Allison: Gilded Lily | Delphine Dryden | Book Review

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Allison: Gilded Lily | Delphine Dryden | Book ReviewGilded Lily by Delphine Dryden
Published by Penguin on 2014-07-01
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 304

HIDDEN IDENTITIES, SCANDALOUS SECRETS... DEADLY ATTRACTION. Frederique Murcheson’s introduction into society hasn’t gone smoothly—some would even call it a disaster. Only Freddie considers her debut a success. Her scheme to become a makesmith has gone off flawlessly. The only thing that could upset her plans now would be if someone discovered that brilliant tinker Fred Merchant is, in fact, a lady in disguise. Wooing a spoiled heiress is not exactly Barnabas Smith-Grenville’s idea of high espionage. However, considering his brother disappeared on the job, supposedly into the most iniquitous of opium dens, he cannot expect much better. At least the assignment will afford him time to search for his brother, whom he suspects is in spy-related trouble rather than a drug-addled haze. But when Freddie proves to be both irresistible and the key to the answers he seeks, Barnabas finds himself not only entwined in a scandalous mystery involving lethal submersibles and deranged dirigibles, but also in a dangerous game of the heart...

Originally when I requested to read Gilded Lily by Delphine Dryden on Netgalley, I was admittedly unaware that it was part of a series called Steam and Seduction. Luckily for me, it is more of a companion novel, and I didn’t necessarily need to know all of the details in order to understand what was going on. I’m not going to say that it wouldn’t have been useful to know more of the details going into the story but regardless I was still able to enjoy what I was reading, and easily found myself captivated by the new premise which I found myself reading about.

The main character of Gilded Lily is named Frederique Murcheson. She prefers to go by Freddie, and she also prefers her disguises of trousers and bandages to her daily life in fashionable dresses. She is the daughter of a wealthy man who would prefer his daughter to be docile and compliant which is the exact opposite of what Freddie is. She strives for adventure. She wants to right wrongs, and to find answers to all the burning questions that she has. Especially when those questions are cause because of major secret … secrets that she knows that her father is keeping. She’s a determined individual who will not let anything stop her from getting to the truth.

This is where Barnabas Smith-Grenville comes in. Freddie’s father hires him to keep tails on his daughter and before he knows it Barnabas finds himself wrapped up in Freddie’s secret world. Of course, he has a few secrets of his own. Like the only reason that he took the job was to find information about his older brother Phineas who used to work for the Murcheson family but disappeared. Everyone else thinks that Phineas fell victim to an opium addiction but Barnabas refuses to believe it and knows that there is more going on than meets the eye. He is determined in his own right but also a little bit daft at times. Yet, he really manages to step up to the plate when danger is involved, and I found not only did I like that but so did Freddie.

What kind of danger is involved? Well, let’s just say it involves submarines, drugs, earth quakes, and killer ocean critters. I know that sounds really confusing, and at first it kind of was but at the same time, it’s kind of intriguing at well. Gilded Lily is set in an alternate world of sorts. It’s a combination of steampunk with some modern contemporary filling in at places. It’s a world filled with danger, mystery, and intrigue. In particular, it delves into the underground of society, and the hidden worlds that live there. Everyone is looking to be top dog in this world — be it the drug smugglers, the spies, or the government — all want a piece of the political pie. Also, there is an underground sea tunnel that connects England and France in this book which I found was a really interesting idea. I mean, can you imagine?

I enjoyed the espionage and mystery of this story. I thought the author Delphine Dryden did a really nice job with the pacing of the events. I was kept on my toes because I didn’t really know what to expect from this new world. I also liked how everything was all intertwined with each other. The characters all had a path which they were meant to follow and at some point in the story their paths were meant to cross over. I did think that everything was wrapped up a bit too quickly, and I’m still kind of confused by some of the things that happened. I felt that it was kind of unresolved. Also, I found the romance to be a little bit unbalanced between the characters of Freddie and Barnabas. Even as the Gilded Lily ended there were things between them that didn’t feel totally resolved at least according to me. I just couldn’t get one-hundred percent behind them because of this.

Overall, I did seem to enjoy parts of Gilded Lily and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little bit different. Do I wish I had read the first two book of the series first? Yes and No. Like I said, I felt that this is more of a companion novel, and that I didn’t necessarily have to know what was going on in the other two in order to read and enjoy it. Yet, at the same time, it probably wouldn’t have hurt to have a little bit of background information. Maybe some of the questions that I came up with could have resolved easier. Alas, it was an easy read with fun characters, and enough mystery and intrigue to keep me on my toes and coming back for more.

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. I honestly just can’t get over the title of this one.

  2. I find it hard to enjoy a story when things aren’t resolved, but I’m glad to hear the book was mostly enjoyable. That cover is a little weird though 😛

    Fabulous review, Allison!