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Feminine Pursuits #1

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics

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As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.

Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.

While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?

219 pages, ebook

First published June 25, 2019

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About the author

Olivia Waite

17 books867 followers
Olivia Waite writes erotic, historical, and paranormal romance -- sometimes all three at once. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and their mischievous miniature dachshund.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,398 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
January 14, 2021
Sapphic historical fiction.... truly the best thing since sliced bread
They were here all along: spotting comets, naming stars, pointing telescopes at the sky alongside their fathers and brothers and sons. And still the men they worked with scorned them.

A Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is a historical romance novel about two girls who fall in unlikely love. Lucy is an aspiring astronomer whose father has recently died and whose lover has gotten married to a man she does not love. Catherine is a widower of a famous scientist whose anger at her often outweighed his kindness.

The thing is that as well as living in a society that enforces strict homophobia, Catherine and Lucy live in a society that devalues relationships that do not end in marriage. So though the two have a loving, mutually trusting relationship by around 50% of the way through the book, each is quite convinced that the other will, at any moment, leave them.

I was deeply impressed by how the author pulled this off: there’s no dramatic miscommunication, per se, but instead an expression of anxiety from both sides that leads them both to understand the relationship as meaning less to the other person than it does to them. Celestial Mechanics manages to pull this off in such a matter-of-fact, honest manner that it’s impossible to read as a trope. It’s simply an expression of the honest insecurities of these two characters, and esolutions come when character growth comes, rather than when the plot calls for it.

There’s something Silvia said in her review that I really wanted to quote:
“...I realized I needed to stop bracing myself for the stuff I mentioned above, because, amazingly, it kept not coming. And there's a lesson for histfic authors: you don't have to pretend that historical times weren't a cesspool of misogyny, homophobia and racism, but it's entirely possible to write a book for the people who have historically been hurt and marginalized that focuses on the good stuff instead of on the awful. This book is proof of that.”

Because that is one of the things that amazes me the most about this book: it focuses on and deals with homophobia in a culture and how it is internalized by the lead characters, but it focuses that energy towards development and crafting tenderness and love between these two characters.

I think there is a lot of value in lit that talks about and deconstructs historical homophobia, but it should be noted, in saying that, that much of this type of literature is written by and for the heterosexual lens. This book is absolutely not that. Side queer characters are involved and given their own non-tragic stories; Catherine’s aunt is notable in that. And the pain and trauma of homophobia is only used to explain the character’s internalized homophobia and build their characters, and only subtly. That is not to say stories involving homophobia on-page cannot be worthwhile — past homophobia can and should be explored in a way that puts queer people front and center — but I loved that this one avoided it entirely.

Celestial Mechanics also impressively targets not only the devaluation of the work women do in their selected fields, but also how “women’s fields” which actually require great amounts of talent are systematically devalued. Catherine’s work as an embroiderer is simply not respected, while Lucy’s work is given to men to receive credit; each of them, however, suffer from a devaluation of craft. This becomes a major element of their relationship and of each’s character development and I thought it was wonderful. Also, I am a total nerd about translated work, and the fact thatthe politics of translation became such a major narrative in this book was so entertaining.

Something I genuinely loved about this story was the way in which Catherine’s characterization was crafted. Catherine’s husband, we learn fairly quickly on, was prone to rage. So Catherine, within the first half of the book, is constantly on edge around others, expecting that they’re about to snap at any second. It is only after spending a great deal of time with Lucy in which Lucy does not snap that she begins to regain trust. I thought the narrative dealt with this with a degree of respect for both Catherine and Lucy that is frankly and tragically unprecedented.

Oh god, um, I know I’ve said a lot about this book being excellent, but it’s also just… a really good romance? I frankly don’t read a ton of romance as it’s not my gig and also there are no sapphics in romance ever, but this! romance! was so tender and full of so much kindness and care between these two characters. It’s just angsty enough to get you immediately invested but not so angsty as to be upsetting; each character is so well-crafted and well-respected by the narrative. Also, it’s just really fucking well written. I think I might end up going back to my kindle notes after I post this review because I think I highlighted half of the book (it’s actually a little embarrassing).

In case you didn’t notice. I really loved this book. I didn’t want this book to end. I delayed reading the last 5% simply because I didn’t want it to end and I never do that. This is a very very special romance and I would highly, highly recommend it.
*Thank you so, SO much to Macmillan for the arc.

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Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,644 followers
June 25, 2019
The love story is a delightful f/f romance set in Regency England (1816). The romance is slow-burning, passionate, caring, and intense. The women are both scarred by failed relationships, and their awkwardnesses and insecurities inform their behaviour, which is very real if a bit frustrating at times for the reader--but even when they don’t believe in their own relationship or the other’s love, they still have one another’s backs. It’s a glorious depiction of solidarity and female strength and kindness that I really enjoyed. If you’re reading for the romance, this is a very engaging and likeable story.

The astronomy plot is about the male bias and oppression that stands in the way of Lucy’s astronomy career. Lucy's brother tells her "nobody is going to employ a woman as an astronomer". When she goes to the science society meeting, men laugh at the idea of a woman astronomer and debate “firstly whether women are capable of astronomy, secondly whether they would offer any particular benefit to astronomy”. The plot arc peaks with Lucy’s discovery that women have been erased from the history of astronomy, depriving them of credit and her of the role models she needed.

The thing is, at this time, Caroline Herschel (sister of William, the discoverer of Uranus) was a famous and respected astronomer, in regular correspondence with the major names across Europe. She discovered eight comets, of which the first made the newspapers as “the first lady’s comet”. Her paper on it was the first ever paper by a woman to be read to the Royal Society (1787) and she became Britain’s first professional woman scientist when George III paid her a (meagre) salary. She was active as an astronomer in 1816, and would go on to be awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society a few years later. A real Lucy would unquestionably know her work, as would all the men of the astronomy society. Caroline Herschel was not erased from astronomy in her lifetime. She is erased in this story, in which no such figure exists.

Does this matter? God knows I am used to historical romance treating my country as a fictional construct. There’s plenty of space in romance for inserting MCs into history as main actors, or playing with “suppose X happened, not Y”. And this isn’t presented as accurate history: the science society is entirely fictional. I get all that. I wouldn’t care if a book made its hero Prime Minister, in part because that’s obvious fictionalising, and I would go squealing mad for a book that put a heroine into Herschel’s place and gave the poor woman a HEA.

But this does bug me, because the counterfactual telling will leave readers who don’t already know about Herschel (which is probably most readers) under the impression that this landmark figure in the history of women in science never existed. And I could not quite get around erasing a woman scientist in order to make a point about the erasure of women scientists.

Eh. I loved everything else about this book: the writing, the romance, the diverse cast, the discussion of where craft meets art and art meets science. For me the rewriting of history went a step too far in this specific area; others may very reasonably feel that Historical Romance Britain is generally so entirely dissimilar to Actual Historical Britain that it's hardly fair to quibble at this instance. Up to the reader, I guess.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.5k followers
June 23, 2019

this was such a lovely historical romance, truly the best i've ever read. AND IT'S SAPPHIC? i know. we're thriving in 2019.

such a perfect blend of plot (astronomy, fighting the patriarchy!!) and romance. what really stood out to me was how each woman was so thoughtfully written and given her own unique set of characteristics, interests, ways of interacting. romances are hit or miss with characters and olivia waite really went ALL THE FUCK OUT making these ladies unique and interesting.

i also loved how supportive of each other they were in their career pursuits. it was *chefs kiss* perfect. 10/10 recommend this.

i will note though, that this is not a campy/fun historical but a slightly more serious jane austen angsty kind. so basically, perfect.
Profile Image for Joel Rochester.
61 reviews17.8k followers
September 25, 2020
It took me two weeks to read this because of my book hangover after The Poppy War trilogy and also moving to University but OH MY GOSH THE WAIT WAS WORTH IT.

This story is so brilliant, so wonderful. It truly speaks to feminism in the long eighteenth century and how women supported one another through societies and from a literary-historical perspective, it is truly beautiful and a new favorite book of mine.

All the stars and I cannot wait to reread this in the future.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,176 reviews98.9k followers
September 3, 2020

(This was such a thoughtful gift from Bethany!)

“We thought we were separate satellites, but we aren’t. We’re stars, and though we might burn separately, we’ll always be in one another’s orbit.”

I really loved this a lot! I especially loved all the different kinds of reclaiming in this story! Maybe all it took for me to fall in love with a historical romance was sapphics in STEM (and art)! Who would have guessed? :]

This was so feminist, so queer, so healing, and so beautiful. And I loved hearing these girls talk unapologetically about how so many other women's ideas have been taken all throughout history by men who then take the credit, too.

Trigger and Content Warnings: domestic abuse in the past, sexism, misogyny, talk of colonization, and talk of loss of a loved one in past.

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Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

Reading Rush 2020
Profile Image for Silvia .
642 reviews1,430 followers
June 25, 2019
I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via Edelweiss for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

I don't often read historical fiction but I've been trying to make exceptions for queer histfic, especially when they're f/f. And there's a special set of emotions I go through while reading, the most unpleasant of which is the fear that something bad will happen, that will make me recoil and make me want to put down the book not because it's not good but because of the unnecessary bad stuff (read: homophobia, transphobia, racism, violence against women, etc) that traditionally has been associated with historical fiction. It's realistic, you say, to which I say: ✨fuck off✨

This premise just so I can talk about what it did to me to go into this book and soon realize I needed to stop bracing myself for the stuff I mentioned above, because, amazingly, it kept not coming. And there's a lesson for histfic authors: you don't have to pretend that historical times weren't a cesspool of misogyny, homophobia and racism, but it's entirely possible to write a book for the people who have historically been hurt and marginalized that focuses on the good stuff instead of on the awful. This book is proof of that.

It's not that this book shies away from a lot of stuff including misogyny and the fact that the two women won't ever be able to live their relationship publicly. But it's written so delicately and carefully that as long as you know the content warnings you don't have to be scared that things are going to get bad. In fact, things get so, so good.

This is a romance that's certainly good and wholesome and that made me so happy. But the romance is almost secondary to the beautiful messages this book sends about art, science, and the presence and importance of women in both fields, and how this presence has always been there, whether we care to know it or not.

And, you know, this is a book about two cis, white women. But it manages to be intersectional and acknowledge issues that wouldn't necessary touch the lives of the two main characters, in a way that makes anybody feel welcome while reading. I can't stress enough how books like this are so important.

The relationship itself was very cute and while the MCs got together a little soon for my liking (with necessary later drama), I still liked everything about it. Catherine, the widow, had never explored her attraction to women and although she's older than Lucy she is kind of the more inexperienced of the two. I really liked that and it was so great to see them explore consent in every scene together. There's also a little bit of an age gap (I think it's about 10 years, Catherine is 35 and Lucy 25), which is not something I usually love in romance, but the fact that they're both relatively older and both have experience in love/dating, as well as their own interests and expertise made me enjoy it and not really care about the gap at all. They both had things to teach each other and they helped one other out in so many ways, not in a "love fixes everything" way but in a way where they both figured out who they want, who they deserve to be and that was so beautiful to see.

I also loved the writing style so much I actually got mad that I was reading this with a read-out-loud app because I couldn't highlight the best quotes. But that also means I definitely want to reread it sometime when time will allow me to, because it was so atmospheric and at times poetic, I just have to sit down and read it with my own two eyes.

Sometimes the endings of romance books can seem a little weak, but not this book's. It was actually one of the most satisfying endings ever (and I'm not only talking about the romance but the actual plot too). Everything came together so nicely and I might or might not have started bawling my eyes out while I was finishing washing the dishes because it was just THAT good.

So, if it's not obvious, I think if you are uncertain whether to buy this book or not you should definitely go for it. If you don't normally read historical romance, let this one be your exception. If you're a historical romance veteran, go for it without a doubt. If you're craving sapphic romance, this is your fix. You can thank me later and scream @ me about how good it is.

CW: misogyny, talks of homophobic mentality, mention of past nonconsensual sexual acts, mention of a dead parent

“f/f historical romance about a lady astronomer and an explorer’s widow” 👀👀👀👀👀👀

Wake me up when this is on netgalley Y'ALL I GOT APPROVED BY EDELWEISS THIS NEVER HAPPENS I'M THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,883 followers
July 16, 2020
4.25 Stars. This was lovely. In a few weeks the second book in Waite’s Feminine Pursuits will be released. While I wasn’t sure how connected the two books actually are, I wanted to read this, book one, first since I’m very careful about reading books in order. I’m glad I decided on this plan because this was a really enjoyable historic-romance.

This is exactly the kind of historical-fiction book that I love to read. I prefer them to be more feel good and less depressing, but while still having a lot of depth and not just fluff. That was the perfect way to describe this read and it was a real treat. I loved the mix of science and art and how these women were pushing to be heard in a time when they were not taking seriously. This was an uplifting read for sure.

I was happy with the romance. Both characters are likeable and I enjoyed the slow burn build up. I was also happy that the sex scenes were pretty steamy. I thought that this might be Waite’s first WLW romance so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m glad to say that they were well done and I think the character’s relationship grew stronger during those intimate scenes.

This book has been out for a while and there are plenty of reviews so I going to keep this short. I do want to say that not only did I enjoy this but I flew through the pages too. I was sucked into the world of old time England and I didn’t want the book to end. I have been in a rut with reading so-so books lately so this was a really nice change. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that book 2 will be just as good.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
June 25, 2019
Maybe more of a 3.5. I enjoyed this one, but I wanted more romance and less science! If you're someone that really enjoys science and math and stuff and are looking for a queer romance, you will probably LOVE this.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,884 reviews5,810 followers
March 13, 2021
*3.5 stars*

I'm getting so into lesfic recently, and I knew it was time to crack open my signed copy of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics. I was promised a geeky queer romance and that's exactly what I got!

I thought this book was lovely and I adored the feminist, academic feel of the story. The author really excited me because her characters were comfortable in their attraction, and I was happy to have a historical lesbian romance with little to no shame. The story had so many excellent components, but I think it needed some reworking to take it from good to great.

The story shone in the beginning and the end, but the middle... boy, it dragged. The plot needed to be tighter, zippier, because I felt my attention wandering at times. The academic plot line side of the story went on for a very long time, and I felt like the romance started taking a backseat. It picked up a lot towards the end, but I had to force myself to read through the middle. And, because I'm thirsty, I wanted even more heat.

A solid read for lovers of historical romance, but I'm excited to also see where else this author can take this series.

Profile Image for jade.
489 reviews310 followers
January 2, 2021
“it was as though someone had taken the case off the universe, and let the reader peer at the naked machinery that powered the stars.”

this was a perfect book to start the year with, and with perfect i mean tenderly romantic and hopeful while still remaining realistic regarding its historical setting.

it’s the story of two women who fall in love in 1816, and bring the sciences and the arts together through their respective skills as an astronomer and embroiderer. the novel very much puts the advancement of women in science and serious professions at the forefront, informing both main leads’ career choices as well as driving the plot forward.

lucy muchelney, an ambitious astronomer in her mid-twenties, is forced to face the fact that no one will ever accept her to take on any work now that her father -- whose name was on all of her charts, papers, and calculations -- has passed away.

but catherine st. day, the countess of moth, is prepared to pay patronage for lucy’s work on the translation of a revolutionary astronomy text even if the science society will not. widowed and always overshadowed by her late husband, she is ten years lucy’s senior and has seen a lot of the world -- but has never learned to truly live life for her own merit.

lucy and catherine are both wonderfully characterized in a way that was very fitting for both the time period and truly took their respective histories into account. i was very impressed by this, because though some events are very upfront -- such as lucy running away from her ex-girlfriend’s wedding -- others are much more subtle and carefully weaved into the narrative.

lucy has been aware that she’s had a preference for women for ages, and had a childhood sweetheart for a long time who broke up with her very unexpectedly. so though she is much more upfront about her attraction to catherine, she still very much has a broken heart and is in pain. specifically, the pain of never being able to offer another woman the security, safety, and permanence of a marriage.

meanwhile, catherine is still coming to terms with the fact that she might also be attracted to women while having been in an abusive marriage with a man for fifteen years. so she is much more skittish around lucy, yet she can’t help but want to finally shed the rigid way she’s been living for so many years.

i felt these two complemented each other SO well, and it’s been literal years since i’ve read a romance where two characters fit so naturally together. there’s never any annoying, tropey miscommunications -- they talk things through, and they’re very aware of each other’s boundaries and possible hurdles they need to overcome.

and if something does happen that pushes them apart for a bit, it makes total sense considering their personalities and what they’ve both been through. their relationship always remains a healthy, healing place where they can both grow into their best selves.

there are some heartrending bits in this about queerness and how to navigate relationships in a society that refuses to let you marry and where you need to keep your love a secret. but the novel still manages to be uplifting and hopeful about it all, and that’s how you do realism, folks!
“they don’t let you have anything whole, you know. if you don’t follow the pattern. you have to find your happiness in bits and pieces instead. but it can still add up to something beautiful.”
and gosh, the plot is actually good -- have i ever said that about a historical romance?

obviously, lucy is very busy translating a french astronomy text to english, and this is fully explored. it needs to be peer-reviewed by people they trust, the science society is also attempting to create their own rivaling translation, lucy’s brother gets involved, they’ll need to find someone who publishes it, there’s rumors and slander…

and the conclusion is amazingly satisfying. it delves into the utterly broken scientific system and how women’s contributions are pushed to the side again and again and again, while incompetent men get to do the coolest things purely thanks to the Big Boys Network.

lucy and catherine work together to create more space for women in science, as well as uncovering their own passions and wants in life. and seeing that develop organically alongside their romance is just… chef’s kiss, that’s what it is.

their discussions about science and art were also so evocative and beautiful. waite’s writing really shines here, and evokes a poetic sense of stars and galaxies that is only reflected in how tenderly lucy and catherine make love. all of it is so lush and beautiful that i could not help but sigh dreamily and blush as if this was the first romance i’d ever read.

© @oliviajoytaylor

it’s kind of like a john william waterhouse painting, really. or sappho being so overcome with longing that she cannot weave. in short: very dreamy and very gay.
“moonlight silvered the long line of lucy’s back as she sank to her knees—not submissively, as one conquered, but as a queen kneels at a coronation.”
so yes, i absolutely loved this. great characterizations, a beautiful romance realistic for its time period, and a compelling plot about science with a very decidedly feminist angle.

100% recommended if any of those things appeal to you.

4.5 stars.
July 6, 2022

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DNF @ 21%

Not too long ago, I tried to watch a sapphic movie on Netflix and I can't even remember what it was called, but it was clearly very high production value and it felt very posh. There were lots of close-up shots of hands grasping at things wistfully and stares from across the room and I WAS SO BORED. It was like being seven again and thrown into an itchy dress before being dragged somewhere unfun and warned, only, "BEHAVE."

This is basically the book equivalent of that. Lucy is a young aspiring astronomer who has just watched her female lover marry a man to better fit into society and reap the benefits of a heteronormative relationship. When her father dies, and the Countess of Moth makes an enquiry into who can replace her father's work, she shows up in person (basically uninvited) to claim that position for herself. And rather than let the little idiot go off unchaperoned, Catherine lets Lucy stay with her.

The writing is very nice but the romance was much slower than I'd like. To be fair, I'm not interested in women, but I think even if this is M/F I'd be bored, because I've had this issue with other books in Avon's more recent line of acquisitions, where the romance is too fluffy and just doesn't have that combustible, ever-so-slightly-toxic chemistry that I love so much.

I kept seeing this book on Bookstagram so I really wanted to love it, but this wasn't really my thing.

2 to 2.5 stars
Profile Image for tappkalina.
666 reviews415 followers
April 7, 2023
“So I started thinking: maybe being an artist is also really about the work. It’s not about standing up and trumpeting one’s own genius to a throng of adoring inferiors, agog with admiration. Maybe an artist is simply one who does an artist’s work, over and over. A process, not a paragon.”

What a perfect book to start a year with.
And what a surprise. I would have never thought it will have this huge impact on me.

Wow. The end made me cry, and bringing emotions out of me is really hard. But it gave me so much hope and anticipation for the future, which is... a miracle.

I NEVER read or watch anything historical, because every cell in my body loaths "the old times" and everything connected to it. I told this to my family many times before if they brought up the "good old days", that if I had to choose between living in the past or never being born, I would rather never want to be alive.

The only reason I read this, was because it's sapphic, literally everyone loves it and I wanted to know what the fuss is about.
So imagine my surprise when I knew few chapters in that I will love it.
Imagine my surprise when I actually did.
Imagine my surprise when the two main characters were kicking ass with politeness.
Imagine my surprise when I realised it's about women's empowerment.
Imagine my surprise when I cried at the end.

And don't even let me start on the quotes.
"Women’s ideas are treated as though they sprung from nowhere, to be claimed by the first man who comes along. Every generation had women stand up and ask to be counted—and every generation of brilliant, insightful, educated men has raised a hand and wiped those women’s names from the greater historical record."

She had not known until he asked the question how deep ran her horror of putting herself once more under a man’s legal, financial, and emotional control.

"She had depended far too much on the insolubility of her marriage license, it seemed. Not on her own merits at all.
Loving another woman didn’t bring any such luxuries [...] You could never sit back and let the official pieces of paper do the work for you, oh no: you had to choose the other person over and over again, every time. What’s worse, you had to trust them to choose you. It was horribly frightening—"

I guess this is why we should read out of our comfort zone.
Profile Image for Farah.
767 reviews90 followers
July 17, 2020
The audiobook is finally out and narrated by Morag Sims. Who is Morag Sims? Besides my favourite reader, she read The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley - a ‘the butler didn’t do it’ murder mystery and A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian, FF Historical Romance.

Jane Austen said "If a Book Is Well Written, I Always Find It Too Short"

Most of us said "I dread finishing a great book"

Partner said after hijacking the book from me and finishing it in a couple of hours "Absolutely great, let's get a copy for Mum"

I said, "Be still my beating heart, the butler's name is Brinkworth, how fetching!"

I think there’s truly something magical about a book if you are planning to reread it multiple times and confident that you will still be enamored with the story, characters, and writing for as long as you live. The Lady's Guide To Celestial Mechanics is a captivating historical about two individuals striving to belong and how they discover a love that is found in the most unexpected of places/time. As a closeted(only to my sister, Fbi3) HR reader/fan, I am proud to say that this book claims the top spot of all the HR that I have ever read since I was 13.

My favorite parts about this book - the rich and beautifully described historical setting and the leads. They go beyond the feistiness and gorgeous looks. It’s a gem to discover/read about 18th-century tale featuring strong, resilient ladies who can match their wit and passion with the gents and aren’t doormats. These women truly challenge the social decorum and hierarchy of their time, making them all the more refreshing and fun to read about. 

Beautiful - poetic dialogues, endearing/feisty characters, and high-quality writing, this book completely charmed me and evoked a wide range of emotions. There’s a mix of everything in here - science, art, sexism, embroidery, botanical, book publishing, friendship, women power and romance that makes this an entertaining and thrilling read. 

This is one phenomenally well-crafted love and self-discovery story has its own special place in my heart. Btw, I have the tailor's number on my speed dial for all sorts of clothing emergency so for me who still take an hour or more to insert the thread in the needle to go cuckoo over embroidery, does that tell you something?

Attention hoity-toity historical romance prude, neither Catherine nor Lucy are virgins, touched for the very 1st time and their intimate scenes will make Ms.Austen blush for days.

This story is exactly what I needed to get away from some of the terrible contemporary romance I've been reading, I really don't want this book to end even though the ending leaves me on the 7th cloud, I sincerely hope that Ms.Waite writes a sequel or a companion novel to follow this one. I’ll even settle for an extra chapter. This book - hands down, definitely make my list of best books of 2019 and I am looking forward to the audio next year - I really don't know if I should praise or curse Tere.

Ms.Waite's magnificent storytelling ability, to-die-for characters, and addictive/captivating writing style only encourage and inspires me to check out more books in such genre.

We ended our day with English Tea, he started on Lisa Kleypas and I began rereading Catherine and Lucy's tale. Highly recommended, please picture 7 stars instead of the boring 5 and thank you, Paradise Lost for this 💕
Profile Image for lov2laf.
714 reviews1,060 followers
September 3, 2019
Ah, this cover does so much for the book but mostly as a disservice. Yep, it gets the point across that this is a historical read with an f/f relationship...

But, I think it also may scare people away that aren't looking for a completely fluffy, harlequin, or overly dramatic romance for their read. Basically, it sells the quality of the story short because this is, in fact, a very high quality story with superb writing. Don't pass it up!

Where does the title come from? The romance is between an astronomer's apprentice, Lucy, and the widow of a scientist, Catherine. Astronomy plays a big part in the tale...and to tell you more is a spoiler.

What I really liked about the read was that we get the budding romance and lead up to the relationship but most of the book takes place AFTER the couple gets together and we see how they navigate some of the pitfalls of the past. It also reads as a feminist text, where we see our young scientist try to make her way into the male dominated scientific community and how the female characters are automatically discounted despite their talents and intelligence in just about every realm of society. How they react is compelling.

The unfolding romance is believable and the narrative includes a few steamy scenes with many fade to black scenes interspersed.

In general, the writing of the characters was great, dialogue was excellent, and the overall story was interesting and fun to follow. So many passages were beautifully written, I highlighted numerous ones.

Unless I know it's a sure thing, I'm hesitant to dip my toe into the historical genre when it's an f/f romance because so much can go wrong. Without spoiling things, do know this is a happy, more positive story and we get a satisfying ending.

Where the story fell down some was towards the ending. There's a conflict created that easily can be cleared up by a conversation...but at least the author didn't make us agonize for more than a day or two in the couple's world. And the ending wrapped up a little too simply and easily.

But, overall, this was a really good and satisfying read. Highly recommend. 4.4 stars.

P.S. Back to the cover. It's also misleading in another way. The leads have a ten year age gap and one of them, the one on the right, is actually curvy and a little plump while I took the younger to be more plain in looks. One of the leads is also bisexual. Those types of thing makes books and characters more interesting to me but I guess it's not as appealing on a cover.

Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews192 followers
June 25, 2019
4.5 stars

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics is an F/F historical romance set in England in 1816, and it's currently my favorite adult romance novel. It wasn't perfect, as I did struggle with the pacing as I usually do with this genre, but to read a novel like this one, about unashamedly happy queer women during the Regency era, was such a refreshing experience.

The main characters of this novel are Lucy Muchelney, an astronomer who runs away to London to translate a French astronomical text, and Catherine St Day, the widowed Countess of Moth, who accompanied her scientist husband on travels around the world and now lives in London, free of that emotionally abusive marriage.
I had never read about a romance with a ten-year age gap before (Lucy is in her mid-twenties and the Countess is 35, I think), so I was a bit hesitant, but I ended up liking these characters' dynamic - they were good at communicating and solving conflict; the moments of miscommunication never lasted long. I also thought that the sex scenes were well-written, that one bad simile notwithstanding.

One of the first things that stood out to me about this novel was the writing: it's so detailed and atmospheric that I wanted to make an aesthetic board for this book, and I would have were I able to do that kind of thing. From star charts to libraries, from embroidery to seashell art - there was so much beauty in this book, and I knew me and it were going to get along from the moment I knew that one of the heroines was a scientist and that the other was an artist who liked to embroider plants (and the Tapeinochilos ananassae is objectively a good subject, Catherine is right).

More than anything, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics is a story about art and science, their similarities and differences, and the ways women were excluded from them through time. It's not a book that tries to tell you which of the two is more important, it's a book that talks about the importance and beauty of science while talking about how men in this era did many unethical things in the name of it, it's a book that talks about the complexities of art while also pointing out that the forms of it that were associated with women (like embroidery) weren't seen as art at all.
I loved this message.

For what didn't work for me as much - well, the characters get together before the 40% mark, which is... really early for a romance novel, or any novel, one could say. And while I did appreciate how the conflict in this book wasn't internal to the relationship, the book did seem kind of aimless around the halfway point. The ending, however, made up for it.
Another thing that I could have done without was the part in which they called an Italian character "Contezza". Will Americans ever not disappoint me like that? (It's "Contessa", and even google translate can tell you that. "Contezza" means "knowledge" or "awareness" and even then, it's a word I've never seen anyone use.)
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,523 followers
March 19, 2020
I received an arc of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review

Original review posted on my blog : Word Wonders

CW: explicit sex scenes, talk of emotional abuse, mention of death, sexism, misogyny

This book refuses to leave my brain and I request a refund for emotional corruption. Thank you. No but seriously, I went into The Lady’s Guide to Celestial mechanics very cautious (as I’m new to the genre and author) but full of hope because it’s a romance between an astronomer and an embroiderer in the regency period and it’s sapphic. So it sounded like everything I’ve ever wanted. Indeed, it was everything I’ve ever wanted, and it absolutely blew me away. In fact, it hasn’t left my mind since the day I started it.

The writing in this one is so soft, it got a strong grip on my heart from very early on. It’s poetic and has this tenderness to it that makes it feel like a hug after a long rough day. It was perfect for the kind of story that unfolded within the pages of the book and it conveyed every scene and every emotion amazingly well. One thing about it that I absolutely cannot go without mentioning is the gown descriptions, they’re so lush and stunning, it made me want gowns of my own embroidered with stars, moons and galaxies.

Lucy is the main character the book opens up with. She’s gay, very much aware of it AND proud of it, in her late twenties and a brilliant astronomer. Only problem is, she lives in a society and time period where science were held out of women’s reach. I loved how sensitive and gentle she is, but also a badass who’s never afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what’s right and what she’s passionate about. She’s ambitious and determined to put her foot in the metaphorical door of sciences no matter the number of obstacles that are put in her way. At the beginning of the novel she’s heartbroken because of her lover who just got married without a heads up so she runs away to Catherine’s, who then becomes her patron, to lick her wounds.

Catherine is ten years Lucy’s elder and a widow. She’s a strong woman who’s light has been deemed a little by men who thought they owned her and knew better than her, especially her husband who was verbally and emotionally abusive. So I loved how through meeting Lucy she not only discovered her attraction towards women and explored her multi-gendered attraction, she also bloomed and gained confidence by having someone around to lift her up and show her just how amazing of a woman she is.

I literally wanted to fight every person who’s ever hurt either one of them? Because they deserved so much better than people who didn’t see their worth and mistreated them. But I liked how that led to such a soft tender love between them, that ran very deep and was built on strong foundations of trust, respect and honesty. I loved how much they support each other in their passions, Catherine willing to fund Lucy’s work and use her connections to get it out there, and Lucy getting Catherine to embrace her talent for embroidery and all the hard work she pours into it, because she kept discrediting herself due to internalized misogyny.

This book is cute and fluffy and steamy at times, the romance is the single softest, most gentle sapphic romance I’ve ever read, it turned me into mush. I JUST! The trust! And support! But also the way they think and talk about each other and TO each other…I’ve highlighted so many quotes and I know I’ve missed many more, it’s also very sensual. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics also goes beyond the romance and tackles important issues like the sexism in science and art circles in the regency era. It dug deep into how whenever and however a woman tries to prove herself as a good artist/scientist, her work is scrutinized, discredited, or even worse, stolen. And I loved the ending of it, how it showed women’s cleverness and resourcefulness and how nothing can really stop them from attaining their goals.

That ending was GREAT and had me both tearing up and cackling at 4am, if you’ve read it, you know exactly why. I can’t wait for the sequel and to see who it will be about and who it will be with. Fingers crossed the next heroine is the one I want her to be.
Profile Image for Leah.
407 reviews158 followers
November 3, 2020
I got this book from the library on a whim because I’m trying to read all of the 123 LGBT books my library holds. As with Seven Husbands (another library checkout) I’ve seen this book around but the cover never really did anything for me so I was never interested. Well I was in for a surprise with this one too. ‘The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics’ is beautifully written romance set in the Regency days.
I almost feel bad writing that because it was a lot more than that too. It’s about science and fashion and art and women who are clearly ahead of their time. Lucy and Catherine are brilliant women who are in a world stuck in a time where their lives are controlled by the men in their lives. Lucy is an astronomer who works with her father until he dies. Afterwards, she receives a letter from Catherine, the Countess of Moth, needing some assistance from her father. Lucy decides to take up Catherine’s offer rather than stay home and put her future in her brother’s hands.
Catherine, along with being a Countess, has traveled the world with her late husband (a scientist) and is a talented embroider herself. As a rich widow she isn’t as dependent on men as Lucy, but she’s still just a woman living in a world ruled by men. Her art can’t even be considered art because it’s just women’s work.
Their romance starts pretty early on in the story, it’s not a will they/won’t they type of story. It’s more about how they navigate their relationship and lives together after falling in love.
As I said before, it’s a beautifully written story. Well worth a read, even if historical romances aren’t your thing.
Profile Image for Corrie.
1,523 reviews4 followers
July 27, 2019
I loved, loved, LOVED The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and I am thrilled that author Olivia Waite is going to publish a second one in this series in 2020.

“Sisters are doin' it for themselves.
Standin' on their own two feet
And ringin' on their own bells.”

That’s pretty much the theme of this wonderful novel. Women with brains and the means and the wherewithal to follow their dreams and make it happen. Oh, there is a lot of struggle along the way because the story plays in Regency times and women were pretty much invisible then. The husbands, brothers and fathers ruled a woman’s world.

Waite gives us a perfect blend of plot - astronomy, fighting the patriarchy! and romance. The pacing is wonderful (you won’t get bored with the science I assure you) and the characters are wonderfully drawn. I loved them both! And boy, do they have fantastic chemistry together.

This is in the top of the sapphic historicals I’ve read so far and I highly recommend! Also look at the highlights to get a flavor.

f/f delightful explicit sexy times!

Themes: science!, women with brains, female astronomer, embroidery, misogyny, a very well written historical romance with oodles of erotic chemistry, what a bonus!

5 Stars
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
879 reviews515 followers
May 7, 2021
After the death of her father, Lucy Muchelney’s days as an astronomer seem over. After all, as her brother so delicately put it, who would want a female astronomer? Her lover’s wedding to a man is the last straw for the young woman, who runs away to London. Her not-very-well-thought plan is to convince the Countess of Moth to allow her to translate a famous French astronomer’s groundbreaking book. Catherine St Day, the countess, was content with never having to support another scientist after her self-centred fame-hungry husband passed away. She also never expected to fall for a younger woman.

I listened to the audiobook and I’m in two minds about the narration. I liked the narrator’s voice and pace, and I loved Lucy’s voice. I thought Catherine’s voice sounded too old at first but since she often seems to think herself to be old, it worked. The other female voices were good too, but the men’s voices often sounded oddly high and, for some, downright childish. The narrator offset this by varying accents, which I liked (except for the French accent but that’s on me, French accents make me cringe, even real ones).

I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters a lot, the mutual respect and admiration. It was nice to see them get together pretty early in the story and watch them navigate the newness of it, their surroundings, the artificial opposition of art and science. The best part was the way each helps elevate the other, believes in her and in her capabilities and that these capabilities should be widely appreciated. I liked that Catherine’s insecurity and Lucy’s well-founded ego weren’t enough to break them. There’s some conflict and miscommunication but both make sense and don’t last too long. The character growth, especially on Catherine’s part, is really heartwarming.

Don’t expect historical accuracy, it’s not that kind of book. The author uses the atmosphere associated with the period the story is supposedly set in and turns it into her own imaginary world. There’s a steampunk energy to it, an almost fantastical feel that makes me think it would make a very enjoyable and empowering movie. Lesbian historical movies seem to be trendy these days and it would be nice to have one with a happy ending for once.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
October 8, 2021
I FINALLY read this and I'm so happy that I did. I will say, this is really low angst (in regards to the romance) and our couple gets together fairly early on (around 30% in). I would have loved some more pining and angst in their romance. There was definitely some drama thrown in to add conflict to their romance, but I would have loved a bit more pining in the beginning between the two. I definitely think we need more sapphic historical romances, though, and I really loved the way this one was set up. Lucy was in love, but the woman she loved left her to marry a man and live a "proper life" in society. Now, she finds herself very drawn to Catherine, who is a widow and who needs a text translated that Lucy can help with. I did love that both women had individual lives and pursuits and were fighting for the rights of women in male spaces at the time. Definitely a historical romance I would recommend!
Profile Image for Lexxi Kitty.
2,013 reviews436 followers
January 31, 2023
This book had two things working in its favor when I saw it and purchased it before it was even released: 1) historical fiction/romance set in the time period I normally read (Regency period); 2) lesbians. Recently that seems to be mostly what I read, not everything, but mostly I seem to be reading lesbian romance fiction (usually set in contemporary times), and historical fiction/romance (usually involving heterosexual people set in the Regency era (books sometimes try to sneak in an earlier or later date, but technically the regency period took place from 1811-1820 when George IV (before he was George IV) ruled during the period mad king George was considered to be insane-ish (this being both George III and the guy who was king during the American revolution; occasionally it is historians who stretch things – saying, say, the period of 1795 to 1837 based on fashion and buildings and stuff; 1837 was the year Queen Victoria took the throne).

It annoys me sometimes when I spot how few historical fiction books involve lesbians (or, women loving women, since, as Queen Victoria is rumored to have said ‘there are no lesbians’ (heh, she might have said something similar, but my overall point is that the word came about much later in history, more like the later part of the 19th century (well, to describe two women loving each other; one source puts the start for that meaning for lesbian at about 1925). Hmm. Oops?

Right. It annoys me sometimes when I spot how few historical fiction books involve women loving women. For many reasons. 1) Going back to Queen Victoria: during that era, the Victorian age (and before though not certain how long before), male-male sex/love was literally against the law. Woman-woman sex/love? Not recognized (and/or not against the law). It was frowned upon; women had a certain lack of power over themselves; people in control, like say the head of the family, could put a lesbian family member into an insane asylum (as did happen). But there both was room for lesbians to live historically (as per nonfiction history books I’ve read, like, say, the biography I read about Aphra Behn from the 17th century (though she’d be something like bisexual . . . possibly pansexual)) and room for fictional books about said life.

There’s a much older woman in this book here, the one this review is actually supposed to be about, who notes that it was ‘much easier’ earlier in her generation. She was hinting at things and not bluntly stating things, but it is fairly obvious what she was referring to (women having relationships with other women and living together; which she did).

Here’s me whimpering about how few historical fiction lesbian romance books there are when I should just be reviewing the one I had to read, eh?

Right, so – this was a much deeper book than I expected.

Catherine St Day is a woman of 35, a Countess (in her own right, there’s something in the book about how the title passed to her instead of her husband for . . . reasons)), a comfortably wealthy woman, and a relatively recent widow (it’s been a few books between reading and review but I think it has been about 2 years, give or take 2 years since the husband’s death). Her husband was a scientist, an astronomer. Catherine, and I forget how she ended up with it, though I assume it has something to do with her dead husband, has a French book (a book from France written in French) that rounds up the highest level thinking about astronomy, that she wishes to have translated. And/or, something like that. She’d sent off a letter to the Muchelney family, as the father was a well-respected astronomer (who would put out star charts or something like that), asking if they might know of anyone who could help with the translation. Of note: you can’t just have any random person who knows both English and French fluently, you need someone who knows higher math and astronomy.

After some period of time after sending the letter, St Day receives a visitor, one Lucy Muchelney. Father Muchelney is dead, but Lucy helped him immensely in his work, and even, in the last few years, was the individual who did all the advanced math stuff. Plus she’s an astronomer in her own right. Oh, and she knows French. So, she’s offering herself as the translator. Please.

The book actually opens with Lucy’s point of view (of which there are two in the book, Catherine having the other POV), but since I wasn’t certain of her age, I started with Catherine (there’s an age gap, I am just not certain if it is closer to 10 years or closer to 5 years, there is some hints that Lucy is/was around 30; but there were also some hints that she might have been closer to 25). Lucy is one of those lucky (depending on viewpoint, etc.) who had a father who allowed her to study, to learn, to develop abilities normally denied to women. So Lucy spent her life living, breathing, and working as a scientist. Except . . . now her father is dead, her brother is threatening to sell her telescope, and she ‘forgot’ to actually include her own name on the science papers she put out under her father’s name (and/or collaboration). So she needs money and a way to continue being an astronomer. Or she’ll have to get some paid work of some kind, like as a companion or some such. That letter from St Day was something of a life-line, a way to try to stay herself, stay a scientist. So she risked everything and personally went to St Day’s house instead of sending off a letter (easier to plead her case in person).

I think I mentioned that this is a rather well rounded book. If I hadn’t yet noted that, well, it is. Fully formed characters (Lucy, Catherine, some rather dickish men, a few nicer counterpoint men, etc.); solid plot – romance and otherwise.

In terms of sexuality: Lucy has always been and known that she is one of those who much prefer other women as companions/lovers/etc. The book actually opens with her watching her love marry ‘some man’. Catherine, on the other hand, has had some vague feelings – even openly flirted with women, but hasn’t actually had things click in her brain regarding preferences for male or female life-partners. Though she’s had more than one male lover, more as that was what seemed expected (husband), and what she thought was freedom (the ‘affair’ after husband’s death). She hadn’t realized she might pick-up a female lover until she started having desires for Lucy – which might even be a better deal as they can’t suddenly do what that man did – propose to her then get angry when she turned him down (since women can’t marry each other).

I’ve lots of thoughts, trying to figure out what all to include and not include. Lucy faced family and professional problems because of dickish men (a somewhat controlling brother (who himself was one of those artist types who floated around from party to party, and tried, occasionally, to sell etchings); and scientist with this odd idea that women can’t be scientist (despite obvious examples to the contrary).

Hmms. There’s explicit scenes of a sexual nature which were, ‘even to me’, quite enjoyable.


Oh, the title of this book. It’s also the title of Lucy’s translation of that French book. Of which, Catherine had this thought when she’d read the beginning part: “It was as though someone had taken the case of the universe, and let the reader peer at the naked machinery that powered the stars.”

Rating: 5.5

July 16 2019
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,098 reviews676 followers
February 28, 2021

Yup, this would not be the time, when I FINALLY found a good F/F romance. I don't know why I keep being disappointed. I can find plenty M/M historical romance that I love, but so far, no F/F... The ratings for this book had me thinking that I had finally found it, but I am clearly not that easy to satisfy 🤷‍♀️

👎 What I Disliked 👎

Caroline Herschel: I listen to an amazing podcast named What's Her Name. This podcast is dedicated to telling the stories of some of history's most fascinating women, that have been forgotten or neglected. If you don't know this podcast - listen to it! I can pretty much guarantee that you are going to love it! Because of this podcast, I found this story very familiar. Caroline Herschel was an astronomer who lived in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Caroline assisted her brother in this work, but she also made many discoveries of her own. And she translated Newton's work from Latin to French to make it more accessible. It seems obvious to me, that Lucy is inspired by Caroline Herschel. Which is why it pissed me off, that the author never mentions Caroline Herschel at all. For a book that seems to promote the idea that women should be remembered for their scientific discoveries, this struck me as the height of hypocrisy.

Plot: I found the plot boring and without any real substance. There was no struggle, there was no push, there was no drive. I found myself spacing out a lot and not really paying attention because it simply didn't interest me.

Romance: The romance as well was very underwhelming. It felt so lacking in every way - no passion, no chemistry, no nothing. It kind of felt like the only reason why these two women got together was because of close proximity and lack of other options.

Ending: Honestly, this was just too easy. It was so flat and unsatisfactory with no justice of any kind.

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Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
623 reviews625 followers
June 25, 2019
Video Review

This book is the wholesome sapphic Historical Romance I was waiting for!

“We are not simply minds, trained like lamps on the world around us, producing light but taking nothing in: we are bodies, and hearts, and hopes, and dreams. We are men, and we are women. We are poetry and prose in equal measure. We are earth and clay, but we are all – no matter our shape – lit with a spark of something divine.”

I think when it comes to queer books in general but especially ones with a historical setting, it is so important to talk about how the queerness is handled. This could've focused on homophobia but THANK GOD it didn't. Yes, they have to hide their relationship but the people that do find out are all supportive and accepting. We definitely know the homophobic people exist but we don't need to read their words.
And hey, if it's your jam to read about (real) queer people in History and how they were treated, there's books out there for you too! I just don't think that queerphobia and tragic gay stories have ANY place in Romance novels!

“The point of fashion is not for gentlemen: they call it trivial because they cannot bear the thought of women having a whole silent language between themselves.”

With this being about Lucy being an astronomer, there's also a lot of misogyny and that definitely plays a bigger role in this book but even that is handled in a way that feels so bearable. While women are very blatantly excluded from the scientific field, there are so many hopeful moments and the men's behaviour is mostly portrayed in a comedic way instead of having them threaten the women.
It was great to see this book talk about women in science in general and that they did exist back in the day, it's just that they were hidden behind acronyms or their brother's/father's name. And this also had a side character that was a woman of colour in science!

“It was like every touch of Lucy's hand was a silken thread, painting a sunsrise one skein of warm light at a time.”

This book put a lot of emphasis on consent and that even if someone is verbally consenting, it is important to pay attention to their body language as well.There are so many different aspects of consent and a lot of them were brought up, like the fact that it doesn't mean anything that your partner has already been with someone for a long time, or that they're older. It was lovely to see Lucy, the younger woman, take care of Catherine, who had never been with a woman before.

It also talked about Catherine's former husband enjoying giving and receiving pain during sex but that Catherine never consented to it. I liked that the book talked about the fact that it's totally okay to enjoy it, it's just that all parties need to be consenting and there was a scene later that reinforced exactly that.

“She'd believed she could bear a widow's loneliness more peacefully than the misery of a bad marriage. But that was like choosing whether hemlock or belladonna was the better poison. In the end, they both sapped the life from you.”

I do think this had more potential for a slow burn romance and it definitely would've been a 5 star in that case. But then again, it felt so good for this romance to just kinda happen without much of the angst we're used to? It felt so very easy but in a good way.
There is obviously some angst later on and your good old misunderstanding trope but it honestly always feels refreshing to me to see those tropes used in "out of the norm" books.

“Then Aunt Kelmarsh grumbled something about the food, and Catherine laughed gently, and Lucy found herself back on earth. But a different earth than the one she'd walked just a few hours before. A wider earth, with more space to expand and grow into the best version of herself. She couldn't wait to begin.”

So overall, I am highly recommending this book. It is a really wholesome read, with a wonderful romance and an interesting, but hopeful, look into women in science back in the day. Please pick this up and show publishers that we want more sapphic Historical Romances!

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I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for gloria .☆゚. (hiatus sorry).
690 reviews1,781 followers
July 5, 2022
➥ 2 Stars *:・゚✧ dnf @ 50% (actually i put it on hold bc i'm weak and will probably finish it someday)

“Why cast about for artful phrases when there were much better things to do with one’s mouth?”

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━

You have no idea how badly I wanted to like this book 😞😔. I'm hoping Proper English fulfills my need for a good historical sapphic romance instead. who wants to buddy read it w me!

Anyway, to me, the characters were so bland, it actually snapped my heart in two bc how could you!!!!! sapphics betrayed me!!! do you know how many bad sapphic books i've read in a row, now???😪

Lucy. She's the shy gorl. She was bland idk. Ik she's supposed to be super genius, french spewing, astronomy smartass. But she was SO BORING. not a drop of freaky in her 😔😔. She's what i tend to describe as a character that is just for us to use as eyes to see out of. So ig that leaves Catherine to be the swoony one, but no.

Catherine. She was supposed to be an oldie but a goodie. But all these girls did was look at eachother and blush???? ZERO SEXUAL TENSION. had me mad... you fr could have pushed eachother into walls and stuff but NO. you just giggled...

now, the internal monologue had me banging my head into a wall to form some semblance of PACING with the clonks of my HEAD because this book has NONE. ohmygod, i don't mean to be unfeminist but this book had me reconsidering if these girls should have thoughts at all 😔😔.

but NO ✋✋ i had hope, because chandler said this was slutty.

BUT ALSO NO. BECAUSE BECAUSE the author didn't even describe their kissing properly 😐. no lip biting no tongue, if i remember correctly. just "slanting of my lips on hers", SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!

and then okok, some pair of legs was thrown over shoulders and pussies were ate but it lasted for TWO FUCKING PARAGRAPHS?????????????? THAT'S IT????????? oh hell nah.

AND THEN, there was another sex scene. and it was FADE!!! TO!!! BLACK!!!

this author better run and hide because i come equipped with weapons.

someone recommend me a book with hot girls thanks !

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━


all i want is an ff hr movie adaptation. i need to read this soon but hr's get kinda boring sometimes :( why are they so long. we should agree to make them all max 250 pages sorry !

i didn't like the cover so i remade one for fun!:

Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,208 reviews3,695 followers
February 9, 2022
This was so good!! What took me so long to read it?! If you're looking for a smart, steamy, swoony f/f historical romance you really need to pick this one up. It also has one of my favorite things which is a lady scientist, addressing how the contributions of women to the field were historically overshadowed, ignored, or even stolen by the men in their lives. AND it talks about the real importance of art and traditional women's work. There is an age gap, but the power dynamics are well handled. We have a wealthy bisexual widow and a younger lesbian astronomer, and I just loved their relationship. Pick this up if you haven't yet!
Profile Image for Bugs.
250 reviews51 followers
August 29, 2019
Thanks to Farah's exceptional review which I 100% agree after reading it, I don't think I need to add anything else. Instead I'll put her review here for everyone to read. :)

Basically, this book is Austen-esque but with loads of brilliantly described intellectual pursuits by women, and it's a bloody lesbian romance!! Written with zest, sensuality and commanding fervour!! Also, FYI, Lucy's past really reminded me of Anne Lister whose long-time lover did the same thing to her (no, not Ann Walker), like what Pri did to Lucy. See, " Gentleman Jack " didn't really focus on that part of Lister's life before she met Walker. There was a BBC film a few years ago, " The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, " which chronicled her heartbreak. I implore those of you who're fans of " GJ " already to perhaps search for that film and watch it. Brilliant performances.

Back to this book, it was the science, art (I have zero interest and knowledge about embroidery but the way Waite described the sensuality emitted from its intricate threads, patterns, and what not, I could literally see the flow of its beauty through the many different knots and stitches!), botany, it was the conversation, debates and discussions between two women, amongst other women, and the narrow-minded male scientists (some not even qualified to be an arse-wiper to a scientist, let alone being given that title just because of their gender!) that truly brought out the sheer brilliance of this tale and Waite's graceful writing! I'm partial to anything academic and intellectual. So, my utter enjoyment of this book was affected by that exploration of the woman's intuition, determination, intelligence and perseverance. Female power! The romance was utterly endearing and very Austen-esque. Or you might even say Bronte-like, too.

Anyway.... as a fan of literature the likes of Austen, Dickens, Eliot, Bronte, et al, especially Austen, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this historical fic enthusiastically! It's historical but not stuffy, in fact Waite's flow was filled with contemporary flavour. So no worries, there!

A MILLION THANKS, Ms. FARAH!! Once again, you nailed it and I approve!! :D Cheers, mate!
Profile Image for Aamina.
71 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2020
You know the saying 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' ?

Yeah.. That one applies here. Looking at the cover, I honestly didn't think I'd get to experience a book this rich. And am I ever so glad to be proven so wrong! Yes, the reviews were all very encouraging but something else always came up. It took a well placed offer or threat, depending on the way you look at it (Farah's a genius at nudging 😂) for me to sit myself down and read it.

Brilliant, ambitious, all around kind Lucy was the perfect partner for the stalwart, steady, thoughtful like you wouldn't believe Catherine. But that perfection was not at all easily achieved. They're both going through seperate insecurity phases. It's not something that just vanishes the moment they become a couple. There's a line in the book that perfectly sums it up alluding to the fact that it's not all glitter and shine in love.. "you had to choose the other person over and over again, every time. What’s worse, you had to trust them to choose you. It was horribly frightening" 🙋🏽‍♀️ Yep, It's hella frightening.

That's just the romance part. But this book is so much more than a beautiful love story. There's the thought provoking subject of cultivating one's own individuality irrespective of your capacity to love the other. Balance of power in a relationship, science v/s art, feminism in the Regent era.. The way all of these subjects are seamlessly woven together is the reason why reading this book had been a rich experience.

It's also a feel good book that will make your blood boil, laugh gleefully and smile through the pages.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,120 followers
December 10, 2019
The more romance I read, the more I start to learn about the tropes. I haven't read a lot of male/female regency romance but apparently this counts as regency, between a countess widow and a female astronomer who is also skilled at translating. There is a thread in this story about artistic embroidery that may have been my favorite part (and not just one character doing it!) I then read an overall positive but fact-checking review from another romance writer, KJ Charles, who pointed out that in this era there was a quite famous lady astronomer in the UK, and she is never mentioned in this book. So perhaps the historical fiction elements are more fantasy than factual, but it is still an enjoyable read. I also like the beautiful cover even if it doesn't really match the character descriptions.
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