May 2012

An odd girl’s unusual adventure

By Maureen Doyle McQuerry
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Lena’s hands have a third knuckle and her feet are too long. Her grandmother thinks she’s inherited these traits from her absent goblin father, one of the Peculiars relegated to half-citizenship in a mythical land reminiscent of late-19th-century England. Shortly after her 18th birthday, Lena leaves home on a quest to find her father and learn the truth about her heritage.

Her destination is Scree, a land of mining communities populated by opportunists, criminals and—if rumor is correct—Peculiars. Traveling on a Victorian passenger train, she meets Jimson Quiggley, a young man on his way to the seaport town of Knob Knoster to take a job curating the magnificent library at Zephyr House, a mansion owned by the mysterious Mr. Beasley. When circumstances force Lena to stop for a time in Knob Knoster, Jimson helps her find work and lodging at Zephyr House as well.

The mansion and its occupants intrigue the curious Lena. What was that whistle she heard in the hall at night? What secret projects might Mr. Beasley, with his interests in mechanical invention and medicine, be hiding in the house? Did that figure she caught a glimpse of just now truly have . . . wings? As Lena explores the mysteries of Zephyr House and ponders what connections they might have to her own questions, a town marshal is equally eager for this knowledge for purposes of his own.

The Peculiars combines a teenage girl’s search for her identity with a setting that merges the genres of fantasy, gothic and steampunk. A light romance, a bit of adventure and the author’s inclusion of historical notes complete this delightful offering.

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The Peculiars

The Peculiars

By Maureen Doyle McQuerry
ISBN 9781419701788

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