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Breathless by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Short, sweet and sexy – we loved this book. Lara is a movie star whose career has crashed and burnt. She is in the throes o...

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

⭐⭐⭐⭐★


Set in the early 19th century, this historical romance is absolutely captivating.

Lucy Muchelney is brilliant at mathematics and has assisted her astronomer father for years becoming a talented astronomer in the process. However, given the times, her skills are unknown and all her work is attributed to her father. Her painter brother thinks that her astronomy is of no value and is toying with the idea of selling off her telescope. The low level friction at home pales into insignificance when Lucy’s lover of five years, Priscilla Carmichael, gets married to a Harry Winlock, since her grandmother’s trust only becomes Priscilla’s on her marriage. When a devastated Lucy returns from attending the wedding, she finds a letter from Lady Moth, Catherine St Day, widow of a noted astronomer asking Lucy whether her father had an apprentice or student who could help in translating a very important French work in the field to English for the Polite Science Society. Lucy knows that she’s not been given credit for her work so far but is indubitably suited for the translation with the mathematical prowess, and in a moment of recklessness decides to go to London and appeal to Lady Moth in person. Lady Moth is younger than Lucy thought and more alluring than she expected. When Lucy faces rejection by the Polite Science Society because of her gender, Catherine pulls out her financial aid to the Society for the translation and redirects it towards Lucy’s independent undertaking of the translation. The two women with vastly different tastes and interests combat misogyny and patriarchy together finding unexpected dimensions in themselves and in their relationship.

The writing is fantastic. Waite creates the atmosphere and the environment with such dexterity that you can actually see every place and feel every feeling. Some poetically brilliant sentences elevate the prose to unexpected heights and take the emotions to soul-level depths. Catherine is a wonderful character. Soft and vulnerable. Strong in many ways and fearful and broken in others. She is entirely cherish-able. Lucy is young with the recklessness of youth being battered by life and societal mores. Yet she is rather indomitable and had wonderful singularity when it comes to love. The way the two women strengthen and support one another is beautiful. The love between them, their recognition of the other’s talents and gifts and the unflinching belief which leads to the other spreading their wings – absolutely lovely. Priscilla is written more negatively but our heart went out to the woman trying to make the most of her situation within the confines of expectations. In fact, we even felt our heart break a little for her when Lucy is cold and cruel to her. While that scene between Lucy and Priscilla was important to the story between Catherine and Lucy, we wish we didn’t have to witness it.

This is a wonderful read and highly recommended.   

⭐⭐⭐⭐★

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