Strip away its steampunk spectacle and alternate history, and Gail Carriger’s tidy five-novel Parasol Protectorate series about polite sensitivities amid utter chaos is almost as retro-rooted in its charms as its 1890s London setting. That’s because its finale, Timeless, and four predecessors play like some earlier witty comedies of manners among a polite set beset by supernaturalism.
I’m speaking of1930s novels by Thorne Smith, whose ghost-haunted Topper became a popular 1937 screwball comedy starring Cary Grant.
Today, Smith’s Topper has morphed into Carriger’s Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding upper crust Londoner who falls in with a sexy werewolf in a stew of romantic-adventure plots broiling with vampires, “preternaturals” (you’ll learn all this), acceptance of such creatures in British society (the alternate history part) and, not to forget, the appallingly poor-taste hats worn by Alexia’s clueless BFF, Ivy — whose role twists and turns quite a bit in Timeless. (more…)