A Review of “Heart of the Curiosity”

Heart of the Curiosity is a gaslamp fantasy novel by H.L. Burke. It’s aimed at young adult readers, and features gadgets, intrigue, witty dialogue, and a sprinkling of romance.

One of my favorite reads of 2019, Heart of the Curiosity shines with mystery, humor, and a unique blend of whimsy. I laughed out loud at the inventive name-calling and snarky exchanges. And they were well-timed too, diffusing the heavier moments to keep the story moving along.

The mystery was easy to follow as the story unfolded and featured a few twists seamlessly interwoven into the plot. Having the family’s history as a key element to solving the puzzle added to the intrigue and enriched the feel of the characters.

And who could forget the wonderfully unexpected debut of the snail circus!

This story has the energy of a cult-classic movie with its interesting characters, engaging dialogue, and quirky story elements. Fans of H.L. Burke, gaslamp fantasy, and readers looking to try something new should check out Heart of the Curiosity.

Heart of the Curiosity from available at Amazon.

Content Guide

Romance (low-medium)
A little kissing, including a passionate kissing scene in a library witnessed by the main character.

Violence (low-medium)
Fighting and sabotage that results in two deaths and several injuries, but nothing graphic.


Language (low)
Some creative name-calling and insults, but no profanity.

Sensitive Topics (low-medium)
Veiled references to non-consensual, off-screen intimacy. Nothing detailed or specific.

About Heart of the Curiosity

The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd’s mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity’s sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater’s stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

Visit Amazon or Goodreads for more reviews.

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. 

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture. 

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Dragon and the Scholar,” the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy “Cora and the Nurse Dragon,” among others . 

Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com.

Or connect with H.L. Burke on Instagram (@burkesdragons), Facebook (@hlburkewriter), or Twitter (@hlburkewriter).

Published by K.A. Cummins

K.A. Cummins is an award-winning author and artist. Her publications include Havok Publishing, Rattle, Blue Mesa Review, and her middle-grade series, Snow Globe Travelers.

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