Book Spotlight: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? 

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. 

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read Dearly, Departed. Honestly, reading the synopsis, I was intrigued but at the same time terrified at the prospect. Zombie’s in love? What? But after I thought about it, it’s like Vampires in love so I decided to give this book a chance. I was pleasantly surprised.

The characters in this book are interesting. I like Nora and her fighting to be who she wants to be. She doesn’t take crap from people, she learns to fight, and she takes the whole zombie thing surprisingly well. The group of zombies that Nora is introduced to are a hoot. They really give the book a special touch. The one character that definitely makes the book for me is Bram. Except for the whole part where he’s dead, he’s the perfect guy. His character was the most liked out of all the ones I read. He even outshines Nora, who should have more points to her considering she’s actually the one with the heartbeat. 
The world Lia created is appealing to say the least. The New Victoria is a unique twist to the steampunk novels I’ve gotten used to. The descriptions are vivid and believable. I enjoyed getting to discover the ways of 2195.
However, I have to admit the ever changing point of view almost drove me up the wall. While I really liked getting into the heads of Nora, Bram, and even Nora’s best friend, the others didn’t seem as necessary to me. I was a little confused at the beginning, thinking I must have missed something. In the end, I got a bit better grip on what was going on. 
Overall, this book is definitely worth reading. Lia takes what is known in fiction and makes it her own: a world where death and decay may play a role, but love shines like the brightest star. I don’t know if I’ll be reading it again, but I most definitely will read what happens next. Dearly, Departed is out now, wherever the books are sold. 

Happy reading,

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