Tina Connolly
Ironskin Cover

Women of Genre Fiction - Book 8


Women of Genre Fiction – Book 8

Ironskin – Tina Connolly

This book is a gothic romance novel with magic thrown in. I read a few gothic romances as a preteen and didn't really like the genre much. They were the same formula – a pretty girl down on her luck finds some reason to be at a creepy house with a handsome and/or charismatic man with whom she falls in love during a scary adventure. This book loosely fits the formula.

Jane, a beautiful woman afflicted with a fey (magical) disfigurement, arrives at a dark mansion that has been partially destroyed by a war with fey beings to seek employment with the mysterious Edward as a governess for the unruly and fey affected daughter, Dorie. Jane falls in love with Edward, even though she has little interaction with Edward. Teaching Dorie and getting almost nowhere takes up a large part of the book. Things happen quickly in the last quarter of the book. The reader finds out more about the fairy beings, what Edward actually does for a living and why he does it, and more about the Great War. All of this could have been fleshed out earlier in the book and, had it been, would have made a much more interesting story.

Jane comes out of "poor little me" mode in the last quarter of the book and finally does something, but what she does makes me like her as a character even less. I found little to like in Edward. Dorie was an interesting character, but it took three-quarters of the book to make her so. The most interesting character was the Dwarven butler, Poule. But, like the other characters in the book, she wasn't developed very well. With its slow plot and poor character development, I wonder how this book was short listed for the Nebula Award.