I was given a review copy of this lovely, amusing and affecting work many months ago, and just now got around to writing the deserved review (at Amazon). Which I reprint below, just because I like the story so much:
Let me try to be telegraphic:
Nelson’s tale is written in a voice that rings surprisingly true to the (shadow) 19th Century’s own voice: language, metaphor, idiom and framing are all spot-on for a suppressed Twain tale from a little-known literary magazine Editor’s secret papers, discovered in a shuttered attic lap desk among a firebrat-infested stack of ledgers and correspondence. This in itself is a fun and lovely act of artistry; you can’t just talk “old-fashionedy” and get away with it. This is words done good, and every one.
The slipstream, steampunk, and otherwise fantastical elements are no more or less jarring than those we muddle ourselves through every day out here—no here, on the three-dimensional side of the screen, in daily life. What happens to our narrator and cunningly perceptive protagonist and the town they live in (all poised at the edges of their respective transitional cliffs) is no more science-fictional than the phantom vibrations I get in my leg when I have no phone, or the habit I’ve gained of tapping words on a paper page expecting to see a definition.
And this, most of all and with no little risk of seeming provincial to some more worldly reader: This is a story about Americans and the awful wonderful thing we’ve accidentally done to one another and the rest of you, liberally mixed against our types’ historical preferences, rebelling against and egging on the emergent change that arises from that mixing, and in our very particular ways watching in wonder as entire worlds find ways to fit snugly inside a single story together.
By which of course I mean your story and mine.
So: Get this, read this, recommend it.