Iron Eyes

Title: Iron Eyes
Author: Vivien Dean
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Romance, Steam Punk, Fantasy
Length: Extended Novella 36,000 words
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: Sometimes even when done well, less is just not enough- for me these fully imagined characters would have been better served by a full length novel and a more detailed steampunk world.

Blurb: For three years, Cap Kaufman has been trying to make amends to his war buddy’s orphaned daughter—building her a safe home, and even finding her the best nanny. Now, he’s kidnapped the man her doctor says is the best bet for fixing her blindness.

When Hector Gabourel wakes up on a boat in the middle of nowhere, he’s confronted by a man determined to get his own way. He has no choice but to play along and wait for a chance to escape. What he doesn’t count on, however, is learning to respect the man who uprooted him from everything he knew, all for the love of a child.

For Hector, it’s a challenge. For Cap, it’s penance. For both of them, it’s a chance for love. All it takes is opening their eyes to see what’s right in front of them…


Once I got over Cap’s outrageous plan of kidnapping Hector in order to make him help restore his adopted daughter’s sight- asking and / or negotiation seems to have been disregarded- this warm hearted and quirky story was a pleasant read.

I liked the main characters with their various idiosyncrasies. Hector’s concerns about his job in the film industry was used to give a brief glimpse of political world building, which was done with a subtle touch, but I would have enjoyed a lot more detail. Likewise the war that injured Cap, killed his friend, and stole Diana’s sight could have been expanded on. I actually felt a bit locked out. Cap and Hector’s relationship built at a believable pace. Their sexual relationship was very well developed and with some real heat. I thought the later tension between them felt contrived and was an unnecessary authorial twitch.

Aside from the enjoyable romance between mature men the main element of the story concerns the ambitious engineering struggle to give Diana back her sight. I was disconcerted by Cap’s lack of concern about Doc’s alcohol problems given he was going to be his surgeon of choice. Hector’s interactions with Diana were sweetly done if not particularly surprising. The main theme, interwoven with the concerns about Diana’s upbringing, was of building a family from the individuals that are sharing her home.

I liked the broken world, steampunk feel to this work and I particularly enjoyed Cap and Hector together. The description of Cap’s home made it very appealing. However even allowing for the idea of these characters finding their own safe haven, I felt there was a need to expand the boundaries of what was an intriguing but slight slice of story. Basically I just wanted a bigger…..and more ambitious bit.



  • Huh I suspect I will have the similar reaction – would want something bigger that is but I really like this writer so may try anyway. On the other hand making character do something against their will is something that pushes my buttons usually and fast. Kidnapping is pretty high on that list. Could you tell me if Hector is forced to do things after kidnapping as well, or he is okay with helping the child? I mean could you email me please? Many many thanks 🙂

  • Thanks for the review, Raine. I’ve been reading a bunch of these novellas / short novels from different publishers and not many authors can pull off a genre tale (i.e., anything that isn’t a contemporary) in the shorter length because of the world building or plot requirements. When I saw “steampunk”, I had a feeling that this one would need much more length to showcase it, and you’ve confirmed my suspicions.

    • Hi Val,
      This was quite frustrating, cos what the writer does do well is throw you into a believable environment complete with strong characters, however while it didn’t feel superficial, it did feel like peering in one window and missing a lot from the rest of the house. Actually… oh that is good I have finally expressed one of the reasons I was uneasy with this read….if only I could have done that in the review! 😕

      Thanks for getting me to finally spit it out…. 😀


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