be written in this series...and this one hasn't even been published yet. I guess that gives all of you who are eyeing this series plenty of time to read the first three books until this one comes out, then read this one and be like me, hoping for more!

Content: Clean. There are only some kisses throughout the book and nothing more. This is a paranormal/fantasy/steampunk. This book talks about vampires mainly and references a few other creatures. Some suspense but nothing graphic.

I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,214 reviews207 followers
March 15, 2020
I have really loved all of these books. I like the intensity of the emotions and how Allen writes them. This book was good and was a good addition to the series. I knew these two would get together and am so happy it worked out so well. They are perfect for each other. Allen always puts a lot of thought into her characters. The book is always well done around them. Both were heroes:} These are always fast paced and fun to read. Not a book I put down. The book did have a bit of a weird flow issue. Almost like things were cut out to make it shorter. It wasn't dramatic and didn't stop my enjoyment of the book. Can't wait for the next one! Will the spy and the mermaid get a story next:}
Profile Image for Happy Reading Watching.
782 reviews34 followers
May 24, 2022
This action pack Cinderella retelling was amazing and the audiobook was fantastic!!

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by @authornancycampbellallen
Was a book that I consumed & boy was it good! In my opinion the best one in the series so far. I would even go as far as to say the best book she has written! .
Steampunk Proper Romance Series:

📖Beauty and the Clockwork Beast ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📖Kiss of the Spindle⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📖The Lady in the Coppergate Tower⭐⭐⭐

📖Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Even though you could read this book as a stand alone it's better if you read the others first. That way you could really appreciate the cameos & see how much the friendships have grown. Loved this book, the world, the friendships, the swoon worthy moments, and the way she wrote Cinderella characters!
Cinderella Retelling✔
Swoon worthy moments✔
Oct.6th is the new publication date, so next week:)
Thank You to @netgalley , @properromanceseries & @shadowmountainpub for an advanced copy! All my thoughts & opinions are my own.

Reread #3 10/05/2020

Reread #4 1/22 Oh my goodness why is this book and series SO GOOD!!!! Love it!!!❤️❤️❤️

Reread May 2022 ♡♡♡♡♡
Profile Image for Linden.
1,475 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2020
Emme is an advocate for the shifter community in this steampunk novel set in London. Someone is sending her threatening letters, and she is assigned a handsome detective, Oliver Reed, to be her bodyguard. Her mother has remarried, her stepfather is insufferable, and one of his two daughters is manipulative and hostile to Emme. Vampires and shifters abound, and Emme must ascertain which of them means her harm if, indeed, it is the shifters who are the true villains. This book was called a “steampunk Cinderella story” which is what attracted me to it, but I think this was somewhat fanciful since there were not a lot of similarities between the traditional story and this one. Thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Aimee (Getting Your Read On).
2,968 reviews244 followers
October 5, 2020
I've been reading this series from the beginning and it's been so fun. Steampunk allows for elements that other book genres don't have so it feels unique and different. This series also has some paranormal elements with people known as "shifters". This book and this series always feel like a breath of fresh air and a good change up from the regular genres I read.

Emme is a strong voice for shifter rights and she definitely makes her voice heard which earns her some nasty enemies. Oliver and Emme have known each other for a long time as Oliver almost always puts an end to Emme's protests and gatherings when things turn violent. As a result, Oliver and Emme have a rough start when Oliver is assigned to protect Emme. They both slowly realize they don't know all that much about each other and it was fun to watch them learn more and come to new realizations. These characters are well developed and I loved that both Emme and Oliver were strong, intelligent, passionate and courageous. They were evenly matched in almost every way.

There is a bit of mystery, a bit of adventure and a growing romance. It all worked together so well. I also loved seeing characters from previous books appear in this book. I don't think you have to read this series in order but you will probably be happier if you do. Each book can stand alone though. If you haven't ever read a steampunk book, I would highly recommend you try one. You might be surprised at how much you like them.

Content: mild peril, mild violence, death, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Lucinda.
Author 22 books1,308 followers
January 29, 2020
I've read all the books in the series and I think this is my favorite so far. Maybe because, by now, I know the world and what to expect from it. I enjoyed the appearances of the characters from the other books and how they had a role in this story.

When the story starts, we see how Emme and Oliver's relationship with each other has been so far: he's a detective, she's an advocate for the shapeshifter community, and their work and beliefs are at odds. Or so it seems.

Even as Oliver carts Emme away from a near-riot, there's an undercurrent to what they admit about the other, and you know there's more than what they say, even if they won't admit it.

When her life is threatened and Oliver becomes her protector, their close time together brings out their feelings for each other in the open, and their romance is a sweet one. Of course, the problems surrounding them only escalate.

I felt the theme of this story was very contemporary and lent lots of opportunities for thinking about our current society climate.

This is a story that will be much better understood if read after the other books in the series.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,095 reviews64 followers
October 10, 2020
I love this series. It's the only steampunk I read and I've looked forward to each new book. Not only is this a steampunk retelling of Cinderella but it's also an enemies to lovers story which I really like. Emmeline is Isla's cousin and they're friends with Hazel so we've seen Emmeline in the other books.

Emme is a passionate spokesperson for the shifter community. Working hard to get the laws that are prejudiced against them changed. She's had several run ins with Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed, whom she considers her nemesis. When Emme receives a threat against her life before a trip where she's to deliver a key note address, Oliver is tasked by his superior to be Emmeline's bodyguard to ensure she arrives in Edinburgh. As they spend time together getting to Edinburgh, they come to realize they don't know everything about each other to have formed such strong opinions to think that their staunch enemies.

I really like enemies to lovers stories and loved this one. I love watching the characters change their minds about their "enemy/nemesis", as they discover they might have been wrong about the other person. Emmeline didn't want to admit she might be developing feelings for Oliver, and she tried so hard to justify that it was just because he was handsome.

I enjoyed the mystery, the suspense, and the action in the story, as Emme and Oliver tried to figure out who would gain the most from the laws governing the shifters remaining unchanged. I liked the Cinderella elements but felt they weren't overdone or in your face. Yes, there are step-sisters, a glass element, a lost shoe, a ballgown, etc, but it didn't feel as if it was Cinderella simply retold with the steampunk elements of airships, ray guns, automatons just thrown in there. All of the elements worked together seamlessly and without any effort on the part of the reader to remember this was a Cinderella retelling.

I loved Emmeline and Oliver together. They had more in common than they thought and I thought they were great together. I really want to know what happened to Emmeline's stepsister Madeline. I hope this series continues because I think Nancy Campbell Allen does a fantastic job and there are more fairytales that could be retold with a steampunk twist.

Thanks to Shadow Mountain via NetGalley for my digital copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 49 books516 followers
June 28, 2020
I have been waiting for Nancy Campbell Allen's new steampunk romance, Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts and was not disappointed. I love this world she's built and the characters in it kept me glued to the pages!

This is Emmeline O'Shea's story and Emme is a woman to be reckoned with. She is an activist for Shifter rights and societal reform and is really good at what she does. She has a pull on listeners when she addresses a crowd and is firm in her convictions. Sometimes things get out of hand, however, and Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed is always there to pull her out of the fray---much to Emme's chagrin. They are adversaries in the truest sense of the word---until Emme's receives a threatening letter. Oliver is assigned as her bodyguard and is tasked to make sure she makes it safely to Edinburgh so she can present at the International Shifter Rights Organization before a very important vote. It seems like an easy assignment---but the danger is closer than they think.

I loved the relationship between Oliver and Emme. They are both so passionate about their causes and opinions, it is fun to see them really start to see the other person as they truly are. Their love story was so swoon-worthy! I loved Oliver and how stalwart he was, yet tender and truly a good man. Emme is definitely his match in every way. She is so relatable in how she deals with her world and wants to be a force for change. It's not easy to do that, however, as well as balance family issues and life in general. This story is so compelling and actually speaks to activism in our world today. It's a loose retelling of Cinderella, but stands on its own with some twists the reader won't see coming!

Allen has built a world that is easy to get lost in and definitely on my auto-buy list! Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts will definitely go on my favorites shelf!
Profile Image for Sheila.
1,123 reviews35 followers
June 30, 2020
Let me preface this review saying, yes, this book could be a stand-alone, but please read the three previous books in this Proper Romance Steampunk series first. You will understand this wonderful world and all of the characters so much more and will make your reading experience of Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts even more amazing.

Reading Order of the Proper Romance Steampunk Series:

1.Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

2.Kiss of the Spindle

3.The Lady in the Coppergate Tower

4. Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts

I have loved all of the books in this series but I feel this fourth book is my favorite. Maybe because it brings this whole steampunk world full circle. The characters from the other books are also in the new novel. The struggles and trials found in the other novels are also resolved fully and this shows in the final chapters of the book.

The main characters in this book are both so likable for different reasons. Emme has so much spirit and determination and it has taken her far in life. Detective Inspector Oliver Reed is an upright, very stoic, and a true hero. In this case, opposites truly attract. It felt right they drifted towards each other even though they had major differences at first. The action is consistent with someone in peril at all times. Figuring out who's behind the criminal behavior may be figured out sooner rather than later for some readers. This novel is one that I had to read and couldn't get the story out of my mind. This author truly knows how to move the plot forward at a great pace.

I've enjoyed the Steampunk Romance series so much. It brings a fresh face to a Proper Romance, that is spiced up with paranormal creatures and a nice dose of steampunk. This reader is secretly hoping that there will be more steampunk romances to come out in the future.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,336 reviews1,017 followers
June 23, 2022
I saw "Steampunk retelling of Cinderella" in the blurb and immediately wanted to read this. I stupidly didn't realise it was part of a series though so I'm going to have to read the previous books before I dive into this one
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,436 reviews50 followers
October 4, 2020
Steampunk, shifters and love!

I do enjoy steampunk but must admit I haven't read any for a couple of years. I was unsure if I wanted to get back into this genre, and wondered if I could read this without having a knowledge of the series background. I'm pleased to say this stands alone, so that's that hurdle down. I'm now committed to investigating the series, and a have renewed interest in this genre.
I enjoyed Brass Carriages immensely. I loved the courage and vivacity of Emme (Emmeline Castle O’Shea) and the long suffering, dependable and broodingly, focused energy of Oliver (Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed). (Really? Oliver Reed? Mmm! I can see that!)
Emme is a strong advocate for the rights of the shifter community and is working on trying to repeal the Predatory Shifter Extermination Act. An important international conference, The International Shifter Rights Organization is being held to vote on the matter. Emme is to speak. Forces against her have already sent threatening letters and Oliver is assigned to guard her. The lead up to this was très amusing. Of course Emme and Oliver's relationship is like oil and water, tricky and needing something else for the emulsifying factor to occur. That component is present in spades! Emme has a difficult family structure, partly pure poison. The Cinderella references are rife. As the preface states each book in the series is a, "familiar fairy tale in a steampunk 19th-century UK setting." The manipulation of this traditional literary tool is rewarding.
I think of 'Emme' and I immediately think of the suffragettes and their activism. The modeling fits the energies and activism of that era. A young woman concerned with injustice and the ability for all to choose their own path, for enfranchisement for all no matter their background and traits.
A great read that made me laugh and teeter on the edge of Oh No's! quite a few times.

A Shadow Mountain ARC via NetGalley
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
Profile Image for Jammin Jenny.
1,385 reviews187 followers
March 18, 2021
I really enjoyed this steampunk romance set in London England involving shifters, family drama and a love story. This was somewhat of a retelling of Cinderella as it involves two step-sisters (one of whom is really mean), a step-mother, and a handsome young man. I loved the witty banter between Emme and Oliver and would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good witty romance or steampunk book.

I received an e-ARC of this book by the author and publishing via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.
Profile Image for Elodie’s Reading Corner.
2,501 reviews116 followers
September 29, 2020
Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts
Nancy Campbell Allen
Release date 10/06/2020 (ebook)
Publisher Shadow Mountain


A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.
Emmeline O’Shea has been an outspoken advocate for the shapeshifter community, which has come under unjust attack from a political body known as the PSRC (Predatory Shifter Regulations Committee), and her robust efforts have landed her a prestigious position as the spokesperson for the International Shifter Rights Organization. She has been selected to give the final address in Scotland before they vote on legislation that will grant protective rights to the shifter community. Because she is fundamentally changing the laws, she is also receiving death threats.
Oliver Reed is a by-the-book detective-inspector who has dealt with Emme’s borderline-illegal activism in the past, and there is little love lost between the two. When his superior tasks Oliver with guarding Emme around the clock to keep her safe until the summit is over, he is frustrated. He has several open cases requiring his attention, and his spare time is occupied with chasing down leads about the whereabouts of his brother, Vincent, a rogue vampire bent on causing trouble in Scotland.
When their airship is hijacked, Emme and Oliver are forced to parachute away before they exit British soil. They take refuge in Emme’s family’s hunting lodge where Oliver is introduced to her abusive stepsisters.
Together the pair must make their way to Edinburgh so as not to miss the summit meeting where Emme will be key in helping to pass legislation that will disband the corrupt PSRC. But between her vindictive sisters and Oliver’s rogue vampire brother, they face danger at every turn, not to mention dealing with their growing attraction for each other.
When Emme is kidnapped – leaving behind only one shoe as evidence – Oliver must find her before it’s too late – and the summit ends at midnight.

𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄

Will they be able to thwart the many traps on their journey without loosing sight of their heart ...

I quite like steampunk stories but so far I have read very few, it seems romance is a less representative sub genre.
This story is a reversed rewriting of the Cinderella by Perrault’s fairy tale, with instead of a shy demure young woman, a fiery maiden, not the doormat of the fairytale. With a widowed mother remarried but the stepsisters are still there.
The prince is no more but she has her personal knight in shining armor, an inspector determined to protect and rescue her.
So it is a crossing between Cinderella and Bodyguard.

As my discovery read by the author, I was delighted by the witty banters and many mischiefs with very ugly villains I loved to hate.
This tale is a rollercoaster ride, along the road they learn about the other to better open their eyes about the feelings they keep guarding behind the walls of their heart.
Emmeline has always wanted something else from life, upon her mother’s successful business, she looks to help others less fortunate, those who have no voice or are unable to speak. She is their spokeswoman and no threat will prevent her to stand for them.
Oliver is a hero in his own right, he went from the army to the police, he abides to laws and rules while he agrees with Emme’s ideas, he only wishes to keep everyone safe.
Why they find themselves at each side of the fence, yet they are far from being opposite, they have similar opinions, they share the same group of friends and they are attracted to one another if they accept to recognize it.

I do suspect the side characters have had their stories in the books published prior to it and it will surely add more insight about this world, yet without having them, I just love this book.
5 stars for this enchanting retelling of Cinderella with more spunk than the original tale, a brash heroine and her chivalrous guardian.

I was granted an advance copy by the publisher, here is my true and unbiased opinion.

Profile Image for Marilee .
795 reviews77 followers
September 7, 2020
Another fantastic steampunk to add to an already fabulous series! First, it is important to know that though this is technically a stand alone novel, you will enjoy it so much more if you read the series in order because a lot of the details about this steampunk world are set up in the first few books . Reading them first will help you understand the context of the events of this book much better.

I have been intrigued by Emme's character in past books. I admire her drive to be a voice for those who have none and seek for change. Her courage is admirable and she is a perfect match for Oliver. For a long time, they have seemingly been adversaries but necessity makes them get to know each other better and they are not as different as they once believed.

I enjoyed the nods to Cinderella - they are subtle enough to not be overwhelming yet obvious enough to be noticeable. I enjoyed the suspenseful mystery aspect of the book and the plot twists I did not see coming.

If you are looking for a book with strong characters, a unique setting, and swoony romance, look no further! I was pulled into the book from the very first page and loved every bit of it.

This continues to be one of my favorite series and I can only hope that the next book will be Madeline's and Nigel's story.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher but it in no way affected my review.
Profile Image for Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa).
2,196 reviews171 followers
October 18, 2020
This series!!! Nancy Campbell Allen does a fantastic job at writing steampunk. It is not my go-to genre but when she writes it, I want to read it. Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts is the fourth book in the series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but the characters from all the books show up and have established relationships. I'm glad that I read them in order, but you can follow along easily out of order.

Emmeline O'Shea is an outspoken advocate for the shifter community. (Yes, this book contains shifters and vampires!) She is trying to make sure that they have rights and are treated as equals. (It reminds me of some of the movements that are happening in society right now.) This has made her a target from some powerful and ruthless people.

Detective Oliver Reed has long been Emme's nemesis. He is always there to step in and haul her off to jail when a protest gets out of hand. Now he is assigned to be her bodyguard because she has received death threats. (Yay!)

Sparks have always happened when they were adversaries, but now there are different sparks as they are getting to know one another and working together. It turns out that they have been working on the same side all along.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is fun. I will continue to read each and every book that comes out about this fantasy world that the author created.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Allison.
671 reviews19 followers
September 5, 2020
This steampunk enemies-to-lovers story follows the cat & mouse dynamic between a policeman and community organizer, which suddenly shifts when aforementioned detective is assigned bodyguard duty to our heroine following a death threat. Oliver and Emme may come to find out they could put their energies towards something better than enmity.

If this premise makes you feel uncomfortable/frustrated because of the disconnect from police brutality and violent suppression of protestors in reality... same. It is worth noting as well that we're dealing with an entirely white cast. There was a good acknowledgement of class privilege in one conversation between the characters, but the complete obliviousness to race was made more stark by the nature of our supposed meet cute... if our heroine were black, there would be nothing cute about Oliver throwing her over his shoulder and bodily removing her from a protest.

Beyond this major concern, the romance was a bit tepid for my personal tastes (they're in love only 47% in and the tension is zero), which is apparently what makes it a "proper romance." Turns out I'm not a very proper person.
Profile Image for Katie (Hiding in the Pages).
2,922 reviews219 followers
October 6, 2020
Cinderella meets Steampunk

I'm always up for a fairy tale retelling and I love the way this author brings these beloved stories into a steampunk world, allowing for a fresh twist on a classic.

In this installment, a Cinderella format is followed, although the fantasy elements and steampunk ingredients add a strand of excitement and suspense to the romance. I absolutely adored spunky Emme and her dashing enemy, Oliver, and was drawn into the thrill of their adventure and romance. They're equally strong characters and it was a rush to watch them join forces to battle evil.

The twists and turns with this story was exhilarating and the pages flew by. Steampunk is such an interesting genre and I enjoyed the way it added quirky modifications to a historical time, giving it a unique feel. I've read this series from the story and I don't feel that this genre and series are exhausted yet.

Content: mild romance; mild+ moments of danger/violence

*I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.*
131 reviews
June 17, 2022
This book is by far my favorite of the series. But I should probably give it 4.5 stars since there's an unanswered question that really should have been dealt with - What happened to Maddie?

I was listening to it while doing a craft, but got so involved in the story that I stopped crafting and simply read until the end.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
2,183 reviews82 followers
October 5, 2020
4.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

A heroine determined to fight for what’s right. A hero assigned to protect her. Danger, romance, and a clock ticking down to midnight all blend together wonderfully in Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts . I adored this action-packed steampunk romance and its stellar characters, clever inventions, and oh-so-addictive world.

I can’t imagine Emme not winning anyone over. She’s courageous, kind, and determined to fight for what is right, no matter the personal cost. As Spokeswoman for the International Shifter Rights Organization she has the opportunity to give the closing speech right before the end of a summit where legislation to protect shifters is up for a vote. Only someone is determined she not live to make that speech. Enter Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed, Emme’s nemesis and the man who has arrested her more than once. Oliver agrees with Emme’s mission – he’s a good, logical person and his best friend is a predatory shifter, after all – it’s her disruptive ways he doesn’t agree with. No matter how often they’ve come into conflict, the simmering attraction between Emme and Oliver cannot be denied. So when he’s assigned to be her bodyguard and make sure she gets to Scotland in once piece, neither of them can hide their feelings any longer. Their romance seems to be fated (especially since their closest friends are all paired up) so I didn’t mind that they fell in love rather quickly; it goes with the Cinderella theme.

What I found most interesting about Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts is how well Emme and Oliver worked together. They may have been adversaries in the past, but they both want the same thing. And to get to Scotland, they must overcome obstacles at every corner. Between Emme’s evil stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, death threats, kidnappings, and more, I wasn’t sure at times how our protagonists would make it. Thankfully they have allies old and new who add warmth and depth to the world. Fans of the series will delight in seeing past couples play supporting roles and there is a new character I found totally endearing who fills several Cinderella roles.

Though Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts has many nods to a beloved fairytale, it does fully stand on its own. I do recommend reading at least the first book in the series (Beauty and the Clockwork Beast) before starting Emme and Oliver’s book. You should be familiar with the wonderful world Nancy Campbell Allen has built before jumping headfirst into a story of steampunk, shifters, vampires, and more that does not offer a primer. I’ve adored every book in this series and this one does not disappoint. My only quibble is that there is a lot going on in this book and a few things felt rushed because so much was packed in (namely the storyline involving Oliver’s brother). Even with that issue, I enjoyed this story overall. I adore the way Nancy Campbell Allen blends fairytale and steampunk to create a world that is wholly unique. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Becky.
5,206 reviews103 followers
April 8, 2020
First sentence: Emmeline Castle O’Shea stood at a podium in the balcony of the Municipal Hall for Citizen Affairs and looked out with satisfaction at the murmuring crowd, feeling the energy build in the large room as she finished speaking.

Premise/plot: Emme, our feminist heroine, is forced to spend company with a detective, Oliver Reed, when her life is threatened by a Bad Letter. Her new body guard becomes quite caught up in her life and causes. Emme is quite involved in the cause for Shifter Rights.

The book is labeled as a steampunk retelling of Cinderella. It is the fourth in a series of retelling. Supposedly each can stand alone.

My thoughts: Would I have enjoyed this one more if I was familiar with other titles in the series?!?! Probably. I do think this steampunk world has a good deal of world building to it, character building. Other reviews indicate that characters from other books appear in this one.

How much Cinderella is there to this retelling? Not much in my opinion. The connection is faint if present at all. I will say her new friend Gus (a good vampire) is one of the more memorable characters.

I do like the relationship of Oliver and Emme. If this wasn’t labeled a retelling of Cinderella would I have enjoyed it more?!
Profile Image for Donna Weaver.
Author 46 books444 followers
October 12, 2020
My mind keeps going back to one of the things he says to her early in the book: "No. Don't bite my hand."

ROFL Emme and Oliver. *sigh* These two! I love them! So much! It was also great to see the characters from the other books. I'm wondering if this won't be the end. It seems there's an unfinished issue with Emme's shifter stepsister ...
Profile Image for Alexandra.
1,843 reviews10 followers
April 29, 2020
I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Review will also be available on *Milky Way of Books*

While I read this book without having read the previous ones I loved the story! Steampunk is a hit or miss with me but combined with the fairytale retelling it was an enjoyable book! While the action felt short and some parts I couldn't understand (mostly due to me not having read the previous books) this was a good read!

I seriously plan to read the other books of the series too!
66 reviews32 followers
February 5, 2020
I am shocked at how much I adored this little story.

Describing this as a Cinderella retelling seems a stretch since, until the end, the Cinderella similarities are few -- nasty stepsisters and a grand event and a few cryptic references to midnight being about the extent of them. No, this little page-turner was wholly unique to me; it is decidedly a romance, but it has a healthy dash of adventure and intrigue mixed in, and I like the seamlessness of the steampunk world -- it doesn't feel as though the author is trying too hard to make it cool or different. I very much enjoyed the entire thing, and was drawn in from the first chapter, genuinely wondering what would happen next. You certainly don't see warring factions of humans and supernatural beings in Cinderella..

Emme is one of my new favorite heroines, and I might be a little bit in love with Oliver; as far as book beaus go, he's a keeper. Dependably upright, charming, just a little bit infuriating, slightly mysterious, willing to die multiple times for our spunky and impossible-to-tame heroine, and handsome to boot: what else do you need, really?
Emme doesn't feel contrived, which I appreciate. Too often lately it feels like I'm reading a publisher's wishlist when I meet a new a heroine -- "She needs to be independent, beautiful without trying, ferocious yet also appealing, unique yet approachable by her cast of less-than-exciting sidekicks, etc., etc. She probably swears a good deal and can hold her own with the boys. She's open-minded, and while she'll have a love interest, she doesn't *need* him.."
Emme is the best of all those things without being trite; she does feel deeply, and it's both curse and weapon. She's independent but loves her family dearly; she cares passionately for her cause but won't exploit or discount individuals just to get her way. She has insecurities but doesn't let them absolutely hobble her like I've seen happen in other books, and she speaks her mind without being vulgar, whiny, insipid, or demanding. In short, she is entirely human, entirely female, and entirely sympathetic and believable.

The cast of supporting characters in this story is wide, and I lost track of most of them -- I believe this is because most of them have their own stories in the series (which I did not realize existed until I came on here to review this particular installment... *quietly checks out the rest of the books from eLibrary*); there are a few of note, namely a vampiric stand-in for a fairy godmother, a lovely young lady named Madeline whose story is, I believe, not yet over, and an intimidating, over-bearing, but wholly good-intentioned mother.

The plot moves swiftly; the vocabulary is not taxing, but some of the exchanges between Oliver and Emme may be seen as flowery. I enjoyed them; I love it when people are a little overly formal and say too many things in the span of one breath, when they could've just spoken plainly and briefly. Others may find it off-putting. I think it jives with the whole Victorian-era steampunk thing, though.

The arc of the romance in this story was predictable, but sweetly done, and honestly, pretty delightful. Sometimes "clean" teen books can be so treacly as to be nauseating, or so deliberately prudish as to be unreadable. This is neither. As a librarian who needs to consider middle school students who read well above their "level," but don't need to be anywhere near Throne of Glass just yet, I will wholeheartedly recommend this to that subset of reader, and anybody else who seems remotely interested in fairytale retellings or steampunk.

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing the eGalley for this review -- it's one I'm glad to have read for my own sake, as well as for the benefit of my students!
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,735 reviews66 followers
September 16, 2020
Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts was a fun adventure that included a clean romance that was indeed reminiscent of a Cinderella retelling. The interactions between Emmeline and Oliver were very confrontational at first but over the course of the story they developed into quite a working partnership. From the start of this story, Emma had been a thorn in Oliver’s side but her reasons were altruistic. She was an activist on the side of shifter rights and was willing to go to any lengths to get her message out. As a detective-inspector, Oliver’s entire career was focused on restoring order from chaos and Emme seemed to create chaos were ever she went.

Emme and Oliver were quite entertaining and I also truly enjoyed the secondary characters included in Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts. I was thrilled to see that there was even some crossover with characters from previous books! The treachery and machinations that were demonstrated in this story were of the vilest nature. Many times over, I was held in suspense at what was taking place as well as horrified at the depravity that was revealed. There was a very subdued romance element but it did have a smoldering intensity that warmed my romantic heart. Overall, Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts was another lovely addition to one of my favorite steampunk romance series and I would highly recommend this book and the Steampunk Proper Romance series!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for  The Flipped Page (Susan K).
1,385 reviews31 followers
October 17, 2020
Romance, clean; Steampunk; Series but stand alone read
This was by far my favorite of this series so far! All the elements really came together well, the story had excellent pacing and just felt so engrossed in this world! Emmaline and Oliver's story was the best of the series for me as a reader.
Emme and Oliver, thrown together for him to provide protection for her after she receives some threats begins as strong mutual dislike based on their past history. Their gradual warming up to each other as they spend time together and work together to keep Emme safe and able to make her presentation that is so important to change their society and influence votes on a very important legislation is fraught with upset, delays, drama, and dangers. Oliver proves himself over and over again, and Emme as well, and they both realize not only that they work well together, but that they have mutual respect, and definite admiration, and (swoon) attraction for each other that was so well drawn.
Gorgeously detailed steam punk world and elements that make this fantastical novel so engrossing and fun to read! Perfect newest addition to this series!
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. My opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Connie.
341 reviews16 followers
September 5, 2020
I don’t usually read much of the steampunk or paranormal genres, but this series that combines the two is so creative and clever; they are hard to resist! They also happen to be fairytale retellings, and it’s fun to watch for how the author adds in recognizable elements from the beloved Disney cartoons. This world Nancy Campbell Allen has created is both imaginative and compelling.

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts is the fourth in this series and is the Cinderella retelling. The story follows Emmeline and Oliver, who start out rather antagonistic toward each other, as their methods for activating change for an important social cause clash. As circumstances throw them together, they must learn to work together and trust each other. This is full of adventure, suspense, and romance. It is an enjoyable, fun read and is hard to put down.
3.5 stars
Profile Image for Rachelle.
Author 44 books766 followers
August 26, 2020
Is anyone else sick of this coronavirus and quarantine/social distancing? Sometimes I feel like a vampire who has to hide away from the living. If you’ve been feeling that way you should definitely read Nancy Campbell Allen’s latest steampunk Victorian romance. Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts is an incredibly unique spin on the Cinderella story that takes us back to the feisty Emme O’Shea and her fight to defend predatory shifters. Yep, in this book vampires and werewolves can be good people too.

Oliver Reed also makes a reappearance acting as Emme’s bodyguard. This assignment puts two enemies together, but in a fun twist, their feelings start to change. You’ll have to read the book to find out if they can make it out alive and maybe more than friends.
Profile Image for Jess (BookObsessedJess).
183 reviews28 followers
September 5, 2020
A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.
Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?


I'm not gunna lie, I was slightly disappointed. I LOOOOVE the enemies-to-lovers trope. LOVE IT. Like, if every book could be that, I would read it. When the book turns them to love halfway through though? It's a bit sad for me. All of the anticipation and will-they-won't-they and angsty fighting all dissipates.

The Cinderella retelling was interesting, but felt a little lackluster. I knew who was causing the problems practically as soon as the character was mentioned. Not surprising really, since it was following a pattern and a story already so well known that we could all recite it by heart by now.

Disclaimer : I do NOT like vampires. Shapeshifters? Yes. But vampires always remind me of the shiny Twilight books - which I have proudly, never read. This is no offense to those who do enjoy them, they just aren't my speed. (From what I've read about them the story promotes abuse as well, which is another NOOOO in my book.) Even the bare mention of them in this book reminded me of that gif of Robert Pattinson shining like a diamond in the sun. Not that the mention in this book was even remotely similar, apparently it is referred to as a venom, almost snake-like. Which was kind of interesting TBH.

Anywayyyyyys. Brass Carriages did entertain me, it legit only took me 2.5 hours to read and I didn't put it down the whole time.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing group for sending me an ARC of this book!

September 8, 2020
Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. 

 Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts caught my attention because of the Cinderella retelling and being a steampunk. I thought that was going to be an interesting combination. While this is a 4th book in a series these are more meant as companions, each book focusing on another character and couple. They should be able to be read as standalones. But at the end I was left feeling a little dissapointed. 

What dissapointed me the most was the cinderella retelling aspect. There are some things clumsily and obviously inserted like an annoying step parent and step sibling. But also losing a shoe at the very end. But other than that there is no correlation to Cinderella. Emme has her own place in the world and certainly isn't letting herself be put down by her step family. Plus she has a lot of people around her who care about her. Within this steampunk world a lot could have been done with this retelling but it wasn't. 

The romance was also set down as an enemies to lovers romance but that wasn't really it either. Emme might have called the detective her enemy but nothing on the page showed that at all. He got in her way because of his profession sometimes, because he did his job, but that was it. And during thi book there was no true animosity between them. In fact, they fell for each other pretty quickly. I did like their romance beyond that. They work well together. 

As far as this being able to be read as a standalone, that is true. However I think I'd still say to read them in order just because I didn't get some of the underlying relationships between the characters that I think were mc's in previous books. Just for that background. And maybe it would also explain why Emme is THE spokesperson for shifters while not being one herself and having rarely any shifters near her. Because that was eye brow raising to say the least. 

Other than that the story was mostly entertaining as a romance. Oliver and Emme do work together well as a couple and as characters they are good to follow. The family and friends they have found around themselves gave me warm feelings. 

All in all a good steampunk romance to read as long as you don't have too high expectations of the cinderella retelling.
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