I don't normally read steampunk romantic thrillers, but The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick sounded like a doozy. Lady Amanda, the female protagonist, is attending medical school and spends her spare time at home working on a device that can reverse paralysis. I wanted to know more about this woman. So I requested a sample through Instafreebie, and then purchased the book on Amazon.
Lady Amanda is the daughter of a duke, but she has no interest in the marriage market. Her goal for the last five years has been the perfecting of her neurarachnid which can theoretically replace neurons to restore movement to paralyzed limbs. Her brother Ned, the future duke, is her planned first human subject. Unfortunately, he is very self-centered. So it's hard to find him sympathetic despite the fact that his legs are paralyzed. Amanda isn't as much devoted to her brother as she is to the practice of medicine. She refuses to marry any man who won't allow her to be a physician after the wedding. Needless to say, it's difficult to find a man who will accede to these terms even in the steampunk alternate universe. Yet there is HEA in store even for the strong-willed Lady Amanda.
Another aspect of this book that interested me is the investigation of a series of gruesome murders. All the victims are gypsies. There is some gypsy culture included in the book that I appreciated. I was also delighted that gypsies were known as masters of clockwork.
Opinion on this book is divided. Some readers who love to read
steampunk that really develops the scientific side of the devices which
the protagonists invent, complain that there is too much romance in this novel. Other readers complain
that there is too much scientific detail in The Golden Spider. My objection was a failure of realism. There were medical miracles, but apparently the restored limbs needed no prolonged physical therapy. I can see how lengthy physical therapy would be problematic for the plot, but I found the failure to even mention physical therapy hard to swallow. I did think the book was an enjoyable read, but I expect to deduct a star from my rating on Goodreads.
Correction 4/1l/17-- Perhaps I was writing too many reviews at once this weekend, but I forgot to look over all my notes for this book. There was a mention of a physical therapist, but physical therapy was absent from the plot. It played no role. There were unrealistic recovery times. So my point still holds.