Review #126 // Caroline’s Heart – Austin Chant

Caroline's Heart

Cecily’s soulmate died, and her family only left her with an old, clockwork heart. Cecily tries her hardest to restore her soulmate, but struggles to bring her back. When a cowboy named Roy puts his life on the line for her, she risks never seeing her soulmate again for the chance of saving him.

Why this book?: I loved Austin Chant’s Peter Darling, and jumped on the chance to review his next work.

I would like to thank the author Austin Chant for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t know how often I mention this, but I’m a huge sucker for gothic stories–even romances, which normally aren’t my thing. But I usually make exceptions for trans romances, and a trans gothic romance sounded perfect. And, really, there’s no other way to describe this book. I loved the characters, and I loved their relationship. I loved the atmosphere and the setting, the writing and the plot. There was literally nothing in this book that I didn’t love.

You first meet Roy, and Cecily’s reputation. Two different ways to introduce characters, but two wonderfully well thought out introductions that charmed my way into the heart. Roy was just an excitable character, and the description of “dogged enthusiasm” fit him really well when it came up. When Cecily finally made it onto the page, I couldn’t get enough of her. She was independent, loving, but also very pessimistic. Roy and Cecily’s personalities clashed, which ended up making them the perfect couple. The way they met was hilarious, because Roy should have been terrified of her, but was instead just curious. Again, dogged enthusiasm fits perfectly.

The way trans-ness was included in this book was what really hit me in the heart. It was honest, but also hopeful, if that makes sense. You constantly got fed Roy’s insecurities about being trans, with how he worried if he was “found out”. And it hurt, but it was so reassuring to read. And, I hadn’t known this when I started reading, but Cecily is trans too, and I was so shocked I nearly started crying. A trans m/trans f romance, in a gothic, western setting?? It was a book of my dreams.

Final Rating: ★★★★★


Austin wrote yet another trans novel that really dug it’s way into my heart. There was literally nothing in this novel that I found myself frowning over, which, to be honest, is extremely rare. Austin knew the perfect length it should have been, and cut himself off. I almost consider myself spoiled with how indulging this story was for me.

Would I Recommend?

Totally, especially if you’re looking for Own Voices trans lit. I found myself comforted with the story and the characters. I literally just finished it, and I already am deciding when I should reread. Tomorrow? Tonight? How about while I’m at work?

Trigger warning for violence, mentioned transmisia, death of a loved one, and murder.

Caroline's Heart

Additional Information:

Published: October 25th, 2017

Publisher: Pronoun

Page Count: 96

Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Historical

Synopsis: via Goodreads

Cecily lost her soulmate years ago, leaving her with nothing but the clockwork heart that once beat in Caroline’s chest. They say it’s impossible to bring back the dead, yet Cecily’s resurrection spell is nearly complete and grows more powerful by the day.

But when a cowboy she barely knows is fatally injured, the only way to save him is by sacrificing an essential piece of the resurrection spell—and all possibility of seeing her lover again.

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