Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

During ALA Annual in New Orleans I visited the HarlequinTeen booth to seek new romances for my mature eighth grade girls. When I was in middle school, I was reading my mother’s Harlequin Romances and  I wondered what the trend had veered toward.

Imagine my surprise when they asked me if I preferred my romances as steampunk, paranormal, historical, etc. Steampunk? I didn’t even know that word existed.

Harlequin had certainly diversified over the years. Contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, historical and romance stories for teens were all available on the site I took one of their steampunk titles (The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross) and dived in.

Yesterday I wrote about what steampunk is. Today, I want to tell you about this particular title.

Have you heard of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? How about X-men? Well, author Kady Cross set out to write this novel without knowing that was the style she had chosen. She simply wanted to write “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X-men”. Her editor Krista Stroever is the one who labeled it steampunk for her. Personally I wonder if Kady Cross knew the term herself.

Set in 1897 England, The Girl in the Steel Corset refers to main character Finley Jayne – a sweet girl who seems to have a dark “thing” inside her. When she is attacked by her employer’s son (a lord), this thing enables her to survive and fight back.

Terrified Finley escapes into the streets and is rescued by Griffin King and his friends – all of whom share some unusual abilities. While Finley struggles with her light and dark sides, her new friends need her abilities in their fight against the diabolical Machinist.

The Girl in the Steel Corset will appeal particularly to those loving a good royal cameo and tangled love lives. I liked the taste of darkness we dance with throughout this novel. The ending definitely prepares us for the next adventure. I’m excited. In fact, I think I’ll make my own notes on what I predict to happen in the sequel and I’ll open them again after the next title comes out. I wonder how fast Kady Cross (aka Kathryn Smith) can write?

If you are looking for a wonderfully fun romp through an alternate history set in England with technology and romance strewn throughout, try The Girl in the Steel Corset.


  1. Corset Lover says:

    Thanks for this review Diane, I enjoyed the book and like yourself wonder when the sequel will be coming out, looking forward to it.

    Thanks again