Dearly Departed Lia Habel Book Review

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel is a debut that has knocked me dead. Set in an interesting, steampunk world where inhabitants follow Victorian conventions but have modern day technology, characters Nora and Bram live in an age where people reanimate after death due to the Laz virus. Dearly Departed is a sprawling read with a fantastic cast of characters and a fast moving plot line.

Dearly Departed Lia Habel Book Cover

Dearly Departed

Dearly Departed is a novel told from multiple first person perspectives. Each chapter follows a different point of view — from either the two main characters – Nora Dearly and Bram, who is one of the Dead or from one of the minor characters such as Nora’s best friend Pam Roe or Nora’s father Victor.  I thought the switching of perspectives helped to keep the story fresh. Yet, there were certain perspectives I could not wait to return to — namely Pam, Nora and Bram’s.

Nora and Bram’s romance is compelling. It starts with a kidnapping and continues to develop with honesty and a slow build up of trust. There is not any sort of instant love between the two — but rather feelings that earned. The pay off is wonderful and certainly sends the swoon.

Dearly Departed’s plot explores themes of class and gender. The society of New London treats females as decoration. Women like Nora and Pamela long to be something more and each showcases talent in unladylike areas such as marksmanship and archery. With the zombie apocalypse, the two are able to rise beyond their gender expectations. Further, there are rigid class boundaries in Dearly Departed, much like in Victorian society. Plus, there are some of the Dead who are actually thinking beings and not frenzied to the point of eating humans -yet they must fight to be treated as people.

Dearly Departed is a meandering read, best suited to readers who are patient and interested in a zombie book that essentially goes beyond feeding frenzies and examines what it means to be alive, to be human. If this is your cuppa, I highly recommend Lia Habel’s debut story of star crossed lovers.

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.

Other reviews of Dearly Departed by Lia Habel:

Paranormal Indulgence – “Subtly addictive, full of booming impact, and adventurous action

Red House Books – “A zombie story unlike any other.”

The Grown Up YA – “Be warned: this book is probably not for everyone

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I loved Pam so much-definitely my favorite perspective among the many (too many IMO-we should have just stuck to the three kids). Can’t wait for the sequel!

  2. I’m not usually a steampunk fan but I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I’m definitely going to read it!

  3. This one looks great! I have it in my TBR pile as well!

  4. Lots of zombie books being reviewed lately (trend?) and I kinda want to read them all. Not sure this is a good thing. 😀 Thanks for the review. I TBR’d it!

  5. I’m really loving the names of the characters; they’re very Victorian (Victor like Victor Frankenstein; Bram like Bram Stoker; Pamela like the title character from Samuel Richardson’s novel). My nerd lit senses are tingling.

  6. I’ve been iffy to get this one, because I have seen mixed reviews. I adore this cover. I like anything with zombies so this is still on my list of to read someday when I get my slow ass around to it.

    love slow build relationships, so that’s promising. the love at first sight crap is getting old. :o)

  7. I totally agree, it’s a pretty slow read. I definitely wish there was more action involved, but I”m really looking forward to reading the next one! Great review, AS ALWAYS.

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  8. I purchased this in December but haven’t had the chance to get to it. I’m glad to see such a positive review because I’m really looking forward to it. Plus, how amazing is that cover?

    • Right? The cover is totally gorgeous and pretty and pink and I love it.

      I hope you really like Dearly Departed, it’s not the book for everyone, but it is pretty decent.

  9. A zombie book with an intelligent spin – sounds like a book I’d be interested in. Plus the cover definitely caught my eye!

  10. I loved Dearly, Departed! I was really hesitant since steampunk scares me, but when a few bloggers insisted that I read I figured “what the hey, at least it has zombies.” But I fell completely in love with all aspects of the book. I need to get caught up on library books and ARCs so I can read the sequel which is patiently awaiting me in my Netgalley queue.

  11. I loved this book though I didn’t think I would like a “zombie romance”. I have the sequel for review and can’t wait to read it.

  12. I’m not surprised you liked this one, as it is totally your sort of thing…with a sassy heroine and lots of humor. I really liked it too. The multiple perspectives do lag a bit in some characters; it’s really difficult to do mutliple POV really well.

    Wasn’t wholly sold on the zombie romance, but I wasn’t entirely grossed out so I’m calling that a win on Habel’s part.

    Really, though, I’m totally in support of any novel where the heroine takes out a zombie with a parasol. Girl power!