The Designs of Lord Randolph Cavanaugh

Written by Stephanie Laurens
Review by Loyd Uglow

Lord Randolph “Rand” Cavanaugh has that deuced disadvantage plaguing many second sons of the nobility—he must make his own way in the world since his elder brother inherited the title and lands. It’s 1843, and inventions are sprouting right and left in England. What better career for Rand than managing investments in some of those inventions? He is betting heavily on a prototype steam-powered carriage to be the next money-maker. But others who stand to lose if the carriage succeeds are not above sabotage. Throw into the mix the inventor William John Throgmorton’s lovely sister Felicia, brilliant in her own right, and there’s a recipe for romance and intrigue. The pressure mounts as surely as the steam in Throgmorton’s boiler, as Rand and William John, with crucial aid from Felicia, race against time to finish the invention before the big exposition, and protect it from a mysterious saboteur.

It’s good, sometimes hotly passionate, fun. The viewpoint wavers in a number of passages, and the characters’ feelings might be better shown rather than explained so much. Nevertheless, the principal characters come across as real enough, albeit with very few flaws, and they are easy to like.