THE LADY’S GUIDE TO CELESTIAL MECHANICS
SERIES: Feminine Pursuits #1
REPRESENTATION: FF Relationship
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Historical Romance
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?
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is a wonderfully written historical romance.
There is little to say about the romance side of it — apart from that it’s really well done. Both characters are well-rounded and complicated and fully fleshed-out. Lucy and Catherine’s dynamic with each other is wonderful: it’s beautifully paced and supportive. While each has their own anxieties and insecurities that affect the progress of the relationship it doesn’t have that horribly “set-up miscommunication” feel.
Personally, what I loved the most about The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics was the focus on aspects of women’s’ lives in this time that we don’t get to examine often.
One of the central themes of the novel is the fact that, while women have always been involved in what are often traditionally seen as masculine pursuits (such as science and art), their contributions are often overlooked or even stolen by their male counterparts.
I really loved Lucy, her devotion to astronomy and her dedication to writing her translation but I was equally interested in Catherine’s pursuit of her art. She’s always been her husband shadow, but she’s a talented needle-worker and designer. She feels that her talent is something simply frivolous, not the ‘real’ artwork that she sees men proudly displaying in exhibits. It’s interesting and tragic that this is still often the case today. Watching Catherine come to see these social constructions — and where she herself falls within them — was a wonderful journey.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is an amazing novel. It’s got wonderful characters, a beautifully developed romance and an intriguing plotline, all framed within a complex world in which these women survive and express themselves.
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