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on 25 May 2015
Absolutely fantastic book. This author has it all: murder-mystery, romance, monsters on the moors, sadness and I'm saying no more as I don't want to give anything away. All I can confirm is that, for me, it is definitely a page turner.

I'm normally a fantasy fan, but this book falls under my second favorite category of historical British crime and it did not let me down, not one bit.

Will definitely be looking into other books by this author.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2014
My Expectations
I read a lot of Steampunk novels in the past years and based on that I have common expectations. Steampunk elements should be part of the story and no decorative parts. I like either a Victorian background or an alternate history setting. Romance is not really my cup of tea. Therefore I hoped that romance would not play an important and extended role.

The Delivery
The 270 pages are divided into 20 consecutively numbered chapters. This is quite short compared to the books I normally read. I know that quantity does not say anything about quality.

When I read the words hounds and moor, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came immediately up in my mind. But beside hound and moor there are no further similarities. Hounds of Autumn is a unique story.
The title of the book can be interpreted either as the shortest possible summary or as a synonym for Chloe and Ambrose Sullivan who both play important roles. In fact Chloe is the main character. She is young, at least 20 years younger as her husband. I will come back to that fact later.
Chloe is an extraordinary person for her time. England in 1890 means Victorian England.

"When a Victorian man and woman married, the rights of the woman were legally given over to her spouse. Under the law the married couple became one entity where the husband would represent this entity, placing him in control of all property, earnings and money. In addition to losing money and material goods to their husbands, Victorian wives became property to their husbands," [Source]

One could say women have been the slaves of her husbands.

How did middle and upper class women spent their time?

"Women's leisure activities included in large part traditional pastimes such as reading, embroidery, music, and traditional handicrafts." [Source]

Author Heather Blackwood shows her talent in many ways. Her vivid presentation of the Victorian society is excellent and matches superb with the unique and fresh main characters in in form of Chloe and Ambrose Sullivan.
Ambrose has been a good friend of Chloe's family and the marriage - including a contract - gave Chloe the opportunity to do something outrageous for a Victorian woman: to read what she wants and to invent and build mechanicals. Her latest invention is the mechanical cat name Giles which is always good for a surprise.
Ambrose admires Chloe's intelligence, straightforwardness and endurance. He defends/saves her whenever necessary. Chloe enjoys a freedom which stands in conflict with society rules. They respect and also love each other which is shown in small gestures, something your recognise when you keep an eye on long term married couples who are still in love.
Without this unorthodox marriage the story would miss a lot.

While reading this charming story - don't get me wrong, there are scenes where Heather Blackwood pulls no punches - I enjoyed the balanced delivery of information which always light your imagination and avoids information overload.
I do not want to draw the curtain over the fact that humor, superstition, sense of responsibility and fog found their appropriate place within the book.

Finally I must admit that all my educated guesses to identify the murderer before the final revelation failed. I highly appreciated that the reader most of the time does not know more than Chloe.

The Inevitable

It was exactly my cup of tea. An intelligent heroine, a most entertaining story with twist and turns, a mystical touch, an excellent description of Victorian society and a bittersweet end,

The writing style supports the story at all points. Within seconds I forgot my surroundings and followed Chloe and Ambrose Sullivan on her way to the story.

If you look for a good Steampunk book which
- delivers suitable action beyond airship battles
- denies the endless ostentation of Steampunk gadgets
- present you an extraordinary woman her tries to hold her ground in Victorian society
- ends bittersweet
- bewitch with emotion and eerily-beautiful moments

then you should give Hounds of Autumn a try.

These are my totally subjective closing words
For me Hounds of Autumn cries for a sequel starring the extraordinary and inimitable Chloe Sullivan written by the talented and convincing Heather Blackwood !!!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
I really enjoyed this book and want more from the author :)
I don't want to give to much away, I really got into this book and would love some follow ups on it, steampunk is the word for this book :D and at the moment steampunk is the in thing.
i so want Chloe's cat,
and yes i cried but also giggled and smiled,
the relationship is what every woman want's, to be loved for being you.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2014
i have never read a book by this author before but i will read more because hounds of autumn was so fantastic. i did not see the ending coming and the book kept me interested all the way through. the thought of mechanical creatures inrigues me, especially in the period the book is set and chloe`s determination to work out the killer is amazing. the wording is mesmerising and absorbing and i would reccommend it to anyone.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2013
I very much enjoyed reading this steampunk mystery. It could be described as "The Hound of the Baskervilles" meets "Lady of Devices" but that doesn't really do it justice. The engaging heroine plunges into solving a murder and I expected an exciting but lighthearted romp, which - to some extent - it is. However, as the story unfolds darker themes emerge of disillusion and pain. Very well written. Can we have a sequel?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2013
Great characters. Great story, it keeps you guessing. A very like able heroine. Definitely recommended if you like steampunk. Brilliant.
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