My rating: 5 stars
Synopsis from Amazon:
“At once the easiest truth to know, and the hardest to realise”
Thea Morell, Georgian heiress and eligible lady, is not normal. At least, that’s what she has come to believe. She loves nothing more than spending hours at the study of natural history, collecting fossils, insects, dead fish, bones and even the odd spider. Up to now, she has held off her mother’s entreaties to marry, but this year something has changed and the pressure is growing.
While observing and experimenting in her search for scientific truth, Thea also begins to acknowledge a truth about herself. A most inconvenient one which sparks at the lips of the electrical venus and bursts into flame in the presence of the very proper Lady Eleanor Harrington. Has her obsession with the male-dominated world of natural history caused the unnatural tendencies she can’t seem to control? And more importantly, what is she going to do about it?
Readers who enjoy books by Julie Cohen, Sarah Waters, Olivia Waite and Marianne Ratcliffe may enjoy this.
Suzanne Moss is a historical researcher fascinated by women’s historical journeys through science and sexuality.
This book will take you on a journey of discovery through Georgian Society at the shoulder of Thea Morell, who captured my heart in half a page and did not let go for the rest of the novel. Extremely well written you will find yourself absorbing botanical facts as well as enjoying utterly delicious sapphic interludes (if you do not like sex scenes in books then this may not be for you) and rooting for Thea to find a way to make it all work.
This is not a book to inhale at speed, even though you’ll probably want to. It is a book to sink into and savour, so you experience the world and the work that has gone into making it so seamless and real. It covers a lot of ground, both real and metaphorical, but at no point does the text feel laboured or fraught. It felt, to me, like the best sort of mix between Jane Austen’s observations of life and the breadth of topics in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, although without the fantastical element.
It is a proper slice of Georgian romance, beautiful balanced between the main story and the sub plots, all of which shape the story arc perfectly. The characters are well written and whilst a few may appear at first to be caricatures you’ll soon see them grow and round out as the story progresses. Yes, even the ones you’ll love to hate.
The ending is bitter sweet but satisfying and there are some wonderful moments when, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to punch the air in triumph. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I am extremely happy that Suzanne is already working on the second book in this series.
If you have Kindle Unlimited then you can start reading right away, if not it’s a snip at £4.99 . Either way you can find it here.