ROMANCE

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows

Avon Impulse. (Feminine Pursuits, Bk. 2). Aug. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780062931825. pap. $6.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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Widowed Agatha Griffin has her hands full running the printing business she and her late husband established, training her apprentice Eliza, and worrying that her son Sydney’s political ideals will get him arrested. She certainly doesn’t have time to cope with the swarm of bees that have made a home in her Melliton warehouse. Luckily, her mother-in-law has just the professional to recommend: local apiarist Penelope Flood. Penelope is used to the solitary life of a married woman whose husband is away at sea for years at a time, content to live in her childhood home and tend the village hives—yet after rehousing Agatha’s bees, Penelope strikes up a correspondence with the London printer. As England buzzes with the scandal of King George IV’s attempt to divorce popular Queen Charlotte, the two women’s mutual desire blossoms and they dare to dream of a shared future against the backdrop of parental and business responsibilities, as well as Penelope’s unorthodox matrimonial commitments.
VERDICT Once again, Waite (The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics) offers up a tale of women falling in love within a richly realized world of relationships and responsibilities, including ties to a constellation of queer people living and loving in the fissures of social convention.

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