Reviewed by Ami
Title: The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows
Author: Olivia Waite
Series: Feminine Pursuits #2
Heroines: Agatha and Penelope
Genre: F/F Historical Romance
Length: 292 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
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?
I loved Olivia Waite’s debut last year, The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, so I was quite eager with this one. Alas, the sophomore book didn’t charm me as much. I struggled to get through the first part of this book. I thought there were too many things that were happening, it muddled the romance. Most especially everything related to the Royal Scandal of King George IV and Queen Caroline.
I understand that this book was set around that time, and with Agatha Griffin worked in printing business, this event might seep into her daily life. But I thought it was too much. I could feel my eyes glazed over all those parts; like, if I want to learn about history, I could check out Wikipedia.
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows picked up about half-way through. In fact, if only Waite focused on Agatha Griffin, Penelope Flood, and the people of Melliton, I thought this could be a more enjoyable story for me. I had fun reading Agatha and Penelope dealing with The Melliton Auxiliary Branch of the Society for Suppression of Seditious Libel and Mendacity (my God that’s mouthful *laugh*). When Penelope arranged that ‘plan’ to help the beekeepers of Melliton against the vicar and the revengeful Lady Summerville… well, I was very much invested!!
This is a very slow-burn romance; we didn’t get any “action” until the last third of the book. But when we got to that part, it was good! I also liked Agatha’s relationship with her teenage son and his girlfriend. As well as Penelope’s relationship with her husband (don’t worry, it’s a marriage of convenience, because Penelope’s husband was in love with her brother, and Penelope only liked women). Oh, and this is a story about two women in their forties too, so that is another plus point.
So yes, this has its wonderful moments but those other side stories (including the real-life history) made The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows rather boring *shrugs*
Overall Impression: It was good
*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*