Book Review & Excerpt: A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett

About the Book:

Title: A Perfect Equation

Author: Elizabeth Everett

Series: The Secret Scientists of London

Page Length: 336

Publication Date: Feb. 15, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

Synopsis: 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, Miss 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 certainly doesn’t need any 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?

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon | Book Depository

About the Author:

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.

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My Review:

Mistakes can be mended, grudges can be reconciled, and happy ending can come to each of us.

The second book in Elizabeth Everett’s The Secret Scientists of London series follows Letitia Fenley and Viscount Greycliff, enemies charged with running a social club for women during the owner’s absence.

Lettie is a brilliant mathematician whose romantic ideals led to her ruination. Now, years later, Lettie is charged with running Athena’s Retreat, a social club and haven for female mathematicians and scientists, alongside Viscount Greycliff, the unforgiving cousin of the man who tarnished her reputation. Lettie and Grey have a turbulent past, especially considering Grey contributed to her scandal, but when a group of men targets Athena’s Retreat, Lettie and the other women’s lives are at risk, and Lettie and Grey must work together before it’s too late.

Lettie and Grey are both amazing characters, and I appreciate how deeply developed both are. Strong, intelligent, and capable, Lettie’s indiscretion with Grey’s cousin has very much defined her, and she has closed herself off to the potential of love. She has even distanced herself from friends so as not to sully them by association. Letty holds herself at arm’s length and lets few people in. Grey has walls up too. He suffered from seizures as a child and constantly fears their return. He has such a structured life and has built a wall around his feelings as preventative measures, but he isn’t living a full life. Both have really interesting stories, and their individual stories are as compelling as their romance.

The love story between Lettie and Grey is fantastic! Their enemies-to-lovers romance is filled with wonderful banter, a ton of sexual tension, and so much heart. These two drive each other to distraction, and they continually challenge each other, which leads to some fabulous, chemistry-laden scenes. I love that this growing relationship breaks all of their walls down. Lettie and Grey learn so much from each other, and what I like the most is how willing they are to learn, grow, and change. And some of their scenes are so funny and fun, which balance out the more serious aspects of the story well. Lettie and Grey have so many challenges put in front of them, and I enjoyed seeing how they deal with their inner conflicts and concerns, as well as all of the other obstacles that stand in their way.

I love the women of Athena’s Retreat. It’s a wonderful society of STEM women, and there are definite found family vibes going on. The author has created so many dynamic and interesting characters, and I’m eager to see them in the next book in the series. The women are all so unique and quirky, and I love that they have a place where they can experiment and work and be with others who understand and support them. Several of these women, who are often underestimated, serve as the voices of reason throughout the book, and they really make Grey especially see things differently. And Grey’s reactions to the different experiments and goings-on are priceless. To see the joy and excitement and awe he experiences with these women made me love Grey even more. He sees their worth and how much they have to offer when many other men don’t. He stands in contrast to the men trying to force these women to stop their important work.

The story highlights so many inequities and troubles of the time, including women’s rights, oppression, prejudice, social inequities, double standards, and so much more. I particularly love the messages about the important contributions from women in STEM-related work. There is also a lot of intrigue, which I enjoyed. Grey is one of two potential upcoming leaders in a secret government agency and has to prove his ability to lead. Plus, men are targeting Athena’s Retreat and protesting against women’s rights across the city, which leads to many dangerous and potentially deadly situations.

I think A Perfect Equation is an excellent addition to the series. It’s smart and fun, and the romance is swoon-tastic!! I adored the characters and felt the messages and themes are powerful and poignant. It’s the type of story that entertains while it makes you think, which makes for a really compelling and interesting read. Special thanks to Berkley Books for providing me with an advanced copy of the book. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The secondary characters.

Favorite Lines:

Never wait for someone else to rescue you.

To stand in the way of progress was to shout on the wind.

A true scientist always accepts the possibility of change; everything we believe today may be proven false tomorrow.

If you don’t let go of something that doesn’t bring you pleasure, you can’t grab hold of something that does. I’m close to mastering the art of being an unwomanly woman, who is just womanly enough.

One small act of love can forever change the path of another person.

Read an Excerpt from A Perfect Equation!

Slipping through the crowd, Letty approached the building as a thin wail rose from the doorway. A beady-eyed man with a pinched mouth and spidery fingers had grabbed the shopgirl by the wrist, halting her escape.

“Don’t bother trying to go to work. We’re shutting this place down until they stop employing women in their factories and hire the men back,” the man said.

A tinkling of broken glass punctuated his threat as someone launched a sign at the ground-floor window of the shop. The atmosphere turned in an instant from hectoring to predatory. With a foreshadowing of violence, the group of individuals molded into a single organism-a dragon ready to pounce on whatever threatened. This monster’s hoard consisted of power rather than gold.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Letty said through gritted teeth, clenching the straps of her heavy reticule in one hand.

“Letty!” Sam called after her. “Letty Fenley, you come back here this instant. I know you don’t listen to me, but for goodness’ sake, will you listen to me?”

Fear set her stomach to churning, but Letty allowed nothing to show on her face. Instead, she stuck her chin out and her shoulders back. Never again would she suffer a man intimidating her into submission, and she’d be damned if she watched this happen to any other woman. As Flavia Smythe-Harrows always said, sexual dimorphism does not excuse bad behavior.

What a pity Letty didn’t have that printed on a banner.

Without benefit of a rival sign, she used what was available in the moment. Swinging her reticule around twice to achieve maximal momentum, Letty brought it down, hard, on the wrist of Beady Eyes.

“You let go of that girl, right now, you weasel-faced, onion-breathed . . .” Letty’s stream of insults was drowned in the crowd’s protest at the sight of their fellow man being assaulted by what someone deemed “half a pint-sized shrew.”

“Half a pint indeed,” Letty shouted back. “I’m less than an inch shorter than the median height for a woman of my weight, based on-Oy, stop waving that sign in my face.”

Before Letty could take another swing at Beady Eyes, the sound of horses whinnying and men shouting from somewhere at the edge of the crowd broke the tension; a decrescendo from taunting voices to garbled protests heralded the arrival of authority. Jumping up for a better look, Letty spied two well-dressed men on horseback.

“On your way,” a clipped, aristocratic voice shouted to the crowd. “Disperse at once.”

The crowd buckled, its mood shifting from dangerous to frustrated. Letty protected the girl as best she could from the sudden shoving around them. Most of her attention, however, fixed on the familiarity of those crisp, clean syllables echoing in the air.

She would know that voice anywhere. Their rescue rode toward them in the form of Lord William Hughes, the Viscount Greycliff. A traitorous wave of relief that he would put an end to the danger was quickly followed by a cold dose of shame.

Six years ago, she’d believed him the epitome of nobility and elegance until that voice had delivered a verdict upon her head. The words he’d said and the pain they’d caused were etched into her memory forever.

“I don’t care if you’re Prince Albert himself. Move your arse, man!” A deeper baritone, the voice of Greycliff’s companion, now carried over the crowd. “Put down the signs, or I’ll put them down for you.”

“Are they here to rescue us?” the girl asked.

Visions of Greycliff riding up on a snow white steed flashed before Letty’s eyes. A handful of years before, such an image would have set her heart to racing and put roses on her cheeks. She would have caught her ruffled skirts in one hand, ready to be swept away by a hero, lit from behind by a shaft of golden sunlight.

Not anymore. The dirty grey-brown reality of working-class London remained solid and smelly before her eyes. These days, romantic scenes remained between the pages of a well-thumbed book.

“Never wait for someone else to rescue you,” Letty advised. “Especially a man. They’ll ride away on those fine horses afterward, and where will you be? Still here, cleaning the mess, having to work for an owner who couldn’t even be bothered to come out here after you. Rescue yourself, my dear.”

“Shall we run for it?”

“We could, but I’ve a better idea.” Letty turned to Beady Eyes and held up her reticule. The man flinched, but she had other plans.

“Want to get rid of two troublesome women?” she asked him. Pouring out a palmful of coins, Letty made an offer. “Here’s your chance.”

11 thoughts on “Book Review & Excerpt: A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett

      1. I didn’t love the first book, but there was still a lot I enjoyed about it. I’m hearing that this one was better. Fingers crossed I’ll feel the same. I hope you enjoy the first one, though!!

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