Cover Image: The Love Remedy

The Love Remedy

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Member Reviews

I was looking for something fun and entertaining yesterday going through my … should have read this a while ago list and came upon this book The Love Remedy by Elizabeth Everett out March 19th and part one of her new Damsels of Discovery series !
STEM Romance with a Victorian setting, a female apothecary treating the poor and a third son of a baronet, prize fighter turned investigator and single father, grumpy and sunshine, … both strong principled people, both have sworn off love both are rediscovering that may be stronger in the end even if it wasn’t what they had in mind.
Lucy(Lucinda) is convinced she’s been betrayed and her former almost fiancee registered a patent for her throat lozenges and is about to register her recipe for a croup salve. She hires Johnathan Thorn to investigate since she the apothecary she inherited from her father who taught her everything can not withstand any more hits and her siblings, employees and regulars are counting on her… Thorn investigates and discovers that despite being a girl father - a daughter to unmarried parents - his convictions when it comes to girls and women need to be more closely examined and revised and his strict rule against coming in contact with beautiful women may have to be reexamined as well.

This was fun to read and at the same time brought so many details about the day to day life of regular people in Victorian London to the surface (no Duke here … and the third son of a baronet has cut off ties to his family).
I enjoyed this book and will definitely look for the next installment in this historical STEM romance series !
Thank you to @berkleyromance and @netgalley for the eARC ! Opinions expressed are, of course, my own.

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Important themes, interesting topic, great time period, absolutely beautiful cover... but unfortunately I still felt a lack of connection to the characters, especially our heroine Lucy. I found the dialogue tricky, as much of it was stilted (in the way of the time period) and then some of it felt modern. Thorne came across as a jerk, and I didn't like him for Lucy at all. The pacing was so slow at parts that it was tough to keep going.

The writing was very nice and I think this particular combination of themes was just tough to pull off. I'd love to read the writer's previous works and I think fans of hers will enjoy this one. It just wasn't at the tip top of my list.

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Note: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm glad I finally got around to reading this book!

Things I liked:

1. Its quotidian nature. There is something about this book that I can only describe as "slice of life" vibes. While there's a "mystery" to solve, it's not ridiculous or far fetched, oro even the main focus. While there is a HEA, it feels earned by the two protagonists. At its heart, this book is about running a family business and all the messy expectations and struggles that come along with it.

2. It's different class focus. So many stories written in this era follow nobility or are entrenched in privileges befitting nobility. While Thorne is of the upper class and did use it to his advantage throughout the story, the main focus was on Lucy and her family's upper middle class status and business.

3. The discussion of female autonomy and the struggles women had to go through during this era. I'll admit, I was afraid it would be heavy handed, but thankfully, I didn't find this soap boxy at all! (Or, at least until the veryyy end.) The discussion over Katie and the "realization" of sorts that Thorne experienced was so well-done in my opinion. I found myself thanking God (lol) that I did not live during this time; a godly woman I am not...

Things I disliked:

1. For two characters who talk immensely, Lucy and Thorne actually say very little in the second half of the book, hence the third act conflict. The miscommunication trope always feels like a cop-out to me, and the way it was used here irritated me quite a bit, but didn't necessarily ruin the reading experience.

2. Sadie's life was a little too comfortable. Children are highly emotionally intelligent, so even though she is a child, she likely would have been more privy to her own reality than is shown in the book. By that age, she would have likely experienced discrimination by her schoolmates, racism due to her mixed heritage, and classism due to her father's "fall from grace." Not even Thorne's purchasing of new coats and ribbons would be able to protect her from society; her character felt a little too sheltered and naive and "free."

3. There was little to no catharsis following the reveal of who stole the croup formula. Instead of a moment in which Lucy can stand up for herself and read the perpetrator the riot act, she bottles it all up and immediately forgives the person after a couple of pasties and a short bout of tears. Even if the intentions were "reasonable," this was a prime moment to demonstrate Lucy's own autonomy in the face of someone basically trying to take it away... and she does NOTHING!! It was such a disappointing moment for her character.

4. Nothing is ever done about the Guardians. I know this book is the start of the Damsels of Discovery series, so it may be dealt with later on, but I was hoping there would be some kind of resolution or at least an attempt at one with regard to the publication and its nasty followers.

Overall, I did have a positive reading experience and I vibed with Lucy and Thorne as a couple, but it wasn't my favorite and I'm not sure if I will pick up the next Damsels of Discovery novel. This leans much more historical fiction than it does historical romance, so keep that in mind if you pick it up.

Solid 3.5 out of 5 stars, ⭐⭐⭐

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Rating: 2.9/5

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the ARC!

There's an increase in interest of Historical Romance at my library, so I figured I would like to keep some new releases on my radar. That being said I was quite please to get a review copy of The Love Remedy. The premise hooked me instantly and I was really excited for this one.

Unfortunately, this was a hard one to get through. The writing style was okay, but I did have a hard time connecting with the characters. Lucy and Johnathan were so forgettable to me I actually had to triple check their names before writing this review. The rest of the story was interesting enough, and I did enjoy the mystery aspect.

Going back to the characters being dull and unforgettable- I also didn't enjoy the spicy scenes very much (and that may just be because I don't enjoy the characters that much).

All in all this book ended up being just okay to me. I do like a few aspects enough to try out some of the authors other works.

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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of The Love Remedy but I DNF this book a couple of chapters in. I don't know if this author's writing is for me but I think if you like sweet historical romances, you would like this one.

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a historical romance but make it a single dad romance too!?? this hooked me instantly. the book also had a mystery premise to it which i thought added to the depth of the story. really had fun reading this!

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Gorgeous cover! I have a feeling that will draw a lot of readers in.

The premise was promising, but the execution was lacking. Movement is slow and the scenes don't flow. Clunky writing was a drag. I also failed to connect with any of the characters. I kept forgetting the main characters' names which tells me just how little of an impact they had. I set it aside after reading about a third and haven't been tempted to pick it back up.

Thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for providing an eARC for review.

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I always love a good historical romance novel especially when it’s part of a new series! I was super excited to read this one and knowing it was by an established author made me even more excited to read it. But I have to admit—I have been having a really hard time getting into Everett’s other series The Secret Scientists of London. By all accounts, the Secret Scientists of London should be a series that is 100% up my alley but I have tried reading the books and they just haven’t held my interest.

Now I know I am in the minority with readers of that series. But just because I couldn’t get into that series doesn’t mean that I was fully ready to write her off as an author. When this book came up for review, I was like ok here we go a fresh slate something new and different to try. This book is similar to the Secret Scientist series as it too has a STEM and science-y feel to it which has been a hot trend lately and I think that Victorian London really worked well as the setting for this book.

If you love historical romances, especially books with a STEM/science feel, then I think this book will be an exciting start to a new series. I think there are a few little things to figure out but overall I enjoyed this one more than I liked the other Secret Scientist books. Reading new series is one of the reasons I LOVE book blogging because I don’t know if I would have picked this one right right away had it not been floating around the blogosphere!

Summary

When a Victorian apothecary hires a stoic private investigator to protect her business, they learn there’s only one way to treat true love—with a happily ever after.

When Lucinda Peterson’s recently perfected formula for a salve to treat croup goes missing, she’s certain it’s only the latest in a line of misfortunes at the hands of a rival apothecary. Outraged and fearing financial ruin, Lucy turns to private investigator Jonathan Thorne for help. She just didn’t expect her champion to be so . . . grumpy?

A single father and an agent at Tierney & Co., Thorne accepts missions for a wide variety of employers—from the British government to wronged wives. None have intrigued him so much as the spirited Miss Peterson. As the two work side by side to unmask her scientific saboteur, Lucy slips ever so sweetly under Thorne’s battered armor, tempting him to abandon old promises.

With no shortage of suspects—from a hostile political group to an erstwhile suitor—Thorne’s investigation becomes a threat to all that Lucy holds dear. As the truth unravels around them the cure to their problems is they must face the future together. (summary from Goodreads)

Review

I really liked how this book just jumped right into the ‘meet cute’ between the two main characters. I loved Lucy and thought she had a lot of spunky and pluck which I love in female leads. I also liked Thorne’s characters. I thought he was sexy and yet has this grumpiness about him that makes him even more charming, I will say though I read him as older than he was which at times felt……weird. But here’s the bigger thing—-I didn’t love them together. Don’t get me wrong I thought there was certainly chemistry between them and I loved the hotness of the sex scenes however I felt like in the end he didn’t do enough to deserve her. I don’t want to give any spoilers here but for me I think he needed to work a little harder to get back on her good graces. Plus because I read him as older than he was some of the scenes were a little weird but if I didn’t think about that too much then it was fine.

I was also expecting this book to be a bit more lighthearted. It did have some pretty heavy content that I was NOT expecting. Again no spoilers but I was surprised that there was some heavier stuff in a book that I was expecting to be a little more on the fluffy side. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, I just found it surprising. Overall I felt like this one was OK. It has some issue that I think need to be ironed out and I hope the series doesn’t continue be similar to this but I didn’t hate it and I felt invested enough in the book and characters to add the next book to my TBR list.

When I read the Bridgerton books, the first book The Duke and I, was just OK for me too but the second book I LOVED and it cemented the series for me. If I stopped reading every series just because I felt like the first book was just ok then I would have missed out on some great book series. I think there is a lot of room for this series to grow and develop. If you have enjoyed Everett’s other book series then I think you will enjoy this book. It’s a solid start to a new spinoff series and I liked how it started but if you are looking for something light and fluffy this might not be the book for you. I am looking forward to reading more from this series though.

Format 352 pages, Paperback

Published March 19, 2024 by Berkley

ISBN 9780593550465 (ISBN10: 0593550463)

Free review copy provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: historical romance

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I really wanted to love this but I just couldn't connect with the story and Lucy and Thorne. I ended up DNFing but I do think there are people out there that would love this. I loved the atmosphere of this world so I definitely think I'll read the next in the series to give it another go.

Thank you Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for the free e-book.

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What a lovely little story!

I was looking for something to fill the Evie Dunmore-shaped hole in my heart since the League of Extraordinary Women series finished and while those books are always #1 in the Historical Romance Department of my heart, this was a pretty good new entry.

These characters felt very real to me and fleshed out. You could see their contradictory desires and their love for the people around them. Even when side characters were doing things contrary to the goals of the main couple, they made total sense. I especially love how Thorne was misguided but used his heart and sound reasoning to learn and adapt and change his mind. It’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking today and felt very positive to read.

While this is a romance first and foremost, I appreciated the discussion of women’s health and how it was rooted not in doctrine but in genuine care for the wellbeing of others.

I wanted a little more DEEP ACHING YEARNING than there was but the We Shouldn’t Be Attracted to Each Other But We Can’t Help It dynamic was still nice.

I received an arc on NetGalley, but it was after it already came out and I read a finished copy, not the galley. That said, this book very much needed another copy editing pass, there were errors (both typos and continuity issues—in one scene it says they’re in one room and then actually they’re in a different room, once one character is referred to by a different name just the one time, etc) up the wazoo.

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DNF @ 20%.

Great premise, but I just couldn’t get into the characters. This would’ve probably been a better fit for me if there were more “shop talk” about the apothecary than romance. That being said, this will be a fun, light historical mystery for the right reader.

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First off, this cover is gorgeous! It has really great details connected to the plot too, so that's a bonus!

I love a story of a woman scientist fighting for her research/business and finding love along the way. This story has that in addition to so many other layers- from the experience of the first women apothecaries to single fathers in the 1860s, to how women's healthcare at that time was managed. Reproductive health was addressed here, and it was done so well! Many other historical tidbits are sprinkled in to add depth to the plot and what the characters are experiencing. Plus, you can also look forward to a mystery about a stolen formula, too.

There is so much going for this book, yet I struggled with it. It was difficult to buy into the romance, and the mystery felt more like an afterthought. Lucy and Thorne each grow a lot, but I don’t know that I would say they grow together. She gains more confidence and bodily autonomy, while he learns to let go of his prejudices. Each is important independently, but I wanted them to grow more as a couple! It seemed like they were always at arms-length unless they were alone together. Maybe that’s more historically accurate?

I think this story is so important- especially in its discussion of consent, reproductive health, and how some things haven’t changed much since the 1860s. I think this would be a good book to jump into if you are more of a historical fiction girlie, but want to try a historical romance with a bit of spice! I’m looking forward to the next one!

3.5/5

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Our story begins in an apothecary set in England with a WOMAN apothecarist as it’s owner! *gasp* When one of her formulas is presented by a rival apothecary shop and an additional formula goes missing she immediately has a suspect! From here she enlists the services of a private investigator to prove her case. Enter our MMC.

I really enjoyed the slow burn in this historical romance, but most especially the graceful attention to innovative practices and stereotypes. Following my completion of the read I really reflected on all it addressed: women in medicine during this time period, contraceptive rights, women business owners, ,single fathers in nobility and innovations in medicinal practices. Sometimes when introducing these points in historical romance it can feel forced, but Elizabeth Everett always displays such ease and grace with entering these concepts.

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I’ve never read from this author before and was super excited to pick this up. There were many things that I loved about this book, but a few that kept it from being a new favorite. I really enjoyed Lucy’s character! As a female apothecary in a male dominated world I loved following her story and my favorite parts of the novel were when she was at work. I found her to be a strong main character while still being relatable in many ways.

I did enjoy the romance between Lucy and Thorne for the most part. I think my biggest wish is that we had seen them spend more time together. I felt the intrigue and passion between the two (this book does have it’s steamy moments!), but didn’t feel much of a connection beyond the physical. Thorne’s opinions on certain matters were a bit of a turn off at times. Yes, I know this is a product of the time, but it didn’t match the character we grew to know over the course of the novel and seemed like a way to create conflict. That took me out of the story a bit, and I would have preferred to see a bit more groveling (Lucy is far more forgiving than I).

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a review copy. I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series and hope we see some of these characters again.

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In The Love Remedy, Lucinda is a working pharmacist, having inherited the business from her father. As a pharmacist, she not only dispenses drugs, but also helps with mostly minor but sometimes major medical issues. As a woman in a male-dominated profession, she deals with prejudice, harassment and outright threats.

Lucinda is also a scientist, creating pharmaceutical therapies for her customers. When one of her original formulas is stolen and a second goes missing, she calls for help from Tierney & Co. They send Thorne, refugee from nobility, former boxer, and father. He finds clues by straightening the office and looking at the books. This sends both Lucinda and Thorne down separate paths that will converge. All this occurs while the two are falling for each other. Even if they think they should not.

Thorne is something of a prude when it comes to his societal-driven opinion of how women should behave and how his daughter should be raised. Lucinda has no compunction to exposing him to the hard reality of most women’s lives. And in the shocking ways they can overcome prejudice.

The Love Remedy is the first of a new series that is a spinoff of the author’s Secret Scientists of London series. Readers of that series will recognize references to Athena’s Retreat and several characters including the ever present Earl Grantham. The London 1843 setting appears to be a social step down from the more privileged society the Secret Scientists belonged to, making it more accessible to the average reader.

Even more than the first series, The Love Remedy is incredibly relevant. The lessons included should be taught to every generation and what better way to do it than in the form of this charming historical mystery/romance.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book. My review is my honest opinion.

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A more melancholy start to a new series from Everett, but filled with characters to root for and a romance that felt so stark and refreshing amid so many others in the historical genre. I was overall less invested in the mystery/investigation component and more compelled to return to Lucy and Thorne’s building dynamic, which ultimately tipped this one into a four-star read for me over, say, a 3.5. And that ENDING was such a sweet balm after the angst and loneliness.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this edition from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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**Many thanks to Berkley and Elizabeth Everett for an ARC of this book provided via NetGalley!**

In a world dominated by men, Lucinda (better known as Lucy) Peterson is determined to stand out. She works at an apothecary and is INCHES away from finding the cure to a very common malady: croup. Lucy's business is a family business, making it even more vital for her to do her father proud, and working in tandem with siblings Juliet and David, she feels certain this new discovery will cement her and her family as the most beloved and innovative apothecary in town. So imagine Lucy's surprise when she learns her secret formula has been STOLEN...and in an appalling twist that adds insult to injury, she learns it is none other than her former flame, Duncan, who has taken the goods.

Furious, Lucy is MORE than ready to get her formula back before it's too late...and she enlists the help of a gruff PI, Jonathan Thorne, to help in the effort. Working as the apothecary's bookkeeper, he slowly gets to know Lucy and her family...and the two can't ignore the fiery sparks between them. But with a tortured past that has left him a single father, Jonathan keeps his heart firmly under wraps. As Lucy and Co. continue to fight rival political groups over a woman's right to choose and Lucy struggles with whatever feelings may or may not be lingering between her and Duncan from the past, her passion for Thorne continues to grow...and she wonders how long she can suppress her feelings...or if she even WANTS to hold back anymore. Will Lucy restore her rights to her formula, take on croup once and for all, AND find love in the end? Or will Thorne be a 'thorn' in her side after all...leaving her formula-less...AND brokenhearted?

I'll be the first to admit I've never read anything resembling this sort of book before...and after finishing this one, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I'm always game for a strong female protagonist, and it is refreshing to read STEM representation more often in the genre, if not simply to give us as readers a change of pace. Female scientists of all sorts have been pushed to the footnotes of books for FAR too long (that is, if they were included in the book at all!) and a more complex, intelligent heroine is always more fun to read than a swoony, "I'm a woman and therefore NEED saving" sort of MC any day of the week. Throw in some feminist rep (with Lucy's pro-choice support, which was potentially even MORE of a hot button topic in the Victorian era than it is today, although at this point it's probably a toss up!) and this book seemed to have the foundation for a thought-provoking, interesting, but still comfortable, predictable HEA romance.

So...why couldn't I exactly ENJOY this reading experience?

For starters, the characters in this one felt simply...inaccessible. For a woman who was so brilliant, Lucy seemed to have forgotten that she could both possess book smarts AND common sense...and this led her to a lot of decisions I couldn't really understand or connect to at all. Her siblings were even more of a mystery, as neither of them felt fully developed at all and were simply names on the page for most of the book. To be honest, a week after finishing this, I had to LOOK UP what their names were: they were that forgettable. And then of course there's Thorne, the almost stereotypically stodgy yet devilishly handsome single dad who to me read more like a sixty year old man than a Casanova...I just didn't get the appeal.

And this dialogue? Just did not work for me. It felt very much like the author was making an effort to make it seem as though it read 'of the time period'...but at the same time, the characters randomly would say things that felt very 'of' the modern day...especially in the bedroom scenes. While I'm not suggesting that this talk never happened, to go from the very stilted formal dialogue to rather explicit language between the sheets just felt very odd. For instance, all of Thorne's chat about condoms (which he sometimes called condoms and other times prophylactics) which was APPROPRIATE...but still felt strange to hear coming from the mouths of these characters. Because Thorne read as older to me, it made it even MORE strange to 'witness' a romantic rendezvous between the two...and almost a bit icky.

Which leads me to the most torturous aspect of this book...its slow moving plot. I could have sworn this book was at LEAST 100 pages longer than it actually was, because it just felt like it took so LONG for anything to happen and there was so much extraneous detail and unnecessary conversations...not to mention times that took me out of the romance entirely. For instance, Sadie and Lucy OFTEN talk about some pretty gross things...including fecal matter of animals. So there's that. Don't believe me? Here's an example:

"Did you know that a frog's poo can measure a quarter of its body size?" Sadie exclaimed after a rushed greeting. "Can you imagine if that were true for people?"

Thorne most likely could imagine but preferred not to.

...

Yeah, I'm all set here too, Thorne.

Buried amidst all of the forced romantic overtures and entanglement between Thorne and Lucy, there WAS the potential for a truly impactful and insightful story...and there WERE crumbs of this discussion sprinkled along the way to keep me interested...I just hoped that the plot itself would lead to a more exciting and unexpected end. The 'mystery' was never the focus (which also could have led to more of an unexpected conclusion, and for me as a reader, the 'romance' had all the sizzle of a forgotten pan left on a cold stove. No amount of Bondage Lite was going to be enough to overcome all of the issues I had buying Lucy and Thorne as a duo.

But I'll leave you with some of the 'pillow talk' between these two lovebirds and you can decide for yourself if you think this relationship will be the 'remedy' to cure the 'not quite Spring because winter won't let go' blues:

Thorne: "That was incredibly satisfying. Please, never tell me if you were thinking about Mr. Gentry's tumor while I came. I will never survive it."



3 stars, rounded up from 2.5

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As the proprietor of her family's apothecary, Lucy has discovered that the formula for at least two of her cures have been stolen. As a woman in Victorian England, she has little recourse, but is determined to keep it from happening again. So she hires John Thorne, an investigator. This historical romance was fun and I enjoyed the interactions between the two leads, as well as the people who frequent the apothecary. This is the first I've read by Elizabeth Everett, and I believe it references a previous series she wrote. Although I felt that Lucy was a little too righteous in her anger at times, I really enjoyed the world Everett created, with its forward thinking and emphasis on female equality. I'll definitely read more by her.

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I have never been tempted to pick up an Elizabeth Everett book but I am now kicking myself for the lack of good judgement. Or maybe it was just this book? Everything about The Love Remedy is perfection. The apothecary setting, the mystery of the lost/stolen formulas, the struggling family business, the secrets to unveil. But at the core, I loved the strength of our female protagonist. A woman that cares deeply about the work her business does for others. Strong enough to face the roles society places on her and women. And badass enough to go after what she wants, especially in love.

The romance is sweet, sexy and breathtaking. A scarred fighter turned private investigator. But a sweet single father wanting to do what's best for his child. Truly a hero with a heart of gold as you uncover more about his past.

This pairing was just perfection. The story and setting felt like you could just crawl inside the pages and cozy up to the smells of herbs. I can't wait to read more from this author and in this series.

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THE LOVE REMEDY by Elizabeth Everett is a must read!

From the cutest of meet cutes (okay technically it's their second encounter that I'm calling a meet cute but it's RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE) to the solid relationship building to the *chef's kiss* ending, I couldn't stop grinning.

I also couldn't stop reading and stayed up WAY too late two nights in row but who's counting? It was totally worth it!

And yes, there is a not-at-all-subtle message throughout this completely fantastic love story. One woman is struggling to keep her family's business together in a society that disapproves of women in STEM. One unmarried man with a checkered past is trying to be better for his mixed-race daughter in a world that sees women, children born out of wedlock, and non-white people as "less than". Did I get mad that women have been treated like second-class citizens for centuries and there are days it feels we've gone backward as a society? Yes! Did it take away even one iota from this feel-good romance? HELL NO.

To recap: Sweet. Spicy. Romance. Drama. A little light cravat play (IYKYK). This is one of those books that you'll want to tell all your friends to buy too so you can giggle and swoon with your besties while you read.

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