“Bollocks,” said Lord Maccon upon seeing who stood before him. “Miss Tarabotti. What did I do to merit a visit from you first thing in the morning? I have not even had my second cup of tea yet.”

Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster at the age of 26. She does not mind this, she considers her younger sisters silly and is glad that her mother isn’t trying to set her up at every opportunity. This is Victorian London, but not as we know it. Queen Victoria has her own department of supernatural investigators, BUR, made up of werewolves and vampires. Alexia is neither, she is soulless and has the ability to counteract the supernatural abilities of others. Not that her family know this. When a starving vampire interrupts her tea and cakes (completely ruining the treacle tart), she accidentally kills him and has to answer to Lord Maccon, alpha of the Westminster pack.

Soulless is charming and funny. It manages to poke fun at Victorian customs and urban fantasy without going over the top. There is a fantastic moment when Maccon is told to treat Alexia like s “modern British woman” which of course is completely the opposite of what would be considered modern today. He seems almost as confused by proper etiquette in polite society as we would be if transported back in time. And there’s plenty of cake.

Of course Alexia isn’t your average, swooning Victorian lady but she does feel the pressure to at least try to fit in. She’s rather bookish and likes to keep abreast of scientific advancements. She has even read about certain carnal acts in her late father’s library. It’s rather amusing when she gets to try some of them out.

Soulless is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series and I will certainly be reading more.