Saturday, July 25, 2020

ARC Review: The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

From the blurb:

When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous… 
Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk. Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England’s shores—and when Penelope’s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge.

As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?

Heather's rating:

So. Many. Plotlines.


I really, really like Olivia Waite, and I LOVE how she is writing the smart F/F historical romances that we all want to read. I adore historical romance, and I love nerds, so I'm always dying when I read about each upcoming book from this author. However, I think this author gets in her own way a lot of the time.

The good news is that we have two older MCs, a lovely slow-burn romance, and some explicit sex on page, though we have to wait ages to get it. Also, I could have read about the bee-keeping stuff all day long. Very interesting and a lot to delve into there. I also felt like Penelope's family dynamics and marriage had a lot of meaty plot elements that really fleshed out the story.

But the author just couldn't stop there.

We get endless chapters about the King and Queen and their marital issues, sedition laws, religious and puritanical power movements, relationship complications with side characters, and it goes on and on. There are details that are introduced and focused on and then seem to fade in importance. There is just so much there, so much that could have been spread out with another story, that it really muddled the romance for me. The book is very long, and a lot of it felt like extraneous information. I would have been happy with just the bee-keeping stuff alone with maybe a little family drama thrown in. As it was written, I found myself zoning out during the endless pages about the royal scandals.

The romance was very slow to develop, and though I like a slow burn, I wish more of the book had these two women in an actual relationship, not just pining for one. I understand that open communication was very risky during those times, but they basically hinted at each other for over 300 pages until they got their act together. But when they got together finally, whew, lots of chemistry and heat! Thank you, Olivia Waite!

I appreciated all of the research that went into this story, and I think the author did a very good job writing it, but I wish it had been paired down some to make the romance take center stage. Still, I can't wait to read more from this author and see where else she can take me.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Enjoy, everyone!

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