February 13, 2013

Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. ExleyCara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently. London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father – sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty’s Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti’s Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara’s search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

Kindle| Nook


ISBN #: 9781620071786/9781620071793
February 2013
Curiosity Quills Press
284 Pages
Mystery/New Adult/Steampunk
Rating: 5 Cups

Cara Devon has returned to London to settle her father’s affairs and find his hidden treasures. She has no love for her dead father, in fact, she despises him. Her biggest goal is rent out his house, find his treasures, find someone to sell them for her, and then get back to her life.

Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is the man who thinks he can send a couple of thugs to get the book that has the clues to where to find Cara’s treasures. He also happens to be a criminal, though he will never be arrested since he is very powerful and part of the aristocracy. He is also the man who wants Cara’s battered heart and who is intrigued by her strengths and personality.

When Cara returns to her father’s home to find the book that has all the clues for where to find his treasures, including the one named Nefertiti’s Heart, she wants nothing more than find it and leave. Staying in her father’s home for more than a few moments sickens her because of what happened there when she was fourteen. The house brings memories of beatings by her father, and being traded for a treasure to a madman and rape at the hands of the same madman. She wants nothing to do with her former life or the aristocrats who now shun her for the rape that was not her fault. When two men break into her father’s house looking for the book of clues to the treasures, Cara drives them off with her gun, bringing herself to the attention of the well known London crime lord Viscount Nathaniel Lyons. Nathaniel slowly draws Cara out of herself, and unlike the rest of the ton, he does not shun her for what happened to her as a child. Cara however, is reluctant to trust him. As if this was not enough, young aristocratic woman are being murdered, and it is not long before the police hone in Cara. One constable in particular is convinced that Cara is the key to solving the mystery of who is killing the young women. When the killer sets his eyes on Cara, will Nathaniel get there in time to save her? Will they find Nefertiti’s heart? Finally, is there more to the treasures than meets the eye?

Yowsa! What an absolutely fantastic, wonderful book. I cannot say enough good things about Nefertiti’s Heart, A.W. Exley has written an absolute masterpiece in my humble opinion. I have not read many steampunk books, but if this is even a fraction of the type of writing that is available in this genre I will definitely be reading more. The world building is stellar, the characters deep, emotional, and above all realistic. This may be a world set in an alternate universe, and timeline but it is such a well drawn universe that felt as though I had stepped into a world that truly exists. I kept expecting to look out the window and see people in Victorian dress and steam powered cars. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and discovered I was still on the bus riding home from work! The love story within this book is very powerful, and only one of the reasons I found myself reading the story cover to cover a second time. If you never pick up another book this year, and you love deeply emotional love stories coupled with alternate universes, and a mystery, then I urge you to pick up Nefertiti’s Heart, you won’t be sorry!


Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More