❮BOOKS❯ ✯ A Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics Author Olivia Waite – Peakpopa.info
I loved, loved, LOVED The Lady s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and I am thrilled that author Olivia Waite is going to publish a second one in this series in 2020Sisters are doin it for themselves.Standin on their own two feetAnd ringin on their own bells That s pretty much the theme of this wonderful novel Women with brains and the means and the wherewithal to follow their dreams and make it happen Oh, there is a lot of struggle along the way because the story plays in Regency times and women were pretty much invisible then The husbands, brothers and fathers ruled a woman s world.Waite gives us a perfect blend of plot astronomy, fighting the patriarchy and romance The pacing is wonderful you won t get bored with the science I assure you and the characters are wonderfully drawn I loved them both And boy, do they have fantastic chemistry together.This is in the top of the sapphic historicals I ve read so far and I highly recommend Also look at the highlights to get a flavor.f f delightful explicit sexy times Themes science , women with brains, female astronomer, embroidery, misogyny, a very well written historical romance with oodles of erotic chemistry, what a bonus 5 Stars Maybe of a 3.5 I enjoyed this one, but I wanted romance and less science If you re someone that really enjoys science and math and stuff and are looking for a queer romance, you will probably LOVE this. 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 AwayCatherine 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 TestedWhile 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 love story is a delightful f f romance set in Regency England 1816 The romance is slow burning, passionate, caring, and intense The women are both scarred by failed relationships, and their awkwardnesses and insecurities inform their behaviour, which is very real if a bit frustrating at times for the reader but even when they don t believe in their own relationship or the other s love, they still have one another s backs It s a glorious depiction of solidarity and female strength and kindness that I really enjoyed If you re reading for the romance, this is a very engaging and likeable story The astronomy plot is about the male bias and oppression that stands in the way of Lucy s astronomy career Lucy s brother tells her nobody is going to employ a woman as an astronomer When she goes to the science society meeting, men laugh at the idea of a woman astronomer and debate firstly whether women are capable of astronomy, secondly whether they would offer any particular benefit to astronomy The plot arc peaks with Lucy s discovery that women have been erased from the history of astronomy, depriving them of credit and her of the role models she needed.The thing is, at this time, Caroline Herschel sister of William, the discoverer of Uranus was a famous and respected astronomer, in regular correspondence with the major names across Europe She discovered eight comets, of which the first made the newspapers as the first lady s comet Her paper on it was the first ever paper by a woman to be read to the Royal Society 1787 and she became Britain s first professional woman scientist when George III paid her a meagre salary She was active as an astronomer in 1816, and would go on to be awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society a few years later A real Lucy would unquestionably know her work, as would all the men of the astronomy society Caroline Herschel was not erased from astronomy in her lifetime She is erased in this story, in which no such figure exists Does this matter God knows I am used to historical romance treating my country as a fictional construct There s plenty of space in romance for inserting MCs into history as main actors, or playing with suppose X happened, not Y And this isn t presented as accurate history the science society is entirely fictional I get all that I wouldn t care if a book made its hero Prime Minister, in part because that s obvious fictionalising, and I would go squealing mad for a book that put a heroine into Herschel s place and gave the poor woman a HEA But this does bug me, because the counterfactual telling will leave readers who don t already know about Herschel which is probably most readers under the impression that this landmark figure in the history of women in science never existed And I could not quite get around erasing a woman scientist in order to make a point about the erasure of women scientists Eh I loved everything else about this book the writing, the romance, the diverse cast, the discussion of where craft meets art and art meets science For me the rewriting of history went a step too far in this specific area others may very reasonably feel that Historical Romance Britain is generally so entirely dissimilar to Actual Historical Britain that it s hardly fair to quibble at this instance Up to the reader, I guess. Video Review This book is the wholesome sapphic Historical Romance I was waiting forWe are not simply minds, trained like lamps on the world around us, producing light but taking nothing in we are bodies, and hearts, and hopes, and dreams We are men, and we are women We are poetry and prose in equal measure We are earth and clay, but we are all no matter our shape lit with a spark of something divineI think when it comes to queer books in general but especially ones with a historical setting, it is so important to talk about how the queerness is handled This could ve focused on homophobia but THANK GOD it didn t Yes, they have to hide their relationship but the people that do find out are all supportive and accepting We definitely know the homophobic people exist but we don t need to read their words.And hey, if it s your jam to read about real queer people in History and how they were treated, there s books out there for you too I just don t think that queerphobia and tragic gay stories have ANY place in Romance novelsThe point of fashion is not for gentlemen they call it trivial because they cannot bear the thought of women having a whole silent language between themselvesWith this being about Lucy being an astronomer, there s also a lot of misogyny and that definitely plays a bigger role in this book but even that is handled in a way that feels so bearable While women are very blatantly excluded from the scientific field, there are so many hopeful moments and the men s behaviour is mostly portrayed in a comedic way instead of having them threaten the women.It was great to see this book talk about women in science in general and that they did exist back in the day, it s just that they were hidden behind acronyms or their brother s father s name And this also had a side character that was a woman of colour in scienceIt was like every touch of Lucy s hand was a silken thread, painting a sunsrise one skein of warm light at a timeThis book put a lot of emphasis on consent and that even if someone is verbally consenting, it is important to pay attention to their body language as well.There are so many different aspects of consent and a lot of them were brought up, like the fact that it doesn t mean anything that your partner has already been with someone for a long time, or that they re older It was lovely to see Lucy, the younger woman, take care of Catherine, who had never been with a woman before.It also talked about Catherine s former husband enjoying giving and receiving pain during sex but that Catherine never consented to it I liked that the book talked about the fact that it s totally okay to enjoy it, it s just that all parties need to be consenting and there was a scene later that reinforced exactly thatShe d believed she could bear a widow s loneliness peacefully than the misery of a bad marriage But that was like choosing whether hemlock or belladonna was the better poison In the end, they both sapped the life from youI do think this had potential for a slow burn romance and it definitely would ve been a 5 star in that case But then again, it felt so good for this romance to just kinda happen without much of the angst we re used to It felt so very easy but in a good way.There is obviously some angst later on and your good old misunderstanding trope but it honestly always feels refreshing to me to see those tropes used in out of the norm booksThen Aunt Kelmarsh grumbled something about the food, and Catherine laughed gently, and Lucy found herself back on earth But a different earth than the one she d walked just a few hours before A wider earth, with space to expand and grow into the best version of herself She couldn t wait to beginSo overall, I am highly recommending this book It is a really wholesome read, with a wonderful romance and an interesting, but hopeful, look into women in science back in the day Please pick this up and show publishers that we want sapphic Historical Romances Booktube Channel Twitter Instagram I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review 4.5 stars The Lady s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is an F F historical romance set in England in 1816, and it s currently my favorite adult romance novel It wasn t perfect, as I did struggle with the pacing as I usually do with this genre, but to read a novel like this one, about unashamedly happy queer women during the Regency era, was such a refreshing experience.The main characters of this novel are Lucy Muchelney, an astronomer who runs away to London to translate a French astronomical text, and Catherine St Day, the widowed Countess of Moth, who accompanied her scientist husband on travels around the world and now lives in London, free of that emotionally abusive marriage.I had never read about a romance with a ten year age gap before Lucy is in her mid twenties and the Countess is 35, I think , so I was a bit hesitant, but I ended up liking these characters dynamic they were good at communicating and solving conflict the moments of miscommunication never lasted long I also thought that the sex scenes were well written, that one bad simile notwithstanding.One of the first things that stood out to me about this novel was the writing it s so detailed and atmospheric that I wanted to make an aesthetic board for this book, and I would have were I able to do that kind of thing From star charts to libraries, from embroidery to seashell art there was so much beauty in this book, and I knew me and it were going to get along from the moment I knew that one of the heroines was a scientist and that the other was an artist who liked to embroider plants and the Tapeinochilos ananassae is objectively a good subject, Catherine is right.More than anything, The Lady s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is a story about art and science, their similarities and differences, and the ways women were excluded from them through time It s not a book that tries to tell you which of the two is important, it s a book that talks about the importance and beauty of science while talking about how men in this era did many unethical things in the name of it, it s a book that talks about the complexities of art while also pointing out that the forms of it that were associated with women like embroidery weren t seen as art at all.I loved this message.For what didn t work for me as much well, the characters get together before the 40% mark, which is really early for a romance novel, or any novel, one could say And while I did appreciate how the conflict in this book wasn t internal to the relationship, the book did seem kind of aimless around the halfway point The ending, however, made up for it.Another thing that I could have done without was the part in which they called an Italian character Contezza Will Americans ever not disappoint me like that It s Contessa , and even google translate can tell you that Contezza means knowledge or awareness and even then, it s a word I ve never seen anyone use. This book had two things working in its favor when I saw it and purchased it before it was even released 1 historical fiction romance set in the time period I normally read Regency period 2 lesbians Recently that seems to be mostly what I read, not everything, but mostly I seem to be reading lesbian romance fiction usually set in contemporary times , and historical fiction romance usually involving heterosexual people set in the Regency era books sometimes try to sneak in an earlier or later date, but technically the regency period took place from 1811 1820 when George IV before he was George IV ruled during the period mad king George was considered to be insane ish this being both George III and the guy who was king during the American revolution occasionally it is historians who stretch things saying, say, the period of 1795 to 1837 based on fashion and buildings and stuff 1837 was the year Queen Victoria took the throne It annoys me sometimes when I spot how few historical fiction books involve lesbians or, women loving women, since, as Queen Victoria is rud to have said there are no lesbians heh, she might have said something similar, but my overall point is that the word came about much later in history, like the later part of the 19th century well, to describe two women loving each other one source puts the start for that meaning for lesbian at about 1925 Hmm Oops Right It annoys me sometimes when I spot how few historical fiction books involve women loving women For many reasons 1 Going back to Queen Victoria during that era, the Victorian age and before though not certain how long before , male male sex love was literally against the law Woman woman sex love Not recognized and or not against the law It was frowned upon women had a certain lack of power over themselves people in control, like say the head of the family, could put a lesbian family member into an insane asylum as did happen But there both was room for lesbians to live historically as per nonfiction history books I ve read, like, say, the biography I read about Aphra Behn from the 17th century though she d be something like bisexual possibly pansexual and room for fictional books about said life.There s a much older woman in this book here, the one this review is actually supposed to be about, who notes that it was much easier earlier in her generation She was hinting at things and not bluntly stating things, but it is fairly obvious what she was referring to women having relationships with other women and living together which she did Here s me whimpering about how few historical fiction lesbian romance books there are when I should just be reviewing the one I had to read, eh Right, so this was a much deeper book than I expected.Catherine St Day is a woman of 35, a Countess in her own right, there s something in the book about how the title passed to her instead of her husband for reasons , a comfortably wealthy woman, and a relatively recent widow it s been a few books between reading and review but I think it has been about 2 years, give or take 2 years since the husband s death Her husband was a scientist, an astronomer Catherine, and I forget how she ended up with it, though I assume it has something to do with her dead husband, has a French book a book from France written in French that rounds up the highest level thinking about astronomy, that she wishes to have translated And or, something like that She d sent off a letter to the Muchelney family, as the father was a well respected astronomer who would put out star charts or something like that , asking if they might know of anyone who could help with the translation Of note you can t just have any random person who knows both English and French fluently, you need someone who knows higher math and astronomy After some period of time after sending the letter, St Day receives a visitor, one Lucy Muchelney Father Muchelney is dead, but Lucy helped him immensely in his work, and even, in the last few years, was the individual who did all the advanced math stuff Plus she s an astronomer in her own right Oh, and she knows French So, she s offering herself as the translator Please.The book actually opens with Lucy s point of view of which there are two in the book, Catherine having the other POV , but since I wasn t certain of her age, I started with Catherine there s an age gap, I am just not certain if it is closer to 10 years or closer to 5 years, there is some hints that Lucy is was around 30 but there were also some hints that she might have been closer to 25 Lucy is one of those lucky depending on viewpoint, etc who had a father who allowed her to study, to learn, to develop abilities normally denied to women So Lucy spent her life living, breathing, and working as a scientist Except now her father is dead, her brother is threatening to sell her telescope, and she forgot to actually include her own name on the science papers she put out under her father s name and or collaboration So she needs money and a way to continue being an astronomer Or she ll have to get some paid work of some kind, like as a companion or some such That letter from St Day was something of a life line, a way to try to stay herself, stay a scientist So she risked everything and personally went to St Day s house instead of sending off a letter easier to plead her case in person.I think I mentioned that this is a rather well rounded book If I hadn t yet noted that, well, it is Fully formed characters Lucy, Catherine, some rather dickish men, a few nicer counterpoint men, etc solid plot romance and otherwise In terms of sexuality Lucy has always been and known that she is one of those who much prefer other women as companions lovers etc The book actually opens with her watching her love marry some man Catherine, on the other hand, has had some vague feelings even openly flirted with women, but hasn t actually had things click in her brain regarding preferences for male or female life partners Though she s had than one male lover, as that was what seemed expected husband , and what she thought was freedom the affair after husband s death She hadn t realized she might pick up a female lover until she started having desires for Lucy which might even be a better deal as they can t suddenly do what that man did propose to her then get angry when she turned him down since women can t marry each other.I ve lots of thoughts, trying to figure out what all to include and not include Lucy faced family and professional problems because of dickish men a somewhat controlling brother who himself was one of those artist types who floated around from party to party, and tried, occasionally, to sell etchings and scientist with this odd idea that women can t be scientist despite obvious examples to the contrary Hmms There s explicit scenes of a sexual nature which were, even to me , quite enjoyable.Hmms.Oh, the title of this book It s also the title of Lucy s translation of that French book Of which, Catherine had this thought when she d read the beginning part It was as though someone had taken the case of the universe, and let the reader peer at the naked machinery that powered the stars Rating 5.5July 16 2019 F F HISTORICAL ROMANCE, IS THIS EVERYTHING I VE EVER DREAMED OF OR WHATUpdate Yes, yes it was.When I saw a synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it F F romance set in a regency era Between a rich widowed countess and a girl astronomer My instant reaction was HOW FUN COUNT ME IN.This story turned out to be so much than that I love reading books I have fun doing it, whether it s a delighted pleasure taken in discovery of something amazing or twisted satisfaction in finishing a book that makes me want to fling my e reader across the room However, the type ofkinship and emotional fulfillment I felt while reading The Lady s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is extremely rare and precious.This is certainly a love story, between Lucy Muchelney, an astronomer who has recently had her heart broken, and Catherine St Day, widowed countess whose marriage was a constant streak of personal unfulfillment and emotional abuse After her father s death and her lover taking a husband, Lucy sets out to London with an ambitious goal of translating work of esteemed French astronomer Catherine, aka Lady Moth, agrees to take her in as a guest, and, after members of Polite Science Society turn out to be anything but polite, offers to sponsor and publish her translation on her own.And thus, begins a bisexual awakening of Lady Moth and a blooming romance between the two.Now, let me count the ways I loved this romance.First of all, the apparent respect and support between Lucy and Catherine While Lucy is ten years younger than Catherine, she s the one experienced in having a relationship with a woman That s not to say Lady Moth is an innocent miss straight out of schoolroom No, she s been married for fifteen years and even had an affair after her husband s death HUGE kudos for including that and she has a baggage of her own They both do Which is why I absolutely loved how they took things slow And when they finally got together, I could feel how they cherished each other and their closeness Secondly, this is not just about the romance The outstanding theme, actually, at least to me, is women supporting and loving women Women helping each other achieve their dreams and goals and realize that there is to life than living in the shadow of menShe ought to have paid attention to her own self before now She ought to have allowed herself to want things When Lucy and Catherine take a leap and begin a relationship, they don t only embark on a journey towards love No, they embark on a path of self discovery and self acceptance And it s beautiful and oh so heart warming to read about them uplifting each other and being there for each other.Apart from this, I really have to applaud the author for the way she handled the issue of homophobia in XIX century Personally, at least, I found it to be the perfect balance between so called historical accuracy and respect for queer readers Do I want to read about two ladies getting it on in Regency era HELL YES.Do I want to be brought down by historically accurate mentions of how they are scorned and ostracized because of their love NOPE.In this book, we do have mentions of homophobia it would be impossible not to include it when writing about a time when it was systematic sex between two men was criminalized But just because a society you write about is homophobic as a rule, doesn t mean your characters need to be as well And I m glad the author understands that Not only are there mentions of other F F and M M relationships throughout the book, the characters that find out about Lucy and Catherine don t react with scorn they turn into alliesThey don t let you have anything whole, you know If you don t follow the pattern You have to find your happiness in bits and pieces instead But it can still add up to something beautiful Lucy and Catherine In the end, they don t need to satisfy themselves with scraps of happiness, no matter how beautiful In the end, they take it all love, science, art, permanence, sense of security To a large extent, this book also deals with sexism and misogyny But again, the way it s done leaves you feeling uplifted, not discouraged and I don t want to spoil but there s a plot twist at the end that makes it even amazing Lucy ends up making a place for herself in a field that is almost entirely ruled by men Catherine decides to follow her dreams in a field that has been discounted as a trivial female pursuit Both of them team up to help other women have their voices heard And just like with their relationship, they have allies here tooBut there is no brilliance of thought, no leap of logic that can take place without the power of imagination Our learning requires intuition and instinct as much as pure intelligence We are not simply minds, trained like lamps on the world around us, producing light but taking nothing in we are bodies, and hearts, and hopes, and dreams We are men, and we are women We are poetry and prose in equal measure We are earth and clay, but we are all no matter our shape lit with a spark of something divine I think there is only one thing in this book that made me recoil as I read itFirst, I would have to count myself in very good company many of our greatest thinkers through history have been as famous for their mistakes as for their insights Didn t Copernicus believe the sun revolved around the earth NO No, he did not That is, in fact, factually incorrect statement Miko aj Kopernik aka Nicolaus Copernicus was XV XVI Polish astronomer who was one of the very first to introduce heliocentric system, so a system in which it s the Earth that revolves around the Sun while at the same time turning daily on its axis.It s just one sentence but I wouldn t be myself if I didn t point this out and given the focus this story has on astronomy, it s a factual error that shouldn t have been made.Going back to the good things though I absolutely recommend this book It was beautiful and emotional and simply a delight to read.Trigger warnings mentions of emotional abuse, sexism, misogyny I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via Edelweiss for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. I don t often read historical fiction but I ve been trying to make exceptions for queer histfic, especially when they re f f And there s a special set of emotions I go through while reading, the most unpleasant of which is the fear that something bad will happen, that will make me recoil and make me want to put down the book not because it s not good but because of the unnecessary bad stuff read homophobia, transphobia, racism, violence against women, etc that traditionally has been associated with historical fiction It s realistic, you say, to which I say fuck off This premise just so I can talk about what it did to me to go into this book and soon realize I needed to stop bracing myself for the stuff I mentioned above, because, amazingly, it kept not coming And there s a lesson for histfic authors you don t have to pretend that historical times weren t a cesspool of misogyny, homophobia and racism, but it s entirely possible to write a book for the people who have historically been hurt and marginalized that focuses on the good stuff instead of on the awful This book is proof of that.It s not that this book shies away from a lot of stuff including misogyny and the fact that the two women won t ever be able to live their relationship publicly But it s written so delicately and carefully that as long as you know the content warnings you don t have to be scared that things are going to get bad In fact, things get so, so good.This is a romance that s certainly good and wholesome and that made me so happy But the romance is almost secondary to the beautiful messages this book sends about art, science, and the presence and importance of women in both fields, and how this presence has always been there, whether we care to know it or not.And, you know, this is a book about two cis, white women But it manages to be intersectional and acknowledge issues that wouldn t necessary touch the lives of the two main characters, in a way that makes anybody feel welcome while reading I can t stress enough how books like this are so important.The relationship itself was very cute and while the MCs got together a little soon for my liking with necessary later drama , I still liked everything about it Catherine, the widow, had never explored her attraction to women and although she s older than Lucy she is kind of the inexperienced of the two I really liked that and it was so great to see them explore consent in every scene together There s also a little bit of an age gap I think it s about 10 years, Catherine is 35 and Lucy 25 , which is not something I usually love in romance, but the fact that they re both relatively older and both have experience in love dating, as well as their own interests and expertise made me enjoy it and not really care about the gap at all They both had things to teach each other and they helped one other out in so many ways, not in a love fixes everything way but in a way where they both figured out who they want, who they deserve to be and that was so beautiful to see I also loved the writing style so much I actually got mad that I was reading this with a read out loud app because I couldn t highlight the best quotes But that also means I definitely want to reread it sometime when time will allow me to, because it was so atmospheric and at times poetic, I just have to sit down and read it with my own two eyes.Sometimes the endings of romance books can seem a little weak, but not this book s It was actually one of the most satisfying endings ever and I m not only talking about the romance but the actual plot too Everything came together so nicely and I might or might not have started bawling my eyes out while I was finishing washing the dishes because it was just THAT good.So, if it s not obvious, I think if you are uncertain whether to buy this book or not you should definitely go for it If you don t normally read historical romance, let this one be your exception If you re a historical romance veteran, go for it without a doubt If you re craving sapphic romance, this is your fix You can thank me later and scream me about how good it is.CW misogyny, talks of homophobic mentality, mention of past nonconsensual sexual acts, mention of a dead parent f f historical romance about a lady astronomer and an explorer s widow Wake me up when this is on netgalley Y ALL I GOT APPROVED BY EDELWEISS THIS NEVER HAPPENS I M THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE JANE AUSTEN WISHES this was such a lovely historical romance, truly the best i ve ever read AND IT S SAPPHIC i know we re thriving in 2019.such a perfect blend of plot astronomy, fighting the patriarchy and romance what really stood out to me was how each woman was so thoughtfully written and given her own unique set of characteristics, interests, ways of interacting romances are hit or miss with characters and olivia waite really went ALL THE FUCK OUT making these ladies unique and interesting i also loved how supportive of each other they were in their career pursuits it was chefs kiss perfect 10 10 recommend this.i will note though, that this is not a campy fun historical but a slightly serious jane austen angsty kind so basically, perfect.