A Lady's Formula For Love by Elizabeth Everett

Monday, February 8, 2021


by Elizabeth Everett
Series: The Secret Scientists of London #1
Genres: Historical, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication Date: February 9th 2021
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

I rediscovered my love for historical romance back in December when I decided to take a break from review copies and went back to re-reading some of my comfort reads. I'm not sure what it is about this particular subgenre that draws to me but some of my all-time favorite novels are historical romances. So I came into the new year excited about the prospect of reading new historical romances, especially debuts. One such book I was looking forward to was A Lady's Formula for Love.

Set in Victorian London, the book focuses on Lady Violet, a young widow who has founded a secret society for women who wish to pursue scientific endeavors. This secret club of hers is not only a gathering for women of various scientific interests and backgrounds but also holds laboratories of all kinds. As a STEM girl who spent quite a bit of time in labs, this delighted me. Though several women significant roles in the progress of science back in the day, they were significant barriers to their progress, namely the patriarchy.  I haven't read many historical books with heroines who are actively practicing science so I was excited about the prospect here. Violet was the perfect heroine to open up this series. She was this eccentric, witty, and highly intelligent woman who was clearly passionate about the work she was doing. Ofen, she would disregard her own safety, but it was clear that this scientific society of hers was her priority. It's always fun for me to read about characters who get totally nerdy about science, so I really enjoyed being inside Violet's head. Also, Violet was just plain likable, you know? She was genuinely kind to others and saw the good in people, so it was impossible not to like her as a protagonist.

When it appears that Violet's life is in danger, her stepson hires Arthur, to be a bodyguard. Undeniably, sparks fly between the two as they forced to interact with each other. You all know how much I love a stoic, grumpy hero. Even better when they are broody, intense, and protective Scottish bodyguards. And Arthur is all of that. He has his reasons for being a rather solemn character, all stemming from the childhood trauma of having lost his family at a young age. He left Scotland so he could throw himself into work, but it was clear that he was still battling with his grief and guilt over the loss of his family. I loved watching Arthur trying to figure out the women in the scientific society. He was baffled by them and their love for explosion-inducing experiments, but he quickly grew attached to them and was never judgemental.

As Arthur and Violet are brought into each other's circles, he tried his best to resist his attraction to her. After all, he was meant to be protecting and guarding her life. The chemistry between the two was hard to ignore, however. The romantic elements in A Lady's Formula for Love worked for me. There was a sweetness underlying the physical heat between the two. They were so gentle and soft around each other, but also brought all the steam in the bedroom scenes - exactly how I like my romances in books! 

A Lady's Formula for Love also had an underlying mystery thread that gave the book a sense of danger - as I mentioned, someone is trying to kill Violet and steal her work. I was left surprised and quite frankly, a little heartbroken, by the revelation of who was behind it all. I'm curious to see how Elizabeth Everett will handle this character in the future because it was definitely an interesting choice and their motives made sense. My only minor complaint about A Lady's Formula for Love would be that I initially had a hard time keeping track of the secondary cast. There were quite a few of them and my brain isn't always good with names. However, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the overall romantic arc and by the end, I did have a good grasp of the entire cast.

I had a great time reading this fun romance debut and I'm looking forward to reading more from this series. If you're keen to try a new historical romance author, I'd encourage you to pick up A Lady's Formula for Love.

Relationship disclosure: Elizabeth Everett and I are mutuals on social media.

CWs: attempted murder, deaths from illness

Hi, friends!

I'm excited to welcome Elizabeth Everett on the blog for an interview. I really enjoyed her answers to my questions and I hope you guys do.

Can you tell us a little bit about your two main characters, Violet and Arthur, in A LADY'S FORMULA TO LOVE?

I have such a soft spot for Arthur and Violet. Violet is a woman who puts others first even at the expense of her passions. We all know women like Violet. Many of them are mothers, women who work all day to support their families and put their dreams off until everyone’s else’s are satisfied. However, Violet is not a pushover nor is she a martyr. She recognizes her tendencies and tries hard to find a balance. Arthur is a man who has also lived for others, but not anyone of his own choosing. He has returned to England knowing that everything he once cared about is gone forever. When Arthur and Violet meet, something in them recognizes that they are two broken pieces that together are made whole. It just takes a few explosions, shenanigans, and runaway tarantulas to get them to where they need to be.

I thought the idea of a secret society of lady scientists was so clever and I loved how it was incorporated into the story. Where did the inspiration of a secret society of lady scientists come from?

While there were ladies clubs in England, they did not come into being until the end of Victoria’s reign. I took the idea, however, and placed it in the beginning of the era, which made it automatically suspect, because the early 1840s were a backlash against the excesses of the regency. Women were certainly not supposed to be engaging in adventures in a women’s only club. Although this book was written before the pandemic, science was still under assault in our country in 2019 which gave me the idea of making the women in this club scientists. 

In your biography, you mention a love for rule-breakers. While doing your research for A LADY'S FORMULA TO LOVE, did you encounter any interesting rule-breakers in the Victorian era?

The Victorian era spans sixty years that saw England’s influence rise across the globe and the end of the industrial revolution which ushered in unprecedented population growth, technological advances, and political upheaval. In so many ways this period was the golden age of rule breakers because everything could and did change, including the social order. Individuals that have always fascinated me from this period are Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman doctor, Florence Nightingale the British woman who changed not just nursing but women’s participation in the workplace overall, and Caroline Norton who changed the child custody laws and divorce laws in Britain.

If Violet and Arthur could time travel, which historical period do you think would suit them the best and what would they get up to?

 I don’t know that Violet and Arthur would choose to travel forward in time. I think they both would understand that each time period presents its own challenges. Violet in particular relishes all that lays undiscovered before her but at the same time appreciates the introduction of indoor plumbing. Maybe about forty years in the future when electricity became common in British homes so that she doesn’t have to muck about with candles and oil lamps anymore.

What can we expect from the next book in the series?

Book Two in the Secret Scientists of London Series will feature Letty Fenley, a mathematician, who we met in book one. Letty is a pioneer in numbers theory and her work is based on the work of Sophie Germain. There will be more appearances from the club members, including Lady Potts and her fuzzy little friends, Grantham will be back to annoy everyone, and there will be at least one explosion. Maybe more. I’m still revising. Because really, is there such a thing as too many explosions? I think not. 

Many thanks to Elizabeth for taking the time to answer my questions.

Have you read any books with STEM heroines in a historical setting?
Let me know in the comments below!

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