A Lady’s Formula for Love

Berkley. (Secret Scientists of London, Bk. 1). Feb. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780593200629. pap. $16. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Lady Greycliff, Violet Hughes, established Athena’s Retreat, a laboratory facility masquerading as a proper ladies’ club, to provide fellow female scientists with a safe place to work. Unfortunately, someone is intent on halting Violet’s most recent project, bringing violence to Athena’s Retreat. Arthur Kneland, a bodyguard assigned by Violet’s stepson to protect her, keeps his distance while solving the mystery of who wishes Violet harm. But will a mutual passion building between the two distract Arthur from his mission? Violet and Arthur’s sexual chemistry initially feels abrupt rather than natural, and while Violet’s eccentricities provide many entertaining moments, they diminish the suspenseful tension. Arthur appears domineering at times, clashing with Violet’s independence, one of several scenarios highlighting Victorian views of empowered women.
VERDICT Despite some shortcomings, Everett’s Victorian-set debut keeps things light and amusing, depicting a world in which class and gender dictate everyday decisions, while spotlighting several women and one transgender man who have chosen to rebel against such strictures.
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