Ever since finding Ashley through the powers of the internet I've had more support and love regarding my writing work than ever before. She's the reason I keep writing, okay so she's one of the reasons, I freaking love to write okay, and she's introduced me to some amaing people and opportunities. Like being able to read her new anthology, with her and seven other beautiful and talented ladies, so today I review her short story from It Begins Here.
In the award-winning steampunk universe of Ashley R. Carlson's The Charismatics, the rich live in floating cities over the achingly poor, flaunting their wealth constantly. Merry Coyne is one such pauper in the frozen landscape of Shinery, caring for her elderly parents and toiling into the night as a seamstress, where the shop owner craves more than just her needlepoint skills. On one particularly dreary day, news spreads faster than Shinery's dwindling food deliveries: the wealthy Duchess Ambrosia La Marck will hold a drawing for two handmaidens, a lucrative position that promises stability for Merry's family. In order for her to enter however, Merry must bargain with the only currencies she has: her beauty...and her bravery.
A Beauty's Bargain is a standalone short story perfect for those who wish to explore The Charismatics' world and its key players, before the rebellion has begun.
If you've read The Charismatics then this short story is perfect for you, while you may not fully understand the story without reading Ashley's debut novel this definitely can be read by itself. This story throws all sorts of emotion at you and honestly it's one of the things I love about it. There are some things, that I will not say, are just horrendous but it also adds to the story.
I love the simpleness of Ashley's cover designs. Classy, elegant and interesting without a need for any fancy images. I decided to read this book, not only because Ashley asked me to but because I loved the Charismatics so much that I wanted more from that world.
Merry is a character who you'll grow to love and understand throughout the story and it's so wonderfully written it's almost like you're watching it like a movie. It will leave you wanting more and I hope Ashley writes more. I'd definitely recommend this as more of a companion novel but if you're unsure if The Charismatic's is for you, grab a free copy of a beauty's bargain by signing up to Ashley's newsletter and test it out.
Photos (c) Canva, Goodreads
Blurb (c) Goodreads