The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics
by Olivia Waite
Series Feminine Pursuits
Genre Adult Historical Romance & LGBTQ Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date June 25, 2019
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?
It wasn’t until Lady Moth set the bundle of cloth down on the desk that Lucy realized: one, she had been staring, and two, there was quite a lot going on with that bundle of cloth. It was deep navy blue, rolled tight, and looked very fine indeed. “What is this?” Lucy asked.
Lady Moth sat in her usual spot on the sofa, but the way she leaned forward and the spark in her eyes had Lucy’s pulse racing with anticipation. “A little something I’ve made,” the countess said. She smiled, not without some anxiety. “A gift.”
Lucy sat straight up in astonishment. “A gift for me?”
Lady Moth’s laugh was always soft, as if it had been packed away in an attic for too long, unused. “Who else?”
Lucy shook her head, feeling silly, and reached out a hand. The fabric unrolled and revealed itself to be a generous shawl, and Lucy choked back a gasp.
She’d thought at first it was an ocean blue, but there in front of her was spread the whole night sky.
Each edge of the shawl glittered with comets, icy silver spheres made of spiking stitches, a few with long wispy tails of single strands stretching out toward the center of the fabric. Arranged in a line they formed shapes like classical columns, or arches on some Palladian monument. Between these edges was a vast, starry expanse, tiny glass spangles scattered across the blue like diamonds on velvet. Lucy’s trained eye picked out the familiar patterns at once—there was the boxy bulk of Ursa Major, and spiky Cassiopeia the jealous queen, and the broad shoulders of Orion the hunter. She looked back again in wonder at the comet border, marveling at the subtle color variation in the silk threads. Silver and white and gold and even a hint of palest green, each thread as precisely placed as a brushstroke on a portraitist’s masterpiece, giving the impression that each comet was still somehow streaking across the nighttime sky on their impossible journey.
She wanted to wrap the whole thing around herself like armor—and oh, wouldn’t it make the most of all her gowns in their simple lines and mourning colors? Her lavenders and greys would look restrained and mature, rather than simply undecorated.
“Do you like it?” Lady Moth asked.
Lucy looked up, English and French and the language of astronomy spinning madly together in her brain. “I am trying very hard not to cry on you again,” she stammered, “but it’s difficult—because this may be the single loveliest thing I have ever seen.”
Oh, this book was just lovely.
Catherine and Lucy’s story was delightful from start to finish–I loved how the two of them supported each other and helped each other to be their best selves, each finding the truth about the other that they themselves didn’t know on their own and might never have even realized. I’ve only done nominal embroidery myself and don’t really have much interest in astronomy, but goodness, I found myself caring deeply about both topics while reading this book, just because the characters themselves were so passionate about them.
And oh, how I wish this were a picture book, because the descriptions of Catherine’s designs…? I can’t even.
It was all I could do not to stand up and cheer toward the end, when the big reveal was made (*ahem* I might have been at work…) and the last chapter still has me smiling. I may never stop.
Bring on book two, please!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
OLIVIA WAITE writes historical romance, fantasy, science fiction, and essays. Every first Thursday of the month she reviews romance old and new in the Kissing Books column for the Seattle Review of Books. When the birds are propitious, she sends out the Oliviary: a newsletter full of links, recommended books, and great pieces from all over the great wide internet.
You can reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter, or follow one of her glorious Pinterest boards. To pitch books for review, write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To celebrate the release of THE LADY’S GUIDE TO CELESTIAL MECHANICS by Olivia Waite, we’re giving away a bound manuscript copy of the book to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a bound manuscript copy of The Lady Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 7/9/2019 @ 11:59pm EST.