Book Review: Nefertiti’s Heart by A. W. Exley

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: Nefertiti’s Heart by A. W. ExleyNefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley
Series: Artifact Hunters #1
Published by Curiosity Quills on June 2014
Genres: Adult, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Steampunk, Suspense
Pages: 286
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Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

1861. Cara has a simple mission in London – finalise her father’s estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.

Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara’s demons, or could he lay them to rest?

Self-preservation fuels Cara’s search for the gem known as Nefertiti’s Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.

So Nefertiti’s Heart is mostly a romance novel masquerading as a serious steampunk thriller, but that didn’t make it any less fun. I’m always up for a good steampunk romance adventure, and Nefertiti’s Heart certainly delivered.

Cara Devon’s life has been anything but sunny. Horribly abused at a young age, she finds intimacy of any kind terrifying and negative. Enter Nathaniel Trent, a criminal of noble birth (and conveniently the most gorgeous, sought after noble in London) who is interested in helping her. Cara is on a mission to find her deceased father’s priceless artifacts, and Nate offers to help her for an interesting price.

And then the most eligible young ladies of London start showing up murdered in the same strange, and gruesome way. Cara believes the murders are related to a specific artifact, and she and Nate race to find it before any other women are killed.

So, like I said, this is predominantly a romance, but there’s a lot of interesting steampunk elements (airships! metal horses! corset-and-pants ensembles!), and Cara piecing together the clues about the murders was interesting. While Nate does come to Cara’s rescue often, I didn’t feel that Cara was weak and incapable of taking care of herself. I don’t mind having the romantic interest around and willing to help protect the woman he’s interested in; even if he does “save” her in certain situations, it didn’t make Cara seem like a weak character. In fact, she seemed rather strong to me, since she’s not only dealing with people coming after, but she’s dealing with a horribly abusive past as well.

The abuse in Nefertiti’s Heart is serious; like, beaten and raped serious. I don’t know how realistic the way she dealt with it was, but that’s a big part of the beginning of Cara and Nate’s relationship. I really liked seeing the two of them working out these issues together. I can’t wait to see them working more closely together in the future on the many mysteries surrounding the artifacts, not only focusing on their relationship (although that was pretty great as well).

We bounce between Cara’s/Nate’s POV and a police inspector, which was an interesting shift from the romance dominance of our main couple. The police gave a different view of the crimes happening, giving us more details than maybe you see from Cara, though Cara knows different facts than the police do; all in all it was an interesting choice to show us the police POV as well.

The mystery/twist was good, and not to mention all kinds of creepy; I wasn’t expecting it. Although, again, I’m not usually thinking ahead like that, but I was pleased with the way everything unraveled. I can’t wait to see what zany artifact is uncovered next to wreak havoc on London.

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of steampunk romances, you’ll enjoy this delicious romp with a touch of mystery. Cara and Nate are a delightful and steamy couple that I can’t wait to get more of! Did I mention it’s free on Amazon/Barnes and Noble?

Thank you Curiosity Quills for sending me this book for review!

Content: recommended for 18+

Sex: graphic

Violence: rape, physical abuse, serial killer creepiness/violence/murder

4 Stars

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