Evangeline and the Alchemist (2016) by Madeleine D’este is a a fun magic and Steampunk tale in gold rush era Melbourne.
Evangeline is a 17 year old woman who has recently moved to Melbourne to be with her father. Evangeline grew up in London and learnt to be streetwise there. He father who is an inventor of strange and wonderful things. He also investigates some things for the police when they are especially odd. He is approached by the police when gold items that people are buying cease to be gold soon after purchase. Alchemy is suspected, Evangeline is intrigued and sets off with her friend Mei, an Australian born daughter of Chinese immigrants to find out what has been happening.
The book is a novella and is nicely short and has good pacing. There are also a few jokes thrown in that lighten the book. It’s reminiscent of ‘The Golem and Jinni’ in placing magic and in this case some Steampunk into a historical setting and even has a touch of Doctor Who series like ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’. The characters are good and it’s all fun. The story also promises follow up novellas which I’ll look forward to.