A Perfect Equation
By Elizabeth Everett
Rating: 4.5/5 Genre: Historical Romance Steam: Explicit! Publisher: Berkley Thank you Berkley and NetGalley for a free eARC of this novel and for including me in your blog blitz! All thoughts and opinions are of my own. Pub Date: February 15, 2022 Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop
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, 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 most certainly doesn’t need 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?
CW: miscarriage (off page), sexism, childhood illness
A Perfect Equation Review
I ended up loving this book after a slow-is start. Once we got to 25/30% done with the book I was enthralled and nothing got in between me and the ending. SO GOOD. The rationality behind the characters, the soft openings of the characters, the CHEMISTRY, the steamy scenes! My word those were something that you don’t typically see in historical (except Joanna Shupe’s The Prince of Broadway). I loved the way that Everett weaved politics, culture, romance, math, and heart into this novel in such a kind manner. While I don’t think this book is going to be for everyone, I did end up adoring this novel even more than the first.
The Steam: Yes, I’m starting here. But this book jumped from decent to wow, that was something real quick here. And it went beyond just the literal happenings between the characters. These scenes worked double hard to display passion and trust, things that the characters grapple with. And sometimes I’m just this easy to please.
Character Arcs: Grey and Letty are amazing characters not because they’re entirely likable, but rather you see them grow and develop. I fully trust that their relationship would keep after the book. They made mistakes and learned from their past, which is everything to me. I wish that every book had this change for their characters. With that, this is a very character driven book.
Athena’s Retreat: When I was reading A Lady’s Formula for Love I don’t think I fully grasped this entity. In this novel, A Perfect Equation, you become more embedded in the characters and goings on. I fell in love with the side characters and the way they interacted throughout the story with themselves and the leads. Honestly, Grey’s interactions with the women was the best. (The explosion scene?!? The hedgehog scene?!?– we can talk after you’ve read it!).
Complexity in Narrative: While this isn’t a plot driven book there’s a lot going on here. The discussions around women pushing boundaries and learning, the presence of toxic masculinity, voting rights, double standards, and many other things I’m forgetting makes this book really spectacular. When something can be written and fit in with 1840s England and have me in 2022 USA relate. Actually, I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Either way, Everett weaves a beautiful novel.
Pacing: While I ended up loving this book, it took until the 25/30% mark for me to become fully engrossed in the novel. I kept reading just because I wanted to know what would happen (mostly their relationship in how they would get over things).
Communication: I understand why they didn’t clearly communicate in the beginning but I wanted to tear my hair out. If Grey or Letty (or the women of Athena’s) would have just LISTENED to each other we’d be good. But there was so much talking over each other I went mad. It got a lot better towards then end, but the beginning was a struggle for me.
Long Story Short:
Do I recommend this book? Yes. If female mathematicians and scientists that are secret romantics with heavy burdens of their past or nobility that bucked the system and have complicated pasts are your thing, is this the book for you. I totally recommend it! A perfect historical romance for those who don’t read historicals and also for those who want a different style of historical romance. Just be aware of the content warnings I have above. Everett did a wonderful job on her sophomore novel and I cannot wait to read all of her future books!
If You Liked This One…
Elizabeth Everett’s first novel is a solid place to start, A Lady’s Formula for Love. Additionally, if you loved any of Evie Dunmore’s novels (League of Extraordinary Women) then this will be for you and visa versa! Here are my reviews for Bringing Down the Duke (1), A Rogue of One’s Own (2), Portrait of a Scotsman (3). Or Manda Collin’s novels A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem or A Lady’s Guide to Deception and Desire need to be a read! Seriously though, if feminist historical romances are your thing then these are a must!!
Elizabeth Everett lives in upstate New York with her family. She likes going for long walks or (very) short runs to nearby sites that figure prominently in the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage. Her series is inspired by her admiration for rule breakers and belief in the power of love to change the world.