Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Wow, I was absolutely charmed by Periwinkle, the automaton with a heart of gold.

i-739 was made for Jared Price, quite literally. He was coddled by Mrs. Broussard, his creator, who read to him each night and got him prepared for a life of dedication to his husband. For a year at Ms. Broussard’s Home for Bountiful Beaus, his “Mother” taught him all the right ways to satisfy Mr. Price, by keeping the house clean and tidy, and making his favorite meals. Even speaking with a British accent.

Only, when i-739 finally meets Jared, he’s upended emotionally to learn that Jared isn’t the benevolent man he was “raised” to honor and serve–he’s a colossal jerk with an abusive temper. But Jared dotes on his lonely, bereft younger brother Arthur, whose lover abandoned him for another. Jared commissioned i-739 for Arthur, who’s too heartbroken and doesn’t want a companion.

The cost of the i-739 was staggering, so Arthur accepts this “gift,” giving i-739 a spare room in the large manor house that Jared finances. Arthur is the introverted librarian in their rural Georgia hometown, while Jared manages the family business and gives Arthur an allowance. Despite the unexpected change of husband, i-739 decides to make the best of the situation. He has his manners and his book of protocol, and he’ll be the best househusband he can to Arthur. He prepares the home as he’d been trained, cooking meals and making Arthur’s life more enjoyable and comfortable. i-739 decides on a name–Periwinkle, or Peri for short–and gets on caring for Arthur.

Over the course of several months, Periwinkle makes a strong connection with both Arthur, and Honey Peppercorn, a neighbor and the grand dame who runs the Ladies’ Auxiliary. She helps Periwinkle socialize and “grow up” in a lot of ways. Periwinkle’s got the body of a nineteen-year old, but he was never educated on sex, because Jared thought it would be fun for Arthur to seduce a naive companion. Intimacy is slow to develop, but Periwinkle is definitely bound to Arthur in lots of emotional ways before they have any physical affection between them. Arthur’s broken heart is real, but absorbing all the caring that Periwinkle lavishes on him helps him see that he’d been a victim of abuse in his previous relationship.

It takes Arthur a while to get used to Periwinkle and his needs, because he looks like a man, only with a much younger emotional age due to his (under) programming at Jared’s behest. Still, once they are all in, it’s bliss… until Jared starts his own machinations. Expect some on-page violence, pining, temporarily bruised hearts, and a whole different society where robots/androids are part of the reality and have indeterminate status.

This was such a refreshing read. It is really always fun to have so many plays on colloquial speech, as well as turning the tropes on their heads. Periwinkle is a delight, and his love and devotion is so pure, Arthur couldn’t help but fall for him. He’s so very proper, in such creative ways, that he absolutely felt human, more so than actual humans in the story. Arthur’s devotion came on slower, but was no less precious. It’s a delicious romance, and I would absolutely read on if more stories come from this world.