After the fantastic Wicked As They Come, I was desperate to read any little morsel from the is brilliantly constructed world. As luck would have it, I didn’t have to wait till next year for the next full length novel as with the much appreciated help from the author and her publicist (many thanks to both by the way) I managed to get a copy of this little novella. (This is all due to the fact that the rights haven’t been sold in Britain….. yet! *gives evil eye to UK publishers*).
Anyhoo, back to the story at hand. We open our tale in the wonderful world of Bludmen, bunnies and other such fantastical creatures. Our hero and heroine from the previous novel have settled into a domestic bliss. Though the things are not as thriving as they were before due to events that happened in Wicked As They Come, Tish and Criminy are far from the breadline.
That being said, when the mysterious Madam Morpho turns up at their door, with an act that is so spectacular it does cause some suspicion, Criminy is all but ready to send her packing; due to the fact he thinks that trouble is hot on her tail. It is only the clairvoyant Tish who stops him.
And so the tale switches to this new addition to the circus and the equally mysterious Mr Murdoch, the faceless genious of the group. He was mentioned as being behind all the wonderful clockwork animals that protect and preform in the show. In this story we get to know a lot more about him, through the blossoming romance between these two very secretive people.
Dawson really does know how to pull together a fantastic romantic tale, without having it be a repetition of her previous work. Both Madam Murpho and Mr Murdoch are as far away from Tish and Criminy could be. Madam Murpho and Mr Murdoch are both trying to hide from their demons, though it seems their demons are intent on seeking them out.
It is through at first their acquaintance, then their friendship and finally their partnership that both manage to vanquish them and you can start to see them building their life. As characters, both have flaws, which makes them even more endearing.
Madam Murpho, we find out, has not had the easiest of lives. Neglected by her father, bullied by her peers at the university and then taken advantage of by her professor, Madam Murpho has every right to be wary of Mr Murdoch. Her butterflies, which had been thought to be extinct for years, are her way of getting out of that dreary life. Madam Morpho stole these specimens to stop her professor from exploiting their magic. She hopes that by joining the circus, she can escape without being noticed, yet fate seems to deal her a cruel blow when the circus won’t move on for a few days.
Mr Murdoch was the man behind the curtain. A genius with the mechanical creatures, but a recluse to his entire fellow circus colleagues. At first he comes off as aloof and very hard hearted, yet we see the ice melt around his heart with the arrival of Madam Murpho.
Other reviewers have commented on the fact that there is very little action in this book. That may be true, but the story being told is no less enjoyable to read. This is a tale with so much heart in it. There is just as much at stake with Criminy harboring the fugitive, Madam Morpho than when Tish and Criminy went looking for the missing locket in Wicked As They Come.
Again, Dawsom pulls off an impressive tale that will have you laughing one minute (hello there bludbadgers), fearful the next and swallowing the large lump in your throat at the tenderness and sweetness of Madam Morpho and Mr Murdochs love.
Dawson is fast becoming a favourite author of mine. She manages to pull a tale out of the hat that is more than just a deleted scene. The tapestry of her world is detailed to the point you can see it clearly in your mind. April still seems a long while to wait for the next full length book in the series, but from the crumbs of clues scattered in this book, Wicked As She Wants looks to be just as good.
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