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The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows

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When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pest When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous… Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk. Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England’s shores—and when Penelope’s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge. As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?


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When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pest When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous… Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk. Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England’s shores—and when Penelope’s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge. As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?

30 review for The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    3.75 Stars. Another good WLW historical romance read. This is the second book in Waite’s Feminine Pursuits series. While I’m sorry to say that I didn’t love this like I did book one, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, I’m happy to say that I did still enjoy this. I like this world of strong women fighting for love and happiness. I am very OCD when it comes to reading series books in order, but order is not important here at all. While a couple secondary characters from the first book are c 3.75 Stars. Another good WLW historical romance read. This is the second book in Waite’s Feminine Pursuits series. While I’m sorry to say that I didn’t love this like I did book one, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, I’m happy to say that I did still enjoy this. I like this world of strong women fighting for love and happiness. I am very OCD when it comes to reading series books in order, but order is not important here at all. While a couple secondary characters from the first book are characters in this book, there is not the strong tie-in between books that I expected. This is a completely new story and we hardly even see the main characters from book one. The Countess does make a small appearance but that was it. I’m getting off track here a bit but this was actually a disappointment for me. I was so attached to the mains -from book one- that I wanted a little time with them again at least. Anyway, this is the long and drawn out way to say that you can read these books in any order that you wish. While book one mostly took place in London, 65% of this book is in a small country town a carriage ride away from London. This led to a new setting that opened up the series to many new people and possibilities. What I loved was all the scenes about the bees. One of the mains is an expert bee keeper and looks out for the bees all over town. I have an interest in honey bees and would actually love to have some hives myself so I ate these scenes up. They were also oddly romantic too which seems weird to say but some of the better chemistry I thought the women had was over the bees. I enjoyed both main characters most of the time. I liked Griffin very much and I liked Flood, but that was more when she actually had some nerves. She was a little spineless at times which drove me nuts, but I loved her character growth and I almost felt like I was watching a “Towanda” moment -for those of you old enough to get that quote- which was a lot of fun to see. When it came to the romance I was a little more mixed. As I mentioned there were times that I felt things were sweet and romantic, but then there were a few times I felt more friendship than sexual attraction. I didn’t think this couple had the sparks that the main couple from book one had together. While I was missing some chemistry, I’m happy to say that there were more sparks than I expected in the bedroom. These two women clicked sexually and there was heat there that I had earlier found to be missing. So for me the sex scenes really were needed since they sold the two women as a possible real couple to me. I think the biggest issue for me ended up being that I felt like Waite was trying to do too much. There was a lot going on in this story and I felt almost a little restless at times jumping to each different thing. When Waite really focused on something, like the bees, the story really shined. I wish she would have picked fewer plot topics and really focused on them instead of spreading herself a bit thin. It was not the end of the world but it’s mostly why I didn’t care for this as much as the first book. If you were a fan of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, I have a good feeling you will enjoy this book too. If you are new to this series and a fan of smart and well done historic romances, what are you waiting for go get book one. I’m happy to say that there will be a book three. In fact Waite teased where the new main character might be living. I’m glad we get another book is this world and I hope we get some appearances from past main characters (cough Lucy and the Countess cough cough). A copy was given to me for a honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    A delightful extremely slow-burn f/f historical set in the tumultuous times between the Cato St Conspirators' execution and the death of Queen Caroline. I absolutely loved the historical background here, it's one of incredibly few Regencies I've read that really understands what a terrifying, repressive time it was for ordinary people, with grotesquely draconian laws arbitrarily enforced. We're genuinely afraid for Agatha, the printer, trying to make a living without falling foul of the laws and A delightful extremely slow-burn f/f historical set in the tumultuous times between the Cato St Conspirators' execution and the death of Queen Caroline. I absolutely loved the historical background here, it's one of incredibly few Regencies I've read that really understands what a terrifying, repressive time it was for ordinary people, with grotesquely draconian laws arbitrarily enforced. We're genuinely afraid for Agatha, the printer, trying to make a living without falling foul of the laws and compromising her own morals and self-respect in the process. There's an awful lot of hard thinking in this book--about direct action, the impact of marriage laws on women, the balance between political activism and personal life, and the effect of constant compromising on the human (particularly female) soul, in the personal as well as political spheres. I loved this. Those who want to get straight to the bonking may not be so happy, but what we have here is a really well-developed pre-romance relationship that makes the eventual HEA one of the most credible and underpinned I've read. These two people know each other deeply, have developed friendship and mutual respect and seen each other's courage and kindness and fears and weakness, and that makes the romance profoundly grounded and convincing. Also there is a lot on beekeeping which is fascinating and makes for excellent metaphors, plus the use of it at a climactic plot point is absolute genius. I was cheering and waving things. Honestly this book is so well grounded. There's a real sense of a big existing *real* world and a whole range of people busily living their lives at all strata of society and dealing with the actual range of human problems, small to large scale, personal, professional and political. The only comparable histrom I can think of right now is Spring Flowering which is also a slow-burn f/f, oddly enough. And come to that, though in an alt-world, the Alpennia series starting with Daughter of Mystery, which is *also* f/f slow burn. There's a thesis in here. A terrific historical and a lovely character piece.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    *3.5 stars* So. Many. Plotlines. sigh I really, really like Olivia Waite, and I LOVE how she is writing the smart F/F historical romances that we all want to read. I adore historical romance, and I love nerds, so I'm always dying when I read about each upcoming book from this author. However, I think this author gets in her own way a lot of the time. The good news is that we have two older MCs, a lovely slow-burn romance, and some explicit sex on page, though we have to wait ages to get it. Also, *3.5 stars* So. Many. Plotlines. sigh I really, really like Olivia Waite, and I LOVE how she is writing the smart F/F historical romances that we all want to read. I adore historical romance, and I love nerds, so I'm always dying when I read about each upcoming book from this author. However, I think this author gets in her own way a lot of the time. The good news is that we have two older MCs, a lovely slow-burn romance, and some explicit sex on page, though we have to wait ages to get it. Also, I could have read about the bee-keeping stuff all day long. Very interesting and a lot to delve into there. I also felt like Penelope's family dynamics and marriage had a lot of meaty plot elements that really fleshed out the story. But the author just couldn't stop there. We get endless chapters about the King and Queen and their marital issues, sedition laws, religious and puritanical power movements, relationship complications with side characters, and it goes on and on. There are details that are introduced and focused on and then seem to fade in importance. There is just so much there, so much that could have been spread out with another story, that it really muddled the romance for me. The book is very long, and a lot of it felt like extraneous information. I would have been happy with just the bee-keeping stuff alone with maybe a little family drama thrown in. As it was written, I found myself zoning out during the endless pages about the royal scandals. The romance was very slow to develop, and though I like a slow burn, I wish more of the book had these two women in an actual relationship, not just pining for one. I understand that open communication was very risky during those times, but they basically hinted at each other for over 300 pages until they got their act together. But when they got together finally, whew, lots of chemistry and heat! Thank you, Olivia Waite! I appreciated all of the research that went into this story, and I think the author did a very good job writing it, but I wish it had been paired down some to make the romance take center stage. Still, I can't wait to read more from this author and see where else she can take me. *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review* goodreads|instagram|twitter|blog

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    (This was such a thoughtful gift from Landice!) 1.) The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics ★★★★ Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch (This was such a thoughtful gift from Landice!) 1.) The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics ★★★★ Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

  5. 4 out of 5

    Renaissance Kate

    3.5 stars! In this tale of a country beekeeper falling in love with the widowed owner of a London-based print shop, Olivia Waite’s writing is all-around incredible. While the first book in this series received a lot of well-deserved love, I actually enjoyed this second installment in the Feminine Pursuits saga even more. If you’re in the mood for a historical romance, this is the perfect summer read. It will transport you to the picturesque town of Melliton to stroll through the countryside with 3.5 stars! In this tale of a country beekeeper falling in love with the widowed owner of a London-based print shop, Olivia Waite’s writing is all-around incredible. While the first book in this series received a lot of well-deserved love, I actually enjoyed this second installment in the Feminine Pursuits saga even more. If you’re in the mood for a historical romance, this is the perfect summer read. It will transport you to the picturesque town of Melliton to stroll through the countryside with Penelope and Agatha, feeling at home among the buzzing bees and fragrant flowers. One of the most remarkable elements of Waite’s work is the clear amount of in-depth research she puts into every aspect of her story. From historical context that makes for some incredible worldbuilding, to the specific details of each character’s occupation, this book will immerse you in Penelope and Agatha’s universe. Even though a lot of information is packed in, most of it provides fascinating details to support the plot and characters. I learned more about beekeeping and printing presses in 1820’s England than I ever have before, and it was so much fun! These details also help establish why Penelope and Agatha feel and act the way they do, providing further insight on their character personalities and motivations. Speaking of characters, if you like emotionally-driven plots with lots of internal character conflict, you will likely enjoy this book. Waite’s character work is amazing, and I feel like I got to know everything about Penelope and Agatha, from their wants and fears to their histories and hopes for the future. A lot of these emotions play into their friends-to-lovers story, making for a very slow burn. However, once they do finally get together, the heartwarming romance and steamy sex scenes make the wait well worth it. Penelope and Agatha experience external conflicts as well, but in my opinion these take a backseat to the internal stakes and struggles of our protagonists. I truly felt for both Penelope and Agatha as they tried to do what was best for those around them while discovering what they want and deciding who they want to be. They complement one another so well and it’s crystal clear they’re meant to be together. I also loved the wide cast of LGBTQ+ characters in this book. Not only is this an F/F romance, and not only do we get a cameo of one of the protagonists from the first book, but we also have at least three other queer couples in the cast. Each of these relationships is so beautifully written that I could honestly read an entire book on any one of them, especially John/Harry and Isabella/Joanna. If Olivia Waite gives these characters their own books I will devour them in no time! My only critique, which I think comes down to personal preference rather than issues with the story, is that a certain aspect of the historical context added one too many layers for me. Specifically, I’m referencing the subplot around the Queen Caroline protests. At the beginning of this book, I fell in love with beekeeping and printing presses, could clearly envision the contrast between busy London and tranquil Melliton, and became quickly attached to our cast of characters and their individual interests and issues. While these personal issues are tied to the protests and ultimately lead to conflicts of their own, it was difficult to feel invested in the protests when I was already so devoted to our main characters’ already-established dilemmas. The protests and connections to women’s rights still ring true today, however, the story provides enough complex character pairings, such as Penelope/John, Agatha/Thomas, Sydney/Eliza, and the Turners, among others, to have more than enough material to examine the disadvantages of being a woman in society. If this book featured Queen Caroline as a character perhaps I would feel differently, but ultimately I wanted to get past the protests subplot so the story could center around the characters I’d grown to love. Overall I would recommend this book, and I will definitely look forward to book #3 in the series – based on the title and premise alone, it already sounds amazing! Thank you to HarperCollins Publishers/ Avon Impulse via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 4.5 stars I was really looking forward to this sequel ever since reading The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics and it met all expectations. Agatha and Penelope immediately seemed like real people to me, their different experiences and personalities made them come to life right away. They are both sapphic women in their 40s (Penelope is a lesbian and Agatha bi or pan) and I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 4.5 stars I was really looking forward to this sequel ever since reading The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics and it met all expectations. Agatha and Penelope immediately seemed like real people to me, their different experiences and personalities made them come to life right away. They are both sapphic women in their 40s (Penelope is a lesbian and Agatha bi or pan) and I just want to say that as a younger queer reader it's so good to see older protagonists, especially when it comes to sapphic relationships. While I remember The Lady's Guide to be a faster romance, this one was very slow burn and I find it was well developed and not unnecessarily dragged for the sake of building up tension. It made sense for them to get together when they did and not sooner, and there was plenty of sapphic yearning and pining. The presence of queer people (other than the main characters) in historical times was already given some space in the first book but here it was further developed with many side characters that are either currently in a same sex relationship or are canonically queer. Even the other characters, aside from the antagonists, are perfectly accepting of queerness and fully acknowledge these queer relationships in their romantic and sexual nature instead of glossing over them as "good friends". Since this was my favorite thing in the first book I'm really, really happy about how this aspect was further developed and always present especially in the second half of the book. The historical context of England of that time was pretty much lost on me so I did miss a lot of the references and kind of had to skim the plot because I didn't care too much about it, but even without a lot of context the book was still enjoyable and if I had been more confused I could've certainly done some research of my own to understand it better, but the fact that I didn't feel compelled to do it meant that it was fine (also that I'm lazy, but I'm not here to review myself). Overall if you enjoyed the first book this has a different relationship dynamic and different themes but similar vibes and, just as that one, it reads as social and cultural commentary on top of a beautiful romance. It follows different characters aside for a few cameos so it can be read as a standalone and I highly recommend it if you're into sapphic romances where they're both on the slightly older side and if you think bees are cute and important 🐝

  7. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    ARC via Netgalley. A lovely and slow-moving romance between two middle-aged, middle-class women in early 1800s England. This is a very plot-heavy book for a romance novel, with an interesting focus on contemporary political issues that I didn't know much about -- sedition laws and especially George IV's attempt to divorce his wife, Queen Caroline. One of the protagonists, Agatha, is a widow who runs a printing press, while the other, Penelope, is a sailor's wife who happens to be her village's e ARC via Netgalley. A lovely and slow-moving romance between two middle-aged, middle-class women in early 1800s England. This is a very plot-heavy book for a romance novel, with an interesting focus on contemporary political issues that I didn't know much about -- sedition laws and especially George IV's attempt to divorce his wife, Queen Caroline. One of the protagonists, Agatha, is a widow who runs a printing press, while the other, Penelope, is a sailor's wife who happens to be her village's expert in beekeeping. (The meet-cute is extremely cute: a swarm of bees infests Agatha's storage shelves, and Penelope comes to rehome the bees.) There are lots of very thoughtful details, including the relationship between Agatha's adult son and her apprentice (there is a really great scene early on in the book where all three of them talk about what they would do if they could change just one law: Sydney picks freedom of the press, Eliza picks universal suffrage, and Agatha picks the right to an easy, cheap divorce, which tells you so much about all three characters in so few words), the community in Penelope's village, and a subplot about a local musician and lyricist who's trapped in a bad marriage. There aren't many sex scenes, and it takes a while for Agatha and Catherine's relationship to become physical, but once it does they're quite explicit, just FYI! Catherine from The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics has a brief cameo appearance, but the books aren't closely related and I think they could be read independently of each other without anything being lost. Recommended especially for readers who like a lot of history in their romance -- I think KJ Charles fans would really enjoy this series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This title alone should be enough to make you want to read this historical romance. I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the first book in this series. I don't think I rated it as high as many people but after reading this one, I am thinking I need to reevaluate so I will likely go back and read the other one soon. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. As soon as I started reading this one, I was taken with the story. I could not put it down. It was all one would want to read in a romance This title alone should be enough to make you want to read this historical romance. I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the first book in this series. I don't think I rated it as high as many people but after reading this one, I am thinking I need to reevaluate so I will likely go back and read the other one soon. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. As soon as I started reading this one, I was taken with the story. I could not put it down. It was all one would want to read in a romance. Sometimes I have a harder time reading historical romances because the language is different, but this one was easy for me to read. Again, this one grabbed me and kept my attention the entire time. No boredom with this one. This romance is for sure slow, but even when the two Mains get together it is juicy and spicy. I have to admit, I really hope Waite has a few more in this series. Well done! 4.5 stars, but rounding to 5. This arc was provided by netgally and the publisher for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gaby LezReviewBooks

    This is number two in the ‘Feminine Pursuits’, a lesbian historical fiction books series set in England in the early 1800s. Olivia Waite normally writes m/f romances so she was unknown to me until she wrote ‘The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics’, book one in the above-mentioned series. Even though this is a standalone romance, I recommend reading book one too as they are both fantastic novels. There’s no need to keep order in the series as the author says she conceived the books as a carousel This is number two in the ‘Feminine Pursuits’, a lesbian historical fiction books series set in England in the early 1800s. Olivia Waite normally writes m/f romances so she was unknown to me until she wrote ‘The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics’, book one in the above-mentioned series. Even though this is a standalone romance, I recommend reading book one too as they are both fantastic novels. There’s no need to keep order in the series as the author says she conceived the books as a carousel in which readers can jump at any point. Agatha Griffin is a busy widow trying to keep afloat her late husband’s printing business and maintain her radical son out of trouble. When she finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, she asks for the local beekeeper’s help. Penelope Flood lives in a small seaside town that is plagued with social tension after the return to England of the exiled Queen. After meeting Agatha, both women form a friendship which slowly evolves into a closer connection, but at the return of her absent husband, Penelope finds herself torn between her love for Agatha and her loyalty to him. I always say that I’m not a fan of historical fiction, mainly because the past is normally a hard time for women in general and lesbians in particular. Somehow Ms. Waite found the perfect formula for heartwarming lesbian romances, low in angst but with a strong feminist message. As in the first book of the series, her protagonists are strong women who don’t conform to the roles that society reserved for them and fight for their rights and place in the world. Compared to the previous novel, this one is more political and strips down the double morals of the society in general and the monarchy in particular, especially with respect to the role of marriage during that period. Yet again, the author builds powerful chemistry between the leads, establishing a sweet friendship first which sets the ground for a strong bond later. As with the previous book, we learn about women in unconventional jobs and their challenges. I absolutely loved the use of metaphors of those trades – astronomy in book one, beekeeping in this one – to describe the characters’ feelings. The cast of secondary characters is very well built as it’s the political and social subplot. For audiobook lovers, it’s great news that both book and audio versions were released at the same time. As ‘The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics’ this was also narrated by Morag Simms who did another very good job. I love her different voices for both male and female characters, especially the ones she’s got reserved for the villains who sound particularly spiteful. Her overall performance of the feelings that the characters go through is fantastic. Ms. Simms brings out a rich storytelling layer to the written text. 5 stars. Available in Scribd. Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins See all my reviews at www.lezreviewbooks.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    If you are looking for a thoughtful, thematically rich, slow-burn, f/f historical romance featuring middle-aged women, then this is definitely worth checking out. There's a lot to like here, although for a romance it does feel a bit bloated and has some pacing issues- dragging through the middle and then breezing through the last 25% or so. And it takes FOREVER for the romance to get going! Although once they finally admit their feelings for each other, it's fantastic. The Care and Feeding of Wa If you are looking for a thoughtful, thematically rich, slow-burn, f/f historical romance featuring middle-aged women, then this is definitely worth checking out. There's a lot to like here, although for a romance it does feel a bit bloated and has some pacing issues- dragging through the middle and then breezing through the last 25% or so. And it takes FOREVER for the romance to get going! Although once they finally admit their feelings for each other, it's fantastic. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows follows Agatha Griffin (buttoned up widow running a printing company in London and managing her politically radical, nearly grown son) and Penelope Flood (unconventional small-town beekeeper engaging in brief affairs with women in between her gay husband's long absences at sea). When Agatha discovers a beehive in her rural warehouse, Penelope comes to the rescue and the two begin a friendship, writing letters back and forth, and regularly visiting one another. As I said, they don't admit their feelings until the last 25% of the book and I wish it had begun sooner instead of just jumping in full-force so late in the game. I loved the friendship and growing love between these women, not to mention the care and appreciation of their middle-aged, imperfect bodies. This really wrestles with how queer people lived during this time period- the dangers, the compromises, and the work-arounds. The author clearly did a deep dive of research into other topics as well- beekeeping, printing methods, and the nuances of politics during the time and their relationship to women's rights and lack of access to divorce. All of which are interesting, but I did feel like they dominated the narrative to a greater degree than I wanted for a romance. I love romance that explores bigger issues, but in this case it felt like too much given the genre. This easily could have been a new favorite if it was pruned a bit and more attention was given to the romantic element. That said, once the romance (finally!) kicks off, it's a steamy whirlwind that combines love and friendship in a beautiful way. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    So first, if you find this cover not great and it is holding you back from reading, please ignore it. The book itself is wonderful, and while the color scheme itself is appropriate for a book about bee keeping, the quality of the photoshop here is not a reflection of the contents. Second, this book is the slowest of slow burns and if that is not your thing, you are probably not going to enjoy reading. Third, this was LOVELY. This features the right amount of showing someone's work and how that wo So first, if you find this cover not great and it is holding you back from reading, please ignore it. The book itself is wonderful, and while the color scheme itself is appropriate for a book about bee keeping, the quality of the photoshop here is not a reflection of the contents. Second, this book is the slowest of slow burns and if that is not your thing, you are probably not going to enjoy reading. Third, this was LOVELY. This features the right amount of showing someone's work and how that work defines them, heroines who call each other by their last names, letter writing, and a wonderful sense of community and place. Sometimes I think I have a love/hate relationship with overtly political queer historicals, because I get such a knot in my stomach regarding the legalities and what will go wrong, but I am also grateful for the history lessons they provide. Read for The Ripped Bodice Bingo 2020 square: Apple Orchard

  12. 4 out of 5

    C. S.

    Just as adorable, lush, and incisive as the first book in the Feminine Pursuits series. I really admire the way Waite draws parallels between circumstances facing the characters to issues faced by women and other marginalized identities today. In Celestial Mechanics it was doxxing, dogpiling, and false accusations; in Waspish Widows it was the way changing political tides can bring out the absolute worst in people. In some ways I liked the romance more in this book, even though it wasn't as stea Just as adorable, lush, and incisive as the first book in the Feminine Pursuits series. I really admire the way Waite draws parallels between circumstances facing the characters to issues faced by women and other marginalized identities today. In Celestial Mechanics it was doxxing, dogpiling, and false accusations; in Waspish Widows it was the way changing political tides can bring out the absolute worst in people. In some ways I liked the romance more in this book, even though it wasn't as steamy. I really like bees on a theoretical level and love the myths and lore surrounding them, so Penelope teaching Agatha about them as part of their initial friendship was especially endearing to me. I also liked that there even was such a strong initial friendship between two 40something women. This felt like more of a slow burn romance and in a lot of ways I appreciated that. Waite's writing 99% of the time is just SO smart and SO pretty, there's a solidity and groundedness to the novels because the descriptions of objects are so evocative. While the pacing in the romance felt smoother (and thus less angsty), I did feel like the overall pacing was a bit slow, but that's a complaint I often have when reading romance, so ymmv on this point.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Guerunche

    This one I'm ambivalent about. I was excited to listen after being a big fan of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, and though there were some real positives with it, the experience was still just "meh" for me. I enjoyed that one of the main characters, Agatha Griffin (first introduced in Mechanics) ran a printing business in London owned exclusively by her after the death of her husband. Certainly unusual in the late 1700s. There was also a well-known lesbian couple in the community that p This one I'm ambivalent about. I was excited to listen after being a big fan of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, and though there were some real positives with it, the experience was still just "meh" for me. I enjoyed that one of the main characters, Agatha Griffin (first introduced in Mechanics) ran a printing business in London owned exclusively by her after the death of her husband. Certainly unusual in the late 1700s. There was also a well-known lesbian couple in the community that people more or less tolerated because they had their own wealth. There is also a historical reference to Queen Caroline of Brunswick, married to King George IV who tried to divorce her and introduced a bill to be able to do so. He was so loathed he had to withdraw it when there was an uprising by the people. The second main character, Penelope Flood, lives in a smaller wealthy community outside London, and spends much of her time as a beekeeper. They meet when Agatha has an issue with a large number of bees who decide to take up residence in one of her printing warehouses. This is a very slow-moving, very involved story. Adding to the mix is Agatha's son and the object of his affection trying to find their way in the world, Penelope's unconventional marriage, and how women in general  navigate life in a time that is not kind to them or their rights. The romance also moves at a snail's pace, but once it arrives, it advances to the bedroom at lightning speed. I found that a bit abrupt, and was even more surprised/skeptical by what happened with their second encounter. It's much hotter than I expected and although I am a big fan of that in general, in this story it felt out of place. They also called each other by their last names, which somehow felt less intimate to me. I think there was just too much going on in the story to invest in just them.The narration was good and although there were several interesting things going on, I found it all just okay. 3.5 stars rounded to 4.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Howard

    4.5 Stars for The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows: Feminine Pursuits (audiobook) by Olivia Waite read by Morag Sims. I’m really enjoying this series. The writing is clever and fun. I’m really looking forward to the next book. I love the narration too.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ami

    I loved Olivia Waite’s debut last year, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, so I was quite eager with this one. Alas, the sophomore book didn’t charm me as much. I struggled to get through the first part of this book. I thought there were too many things that happening, it muddled the romance. Most especially everything related to the Royal Scandal of King George IV and Queen Caroline. I understand that this book was set around that time, and with Agatha Griffin worked in printing business, I loved Olivia Waite’s debut last year, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, so I was quite eager with this one. Alas, the sophomore book didn’t charm me as much. I struggled to get through the first part of this book. I thought there were too many things that happening, it muddled the romance. Most especially everything related to the Royal Scandal of King George IV and Queen Caroline. I understand that this book was set around that time, and with Agatha Griffin worked in printing business, this event might seep into her daily life. But I thought it was too much. I could feel my eyes glazed over all those parts; like, if I want to learn about history in detailed, I could check out Wikipedia. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows picked up about half-way through. In fact, if only Waite focused on Agatha Griffin, Penelope Flood, and the people of Melliton, I thought this could be a more enjoyable story for me. I had fun reading Agatha and Penelope dealing with The Melliton Auxiliary Branch of the Society for Suppression of Seditious Libel and Mendacity (my God that’s mouthful *laugh*). When Penelope arranged that ‘plan’ to help the beekeepers of Melliton against the vicar and the revengeful Lady Summerville… well, I was very much invested!! This is a very slow-burn romance; we didn’t get any “action” until the last third of the book. But when we got to that part, it was good! I also liked Agatha’s relationship with her teenage son and his girlfriend. As well as Penelope’s relationship with her husband (don’t worry, it’s a marriage of convenience, because Penelope’s husband was in love with her brother, and Penelope only liked women). Oh, and this is a story about two women in their forties too, so that is another plus point. So yes, this has its wonderful moments but those other side stories (including the real-life history) made The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows rather boring *shrugs* A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

  16. 5 out of 5

    AnnMaree Of Oz

    This book features the printmaker from book 1, Mrs Agatha Griffin who helped the MC's from the first book in printing their Ladies Guide To Celestial Mechanics. In the years since the first printing Mrs Griffin finds herself widowed with a 19 year old son. Eliza the former maid from book 1 is still working steadily in her apprenticeship and a romance for her is forming as well. But the big romance is that between Agatha and a merchants daughter who is keenly interested in beekeeping. Penelope Flo This book features the printmaker from book 1, Mrs Agatha Griffin who helped the MC's from the first book in printing their Ladies Guide To Celestial Mechanics. In the years since the first printing Mrs Griffin finds herself widowed with a 19 year old son. Eliza the former maid from book 1 is still working steadily in her apprenticeship and a romance for her is forming as well. But the big romance is that between Agatha and a merchants daughter who is keenly interested in beekeeping. Penelope Flood. It is a very slow burn romance where it takes until 72% of the book for them to admit their true feelings and kiss. But don't mistake their reticence for being ignorant or coy physically. Both have had female lovers in the past and thusly make quick work of those feelings in hot pursuit. There's a common theme throughout the book of women being controlled by husbands and other males in authority and judged unfairly even by other women. Often hypocritically so. The moralistic fibres of that very judgmental society of the time is woven very clearly to the point I myself felt rather claustrophobic! There's major references to Queen Caroline and the trial to defame her and the politics of the time and how restrictive the press and freedoms we're quite tenuous at the time. This book really covers so much about libel, morality, politics, double standards, women's rights, the press and freedoms of speech and so much more! It's truly fascinating and sobering having grown up in such a different time period where we take so much if this for granted.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I was so happy to get my hands on an ARC after loving the first book in the series, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics. I dove into this one knowing one of the main character and expecting to learn a few things about bee-keeping. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The romance was what interested me the most even though I liked the plot as well. I ended up rating it four and not five stars because it was too political for my taste. I didnt care at all about the Royals and I wish the story I was so happy to get my hands on an ARC after loving the first book in the series, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics. I dove into this one knowing one of the main character and expecting to learn a few things about bee-keeping. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The romance was what interested me the most even though I liked the plot as well. I ended up rating it four and not five stars because it was too political for my taste. I didnt care at all about the Royals and I wish the story would have focused a little more on the romance. It was a little tiring, to be honest but I didn't mind too much. Agatha and Penelope are two older women. One had a very happy marriage and is now widowed and a mother of an adult son (Agatha) and the other is the wife to her brother's lover and a successful bee-keeper. Penelope has never loved men and therefore, she knew marriage was never going to be for her. However, when the two women meet, they slowly fall in love and end up figuring out they didn't have to spend the rest of their lives alone. It was good and sweet. My only complain would be that I would have loved the book to focus a bit less on the plot and political aspect and more on the romance / relationship. I'm so excited for the next book! Though I have no idea who the main characters are going to be. I hope it will still be f/f.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maëlys

    beekeeping is inherently gay Youtube ☆ Twitter beekeeping is inherently gay Youtube ☆ Twitter

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    I have to admit that I only requested this book because of the ridiculously over the top cover. This is not the sort of book I ordinarily read and I expected something totally campy because the cover is so cringe-worthy. Perhaps I'm especially harsh because my family and I do a lot of period reenactment so I know a bit more than most what clothes and hairstyles should look like in 1800's England, but come on. The cover shows what looks like two young women with one in a tacky prom dress and one I have to admit that I only requested this book because of the ridiculously over the top cover. This is not the sort of book I ordinarily read and I expected something totally campy because the cover is so cringe-worthy. Perhaps I'm especially harsh because my family and I do a lot of period reenactment so I know a bit more than most what clothes and hairstyles should look like in 1800's England, but come on. The cover shows what looks like two young women with one in a tacky prom dress and one in a 90's tuxedo jacket and blouse out of the disco era, with modern hairstyles. The book itself is a period piece about two middle aged English women in the early 1800's. The real characters are in their 40's and one is plump while the other has gray hair. Why not show this sort of women, and why not spring for anything remotely like realistic clothes and hairstyles (you can see examples of Georgian fashions at the time here: http://wemakehistory.com/Fashion/Geor...)? Far from being campy, the book itself actually quite feminist, historic and serious. One of the heroines is a beekeeper who's in a marriage in name only (her husband and her brother are the true couple, who spend their time at sea so they can be together) and the other is a widow who runs a printing press. The women's friendship develops over time into a deep love and lust, but neither thinks the other feels the same. Along the way, there is a ton of historic information about what was going on at the time with the king who tried to charge his wife with adultery to obtain a divorce, women's rights and specifically wives' rights, and also beekeeping and things like how printing presses worked. There is a ton about how Penelope cares for the bees. The author either raises bees herself or really did her research on historic beekeeping practices. As an American, I didn't know any of this history about the Queen Caroline and it was somewhat interesting but I also felt a bit like I was trying to keep up with someone else's family history after jumping into it. It's a very slow moving romance, and it's as much a period novel and a novel about bees, women's rights and British history as it is a romance. The characters are likeable but I didn't really feel the passion as much as it was described. And while you get through 2/3 of the book before there's any sex, when there is some there really is some. I never really thought I'd learn the name for vintage British wooden sex toys or their rather endearing names for lady parts, but now I know. :) All in all it's a very well done period novel but it's hard to pin down who it would be best for. The story is sweet and the characters are likeable. If you like period romances (and bees and British history!), it will likely be a great fit. I read a digital ARC of this book for review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Norah Gibbons

    I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows is the second book in Olivia Waite’s delightful Feminine Pursuits Series. The books in the series can be read as stand-alones, but I really enjoyed The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and do recommend reading it also. Widow Agatha Griffin discovers a swarm of bees has infested a storage area in her print shop and seeking to remedy the situation she is referred to be I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows is the second book in Olivia Waite’s delightful Feminine Pursuits Series. The books in the series can be read as stand-alones, but I really enjoyed The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and do recommend reading it also. Widow Agatha Griffin discovers a swarm of bees has infested a storage area in her print shop and seeking to remedy the situation she is referred to beekeeper Penelope Flood who moves the swarm and sets Agatha up with her own hive. While learning about how to care for that hive from Penelope, a friendship develops and gradually over time becomes something more. The story is lovely with a strong cast of supporting characters and takes place in a tumultuous historical period, shortly after Peterloo and during the time George IV was trying to divorce his wife, Caroline. Steam Level: Very Steamy. Publishing Date: July 28, 2020. #TheCareAndFeedingOfWashpishWidows #OliviaWaite #historicalromance #FFRomance #bookstagram #HarperCollinsCanada #AvonRomance #HarperCollinsPublishers

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tillie Kingston

    Slow burn sapphic Regency romance with two mature women, honeybees, a satisfying climax, and a happy ending.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Agatha Griffin runs a successful printing company in London. Successful enough to have a workshop outside of London in the village of Melliton. While visiting there she discovers a portion of her storage has been taken over by a wild honeybee hive. The local beekeeping expert, Penelope Flood arrives to help and the two begin a wonderful friendship that eventually develops into something more. But this all set in the backdrop of the arrival of Queen Caroline back in England and the widespread civi Agatha Griffin runs a successful printing company in London. Successful enough to have a workshop outside of London in the village of Melliton. While visiting there she discovers a portion of her storage has been taken over by a wild honeybee hive. The local beekeeping expert, Penelope Flood arrives to help and the two begin a wonderful friendship that eventually develops into something more. But this all set in the backdrop of the arrival of Queen Caroline back in England and the widespread civil unrest that the treatment of the King towards her created. And both Agatha and Penelope lead unconventional enough lives to be potentially caught in the establishments backlash. The slow romance between middle-aged women, one a bisexual widow and the other a lesbian in a marriage of convenience that shields her gay husband and her brother from trouble, is a wonderful read. Throwing in 19th century culture wars on top of that makes for a great read, and one that illuminates the history its set in as much as the previous book. You don't need to have read the previous book to appreciate this one; the links between them are minor.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I did really like this book, and I love that Waite populated her book with characters living all sorts of lives. Some same sex pairs sharing households were together, some were not, and some were left up in the air. Marriages ranged from good to awful, and the clannishness of a small town was explored, as was the parallels to the neighborhoods in London. There’s so much here that’s so good, I just wish I loved it. full review: https://faintingviolet.wordpress.com/... I did really like this book, and I love that Waite populated her book with characters living all sorts of lives. Some same sex pairs sharing households were together, some were not, and some were left up in the air. Marriages ranged from good to awful, and the clannishness of a small town was explored, as was the parallels to the neighborhoods in London. There’s so much here that’s so good, I just wish I loved it. full review: https://faintingviolet.wordpress.com/...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Celine

    After Olivia Waite's excellent first f/f historical romance, this one was a slight disappointment. The story was unfocused, the characters stuck in friendship for more than half the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    tatterpunk

    TWO STARS: I won't read this again. Blech. The terrible cover art was a warning. I enjoyed Celestial Mechanics despite myself. It was everything I'm not supposed to be into: quick-burning relationship instead of slow, more fluff than angst, and a bit too "Regency lite" for my nerdy-about-English-history self. But as I said, it won me over. And when I saw Waite had a newer title coming up, one with perhaps a romance more geared toward my preferences and a lot of nerdy hobby stuff, I was excited. And TWO STARS: I won't read this again. Blech. The terrible cover art was a warning. I enjoyed Celestial Mechanics despite myself. It was everything I'm not supposed to be into: quick-burning relationship instead of slow, more fluff than angst, and a bit too "Regency lite" for my nerdy-about-English-history self. But as I said, it won me over. And when I saw Waite had a newer title coming up, one with perhaps a romance more geared toward my preferences and a lot of nerdy hobby stuff, I was excited. And then I was disappointed! Listen, I just wonder if Waite has it in her to write a properly involving romance between two women. Catherine and Lucy in Celestial Mechanics were almost too sweet to be believed, thankfully offset by some personal drama and an acknowledgement that their love doesn't easily fit into the wider world. Penelope and Agatha of this book, however, are so... removed from each other, the effect is damn near antiseptic. Maybe it's just Waite's limitations as a writer? I felt like the prose was serviceable in Celestial, but it felt phoned-in for Widows. There was a lot of telling instead of showing, and honestly, Waite seemed so much more interested in writing historical fiction about a charming country village than a romance-with-a-capital-R. Penelope and Agatha have inner monologues about how much they long for each other, but it felt so... put-upon, unconnected to real passion. They "lust" after smiles and curls of hair -- until they fuck each other, at which exact moment they're suddenly masters of the sexual domain. And again, this is not unlike Catherine and Lucy... except with those two, their sex scenes actually broadened or deepened their romantic connection. Here, it feels like going through the motions. Speaking of: I can't anymore with Waite's approach to a queer-friendly Regency period. I gave it a pass in Celestial Mechanics because at least the utopian glaze was applied broadly: women all over got their due, and racism and classism even got a nod. Waspish Widows, however, wants to paint an extremely grim picture of how hard life can be for (middle- to upper-class, apparently no mention of the working poor in a "political" Regency novel; what, too much of a bummer if they aren't servants of a rich household?) women of this period, how unforgiving the laws and limited their chances... but, you know, queer people, whatever, all GOOD people are accepting of homosexual behavior. No, seriously, that's how you spot the baddies. There's zero ambiguity -- when Penelope asks her also-gay brother Harry if their deceased vicar brother would have treated them like the current vicar, he says he cannot imagine a world in which their brother did not love them enough to accept how they love. That's sweet. It's also about 20,000 leagues removed from any queer person's reality, and yes I mean even this very year of our Carrie Fisher 2020, to never doubt their acceptance. "Regency theme park" romances are one thing; this is just a basic lack of connection to the lived realities of your characters. And the "no one cares who's gay" bit backfires because the book contrives to keep Penelope and Agatha apart -- except for what reason? Because both of them are into women, and although it takes them a while to find this out about each other, neither of them have any issue with a sexual or romantic relationship with another woman. So what's the obstacle? Waite decides on qualms about infidelity. So no one here blinks at lesbianism, but breaking marriage vows is... a thing. It's so weird and weirdly conservative! Agatha hesitates to fall for Penelope because she's married, and even after declaring the marriage a technicality (her husband is actually in love with her brother, they have never been and never will be physically involved) Penelope herself states that it FEELS like she's doing something wrong. (This after years of her brother and husband being together. After years of affairs with other women! Which is self-contradicting, but okay!) Even another f/f couple put off their romance until one of them became a widow. I just. Where is this sanctity towards marriage supposed to come from, when most of these people know they will never be able to marry the people they truly love? It's especially disheartening to see when (view spoiler)[Eliza and Sydney, the young heterosexual couple, love each other enough NOT to get married -- becoming a kind of metaphorical "queer" couple. No, I do not believe heterosexual couples represent queerness in any way, but theirs is the radical relationship in the novel, theirs is the love that defies expectation and society so strongly it makes Agatha, an actual queer woman, gasp in disbelief. (And just in case you missed the parallels, Waite gives them a "solution" similar to what she gave Catherine and Lucy in Celestial Mechanics, which I am deeply unhappy about.) And if you want to talk unflinching fidelity and devotion, Harry and John (the older male gay couple) are it -- and their reconciliation after John is released from the stocks is breathtaking, and brave. So. If Waite can write any of that, WHY NOT FOR PENELOPE OR AGATHA, THE MAIN CHARACTERS? Why does their romance feel so contrived in the delay, so anticlimactic in the resolution? THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE MAIN EVENT. (hide spoiler)] Listen: I am HERE for a regency romance between middle-aged women. But not if you're going to decide it means stripping the story of all fun, and all excitement. I don't care how old they are; no one reads this genre for a sensible love story. So basically, this book suffers from all the same flaws as Celestial but preserves none of its virtues.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Renae

    Thoughtful, clever, and well-researched, Olivia Waite’s The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows is a slow-burn lesbian romance that was (for the most part) very enjoyable. The protagonists here are Agatha, a widowed printer from London, and Penelope, an eccentric beekeeper from the country. They have fairly opposite personalities, but somehow, they meld together to create a solid team. And a team is just what they need: Queen Caroline is on trial for adultery, and the laws against libel and obscen Thoughtful, clever, and well-researched, Olivia Waite’s The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows is a slow-burn lesbian romance that was (for the most part) very enjoyable. The protagonists here are Agatha, a widowed printer from London, and Penelope, an eccentric beekeeper from the country. They have fairly opposite personalities, but somehow, they meld together to create a solid team. And a team is just what they need: Queen Caroline is on trial for adultery, and the laws against libel and obscenity are being enforced without mercy. First, I really do appreciate that Waite includes actual historical events in her novels. So often, historical romance takes the pretty gowns and the petticoats and the mannerisms of the Regency period, but never actually shows a depth of historical knowledge. Not so here. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows is a book that knows what came before and where things are headed. Most of the obstacles barring Agatha and Penelope from longterm happiness are external, and each one is based on the reality of the times. As someone who does enjoy vanilla historical fiction (without the love and smooches), I love this. That being said, I do perhaps agree with other reviewers who felt that the “other plotlines” go in the way of the romantic arc. As I said above, this book is a slow burn. There’s a lot of mutual pining, and the protagonists don’t kiss until about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through. The vast majority of the book is about Agatha and Penelope developing a friendship and sharing each other’s (historically accurate!) daily struggles. Here, Waite writes a quiet, even-keeled love story that isn’t prone to Big Feelings or Dark Moments. And in some ways, this is fitting: Penelope and Agatha are in the forties and have already lived through the most emotionally intense years of their lives. Now they’re ready to settle down into comfortable middle age with someone who can be a true partner and companion. Yet interestingly, though this book appears to spend most of its length developing the characters and their relationship, I never felt like Waite gave either Agatha or Penelope much depth of character. Countless times in the first few chapters, the author told her readers that Penelope was the kindest soul in the village, but I don’t know that I ever felt that to be true. And Agatha? She seemed uptight and cautious a lot of the time, but I never truly understood why. More than anything, I fear this was an issue where the author had a fully-realized vision that somehow didn’t translate onto the page. I’m not at all opposed to a slow-burn, but because I didn’t think the delayed gratification in this book was quite worth it, much of the novel wound up feeling a little like fluff and filler. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows is a perfectly nice romance. I was delighted by the attention to historical detail and the fact that the protagonists are both “older” women. At the same time, I wanted a bit more from the characters and from their connection. I finished the book satiated, but not truly satisfied. 📌 . Blog | Review Database | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

  27. 5 out of 5

    Misha

    Utterly delightful! Waite's writing is divine, conjuring the historical time period in the details that those living in them would have noticed and felt in their day to day. Agatha Griffin runs a printing business with her son after her husband's death, and is introduced to Penelope Flood in Melliton when bees take up residence on some of her printing plates. Thus begins a friendship that blossoms, slow-burn style, into more. The business of bee-keeping, the power of poetry and song to sway publ Utterly delightful! Waite's writing is divine, conjuring the historical time period in the details that those living in them would have noticed and felt in their day to day. Agatha Griffin runs a printing business with her son after her husband's death, and is introduced to Penelope Flood in Melliton when bees take up residence on some of her printing plates. Thus begins a friendship that blossoms, slow-burn style, into more. The business of bee-keeping, the power of poetry and song to sway public opinion and foment rebellion, a Queen in exile whose defense wages a political upswell, and uppity rich folks trying to control what is considered sedition and indecent all conspire to make this book a memorable historical f/f romance. The portions that cover political dissent are also marvelous. "Not terribly altruistic of her, of course--but Agatha had to wonder: Was self-interest the worst motivation, if it resulted in improvement for everyone? Perhaps Sydney's favorite philosophers were right. Perhaps revolution was really only a matter of getting enough people's individual motivations to flow in the same direction, at the same time." (186)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bridgit Morgan

    I absolutely fell in love with Olivia Waite's writing in her first novel in this series, "The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics," so I was so excited to read this new release in the series! I ended up not enjoying this one as much as the first, primarily because it added a lot of what seemed to me to be unnecessary historical events. I did still thoroughly enjoy the story, however, and I look forward to the next book in the series. Thank you to Avon Impulse and NetGalley for providing me with a I absolutely fell in love with Olivia Waite's writing in her first novel in this series, "The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics," so I was so excited to read this new release in the series! I ended up not enjoying this one as much as the first, primarily because it added a lot of what seemed to me to be unnecessary historical events. I did still thoroughly enjoy the story, however, and I look forward to the next book in the series. Thank you to Avon Impulse and NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy for review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    I went into this book expecting a fun, enjoyable story with interesting characters and wonderful romance. I got all that and so much more. Agatha is very business oriented and pragmatic. Penelope is a beekeeper who runs a little wild herself. Then you add in Agatha’s son and Eliza and Penelope’s husband and her brother and the vicar and Lady Summerville and it all comes together in a way that kept me engaged and wouldn’t let me put the book down. I especially appreciated the social justice aspec I went into this book expecting a fun, enjoyable story with interesting characters and wonderful romance. I got all that and so much more. Agatha is very business oriented and pragmatic. Penelope is a beekeeper who runs a little wild herself. Then you add in Agatha’s son and Eliza and Penelope’s husband and her brother and the vicar and Lady Summerville and it all comes together in a way that kept me engaged and wouldn’t let me put the book down. I especially appreciated the social justice aspect of the story. All in all, I loved everything about it!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Stein

    Olivia Waite writes beautifully, and her characters are very real and interesting people. This book, though, is a SUPER slow burn. There isn't even a kiss until more than 70% into the book. And there was so much additional plot around the social and political turmoil that the romance kind of got lost in it all. It felt like a book about characters fighting for social change that happened to have a romance, when it should have been the other way around.

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