Tuesday, February 8, 2022

ARC Review: A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett

A Perfect Equation

Elizabeth Everett
Series: The Secret Scientists of London (Book 2)
Publication: Berkley (February 15, 2022)

Description: How do you solve the Perfect Equation? Add one sharp-tongued mathematician to an aloof, handsome nobleman. Divide by conflicting loyalties and multiply by a daring group of women hell-bent on conducting their scientific experiments. The solution is a romance that will break every rule.

Six years ago, Miss Letitia Fenley made a mistake, and she’s lived with the consequences ever since. Readying herself to compete for the prestigious Rosewood Prize for Mathematics, she is suddenly asked to take on another responsibility—managing Athena’s Retreat, a secret haven for England’s women scientists. Having spent the last six years on her own, Letty doesn’t want the offers of friendship from other club members and certainly doesn’t need any help from the insufferably attractive Lord Greycliff.

Lord William Hughes, the Viscount Greycliff cannot afford to make any mistakes. His lifelong dream of becoming the director of a powerful clandestine agency is within his grasp. Tasked with helping Letty 

safeguard Athena’s Retreat, Grey is positive that he can control the antics of the various scientists as well as manage the tiny mathematician—despite their historic animosity and simmering tension.

As Grey and Letty are forced to work together, their mutual dislike turns to admiration and eventually to something...magnetic. When faced with the possibility that Athena’s Retreat will close forever, they must make a choice. Will Grey turn down a chance to change history, or can Letty get to the root of the problem and prove that love is the ultimate answer?

My Thoughts: The second book in The Secret Scientists of London stars Miss Letty Fenley, mathematician, and Lord Greycliff whose stepmother began the club. 

Letty is both a mathematician and a romantic. Her romantic nature led her to an indiscretion with a man who promised to marry her but was kept from doing so by his father Earl Melton who happens to be Grey's godfather and his boss at an independent organization which works with the Crown. Siding with his godfather, Grey said some extremely hurtful things to Letty who was only seventeen at the time. It created an enmity between them.

Grey suffered from epileptic seizures when he was a child which led to extreme treatments and social isolation since his father looked on the seizures as some sort of moral failing on Grey's part. His godfather supported him and encouraged self-discipline, dispassion and an abstemious lifestyle to overcome the problem. Grey's gratitude colors his attitude to his godfather.

When the club becomes a target for men who believe that a woman's only place is in the home, Grey is torn between the club and his godfather's wishes. Earl Melton wants to give over the directorship of his organization to Grey and retire, but one of the leaders of the group targeting women is also vying for the position. 

This story was a romance. However, it's strongest theme seemed to be social commentary and a description of all the various social changes taking place in Victorian society. Suffrage, but not women's suffrage, and the shifting of population from the country to the city, and the rise of a middle class with both money and opinions dominated the story. Also, class divisions between the aristocracy and those not aristocrats also had a place since Letty was a member of the growing middle class while Earl Melton and Grey were both aristocrats. 

I enjoyed the romance as Letty and Grey learn more about each other and come to love each other.

Favorite Quote:
No, I WOULDN'T like to stay here and fend off tarantulas and madwomen. Absolutely not, Grey said.

In his head.

"Of course, I do not mind staying at Beacon House and helping to oversee the club," Grey said.

Out loud.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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