Title: The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics
Author: Olivia Waite
Publisher: June 2019, Avon Impulse
Blurb: As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.
Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.
While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?
When I saw this book existed, I immediately put it on hold at the library and continually refreshed the page to check my hold status over the weeks, waiting for this book to become available and constantly wishing I wasn’t so far down the list. I’ve always wanted to read more lesbian romances, but I never seem to find them as historical or fantasy romances–especially not as the main pairing (this is changing, thank goodness, but it’s not something I usually came across growing up). So when this unapologetically marketed it, I was ecstatic.
When it finally came into my possession, I didn’t hesitate and devoured the entire thing in three sittings? A good thing, too, because when I went to turn it back in at the library, it already had nine additional holds and I didn’t want to be the one to slow them down.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics didn’t disappoint, as it felt like everything I’d been missing from romance literature (and it’s a genre that I fiercely love). I loved how we had women fighting for their place in society and the twist at the end? Oh wow, that was just too good. I wish I could see the cinematic rendition of such a reveal, just to see the sorry look on his face and then to flip him the bird all the while. I was fascinated about the astronomy side of things and I really loved seeing Catherine find her niche, too. I also loved reading about a romance with a bit of an age gap, something I’m not used to reading. And with Lucy having confidence while Catherine needing a bit of guidance? That was fantastic, too.
I also thought the romance itself was very well-written (even though, oddly enough, I was a little more invested in Lucy’s publication plot, when usually with romances, it’s the other way around). That said, when we reached a point where the romance experienced its first tension, I definitely was speed reading to try and get past that point, because I definitely wanted Lucy and Catherine to make it, because they both deserved this love that before, they didn’t think they’d ever find.
All around, I thought this was a really wonderful book. I am very excited to see what else Waite writes in this series and hope I get to see more lesbian fiction proudly marketed as just that.