YAPC would like to welcome Madeleine D’Este to the blog today. She is here to share an except and some info about her book Evangeline and the Alchemist. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go get a copy for two!
In 1882, “Marvellous” Melbourne was flush with gold-rush cash and the British Empire’s second biggest city.
Evangeline, a seventeen year old reformed urchin and acrobat, is settling into a new comfortable life in Melbourne with her long lost father, Professor Caldicott. But learning to be a lady is awfully dull. Then one day, the police arrive, seeking the Professor’s expertise in catching an Alchemist.
Is this a chance for Evangeline to test out her new invention and save the day? With regular breaks for tea and cream buns, of course.
Evangeline & the Alchemist is a steampunk mystery-adventure novella and the first in The Antics of Evangeline series.
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It all started with a rat-a-tat-tat on the Professor’s laboratory-workshop door. Evangeline and the Professor looked up from their inventing to see Miss Plockton in the doorway.
“Chief Inspector Pensnett ta see you, sir?” she said.
Evangeline perked up on her stool. A policeman here at 56 Collins Street? Something exciting was surely about to happen.
“Ah, yes. I plum forgot.”
Evangeline’s father stopped adjusting his new, improved auto-chariot and walked over to the wooden bench, placing his trusty brass screwdriver with the ivory handle down beside neat stacks of brass cogs, wheels and pins. Her father, Professor Montague Caldicott, the pre-eminent horological-engineer in all the Colonies, smoothed down his humongous moustache with his real hand.
“Your lesson is over for today, m’dear. Follow Miss Plockton upstairs and continue with your embroidery.”
“But Father…” Evangeline groaned. “I could be of some assistance.”
“Police matters are not for the ears of impressionable young ladies. All those dead bodies and smugglers and swarthy criminals. Far too sordid.”
“I never get to do anything interesting,” Evangeline grumbled as she stowed away her rosewood-handled screwdriver in the pocket of her dress, along with a handful of brass pins. The smaller and more delicate screwdriver was a recent gift from her father, an encouragement to pursue her own inventions.
Evangeline’s plain bottle-green day dress, buttoned to the neck, was not the latest fashion but it was better than she had ever imagined in her previous life on the grey foggy streets of London, when her toes poked through holes in her boots. Cold was something she had yet to worry about since she arrived three months ago on the dirigible from Singapore. She wondered whether Melbourne could be anything less than sweltering.
The Professor shooed Evangeline and Miss Plockton from the laboratory-workshop, before carefully locking the door behind him.
There was a time when a visit from the police would have frightened Evangeline. She would have hurried to hide her loot, but not today. Today she was a reformed character, setting aside her urchin ways and learning to be a proper young lady. But being good all the time was a bit dull.
About the Author: Growing up in Tasmania, Madeleine now lives in inner city Melbourne surrounded by books. After studying law (and never practising) and travelling the world, Madeleine now lives a double life, immersed in the corporate world by day and writing female-led science fiction by night.
When not writing, Madeleine enjoys podcasts, knitting, forteana, indie films, kettle bells and long blacks.
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