RogerBW's Blog

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, Olivia Waite 05 July 2024

2019 Regency romance. Lucy Muchelney has lost her lover to a socially advantageous wedding, and her brother has no time for her interest in astronomy (fired by her late father). One of father's correspondents is looking for someone to translate a French astronomical treatise…

And that correspondent turns out to be Catherine St Day, widow of an explorer and botanist, who had expected to sink into a quiet retirement but finds herself thorughly bored with country life. Sparks fly, but each woman has strong opinions and preferences, and the world is not going to be kind to either of them.

There are no Big Misunderstandings here, hurrah; there are onstacles on the path to happiness, certainly, but they seem both like things that these people would reasonably do and like things that they would be able to overcome for the sake of their relationship. I can believe in them as a couple with a future even after the excitement of bedding wears off.

This isn't a sanitised world; there's plenty of prejudice against women actually doing anything other than getting married (if rather less skin-colour racism). But at the same time these are heroines who prevail in spite of that, and in spite of having to keep their relationship secret. A pleasant touch is Catherine's initial happiness that since it can't end in marriage she won't be tied to Lucy, shifting to fear because since it can't end in marriage Lucy won't be tied to her

Definitely recommended, and I plan to read more in the series.

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