Book Review: Nefertiti’s Heart (Artifact Hunter 1) by A. W. Exley

NEFERTITI HEART fullsizedEver since I did my research about Egyptomania I have been dying to get my hands on some Steampunk fiction that played with this topic. When I fired up my Christmas Kindle, I found lots of great Steampunk books out there to download, but they didn’t all hold my interest. Nefertiti’s Heart was the first one I actually finished, and I certainly plan to seek out more books by A. W. Exley. It was equal parts romance and mystery, and was a fun way to pass the time.

The story centers on Cara, a woman who has been running from her past for the last seven years. When her abusive father dies under strange circumstances she is forced to return to London and deal with the estate. The police suspect foul play, but there is a larger mystery keeping them distracted. Someone has started to abduct the daughters of the elite, Cara’s former friends and peers, and all signs point to some sort of connection with Cara’s return to London. Meanwhile, she finds herself in the tangled web of a criminal kingpin, and not at all eager to leave it.

This book was a great set-up to a series. Cara’s totally awful father had devoted his whole life to hunting down artifacts and they are scattered in storage facilities and under floorboards around the city. You discover through this story that they aren’t just hunks of expensive junk; they are the key to the supernatural. It also included some great historical details, like attending one of the mummy unwrapping parties that was all the rage in the 1800s.

I don’t really seek out books that have a romantic undertone, but that won’t keep me from reading one either. Cara was raped at a young age and with her father’s approval, which makes her blossoming romance with the dashing young criminal more than just a fun aside. This book deals with one woman’s reaction to her assault, and confronting something she’d tried to bury. I thought this added interesting tension and gave a framework for Cara’s character. When it came to the actual romance part of the romance, I was left a little wanting. Perhaps it is because I don’t read that many bodice rippers, so things like beds don’t bore me, but at the time I read about the location they chose to bust through their wall ‘o’ desire all I could think was “ow.”

I look forward to reading more of the series!

Phoebe Darqueling is an aspiring novelist and blogger from Minnesota.

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