Are There Lesbians? Yes
Imogene, our diabolical ingénue (good at maths and in want of corruption) joins a local vampire hive and falls in love with a certain reluctant inventor.
I have needed a lesbian romantic comedy for ages and I finally got one so cute and romantic I’m pretty sure it has given me diabetes. It was a good thing that I read it at home because I am reasonably sure that I squealed (squealed people) four or eleven times.
Romancing the Inventor can be read without any prior knowledge of Gail Carriger’s steampunk world, but it helps if you have read either The Parasol Protectorate or Finishing School as there are a few appearances from beloved characters (aside from the titular inventor, Genevieve Lefoux, my favourite is, perhaps, the wicker chicken). There is also a cameo from Alexia, in full match maker mode and who is delightfully confirmed as bi, something I’ve been trying to work out since Changeless. Being a novella, Romancing the Inventor is a short read and I finished it in a day. It is self-contained and is the perfect length for what it is, as I was left neither exhausted nor unsatisfied in any way, shape or form.
I found Imogene to be one of my favourite Carriger leading ladies, if not now my favourite. Her only character flaw is that she genuinely seems to like maths, something I can’t quite wrap my head around. Nonetheless, I always appreciate women in science and other areas deemed to be “masculine”. Such an interest also allows for genuine feeling to develop between Imogene and Genevieve based on mutual interests and professional regard which is always a good basis for romantic relationships.
This story marks the beginning of the Supernatural Society novellas, a series which, to all intents and purposes, looks as if it is going to focus on LGBTQ+ relationships. Carriger has always been good about inclusion in her stories so it is encouraging to see her devote a whole mini-series to Queer romance. I hope that they are all as enjoyable as this first one. I also hope that this includes beloved characters from Carriger’s previous novels as well as new characters created just for this series, although cameos are as always, definitely welcome. The world that has been built up for these characters just gets more and more interesting the more we learn. For example, while previously there has not been much real concern over the legality of Victorian LGBTQ+ relationships within the canon, Romancing the Inventor shows us that there is a very historically accurate view of such things as far as regular people are concerned, it is just that for the Supernatural set and those associated with them, there is a certain amount of leeway or “looking the other way”. It is details like this which I appreciate knowing in my fiction. Thus I am very
excited to see how this series will continue.
Romancing the Inventor has set the tone for a whole series with its sometimes light and fluffy, sometimes rather serious, and always tongue-in-cheek, storytelling. It has also really raised my expectations for Queer romantic comedy and having been given a taste I would like plenty more please.