Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Engineer and assistant inventor,Maximilian Grun is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.
When promising young inventor and mathematician,Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations” their very lives!
Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.
But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat Max.
Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?When a ghastly lab accident blows a respected inventor away, his loyal assistant must devise a way to bridge the gap between the planes of existence to reunite them in life and in love.
I was not sure what to expect from Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant. The premise was intriguing and the author was completely new to me. Two things I liked. Plus it was historical, another bonus. The story turned out to be so much more than I ever imagined. It was a wonderful historical novel, rich in elements from that era. It was a paranormal tale, filled with inventive touches real and imagined. The author’s note where Grant’s give’s a nod to the inspirations behind the story should not be missed. Finally, its a sweet, touching romance, still in keeping with the era, noting that such same gender love is forbidden, likely to lead to imprisonment and death. And on every level that it explores and incorporates into the story, it works beautifully.
The story starts off in Germany, with a young apprentice and his older mentor working on a special invention and things go very badly. We follow the the young man’s recovery through various scary scenes and months which I won’t spoil here. They are of high importance in making the character of Maximilian Grun feel authentic, as both a scientist and as a damaged man. We get the full history on Max…his troubles, his pain, everything. Even his naivete’. And Grant surrounds him in the elements of the era, from laws to major points in the history timeline.
When the story lands in Canada, and the household of Dr. Jasper Hamilton and his forward thinking sister, Octavia, I was throughly entranced. Then became even more so. Dr. Jasper was already an inventor who along with his trouser-wearing sister (and house servants/assistants) had filled his house with his inventions from toasters (that burnt toast if you weren’t careful) to washer tubs for washing clothes. A marvel indeed and based on inventions present at the time. Octavia, a widow, is a bright, sparkling presence, whose personality leaps off the pages alongside that of her brother and their other household occupants (cat included). Really, be prepared to fall in love with this entire household.
How Max comes to find employment and a home here with Jasper and Octavia is a neat twist of tale and villain. Yes, the author has engineered a believable villain for this story. His actions are both plausible and reprehensible, thoughtless and based on self gain, no matter the cost. So you get a layered and understandable man to cringe at his every appearance. Its wonderful.
There is also the paranormal element here, ghosts, another plane of existence to explore. Its deliciously done. Storm Grant is clearly having fun here, from the name of the device (see the author’s notes again) to the racket, explosions, and results that occur). Most are mind boggling, all are marvelous and great for the story. I enjoyed each and every scene, right up to and including the unexpected final one.
I often watch a series here called The Artful Detective. I believe the author refers to the same show as the Murdoch Mysteries in her notes. A Canadian detective in the 1900’s who uses science (often ahead of his time) and inventions to solve crime. It was one of the inspirations behind the story as both incorporate actual history and real inventions into their storylines. Both the series (I bet the name difference is due to the country where it airs) and this story are charmers.
Whether you are a fan of historical novels, this is one story you won’t want to miss out on. Its got a little bit of something for everyone. But mostly? Its just plain wonderful. I highly recommend Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant. Now I need to seek out and read other books by this author. What a treat. And while you’re at it check out The Artful Detective as well.
Cover art by Deana Jamroz. I liked this cover. A bit old timey true in keeping with the paperback mysteries and dime novels.
MLR Press LLC
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by MLR Press, LLC