Monday, June 08, 2020

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite, romance set in the scientific world of Regency England

This superb novel, set during Regency times, unveils the love story between two intelligent women who, in different ways, struggle to be taken seriously by the male scientific establishment. 

In 1812 Lyme, England, Lucy Muchelney is crushed when her lover, Priscilla, weds a man for financial reasons. Lucy had been the uncredited collaborator of her late astronomer father, handling his calculations and correspondence. 

When she receives a letter from Catherine St. Day, Countess of Moth, who seeks a translator for a French astronomy masterwork, Lucy, confident in her mathematical and language skills, pays a visit to Lady Moth in London. In the widowed Catherine, a skilled embroiderer whose artistic talents were stifled by her boorish husband, Lucy discovers a benefactor and kindred spirit, but their dissimilar personal histories complicate matters. 

Beyond the delicately rendered romance between the more forthright Lucy and Catherine, a gently bred aristocrat, Waite gives full voice to the unfair prejudice that women faced. She also provides a multi-ethnic Regency world that comes alive with scientific curiosity. 

Highly recommended for fans of both Remarkable Creatures and Gentleman Jack, this first in the Feminine Pursuits series deserves widespread attention.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics was published by Avon in 2019; I reviewed it from Edelweiss for February's Historical Novels Review. If you're a historical fiction fan looking for a new romance to read for Pride Month this June, it's a good place to start. The author has a second novel in the series, The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows, out later this summer.


  1. I bought this last year because I heard such good things about it! I need to actually read it, especially before the next book comes out.

  2. Based on the publisher's blurb, it looks like book 2 isn't directly connected to this one, if that helps! I have an ebook copy but haven't read it yet.