Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel


Muriel Pendrake is determined to create her own destiny. She survived a loveless marriage as a helpmeet to her much older husband, and it was emotionally demoralizing. She did learn a lot about botany, however, while accompanying her late husband on all his expeditions. A botanist in her own right, Muriel’s received an offer from scientific-minded ladies in the United States to give a lecture, which will likely turn into a teaching position at a school for women if things go well. However, she expects a lot of pushback from male botanists who oversee such appointments and wants her lecture to be perfect. In order for this to happen, Muriel needs perfect illustrations, and has even identified the artist she needs to commission: Kit Griffiths.

Kit is a rake of a man who was once known as a renowned female artist. But, he dropped out of society and took up his new name and occupation as a bicycle maker, having lost the desire for art once he cut ties with his art society back in London. Kit’s not interested in Muriel’s commission, but it seems they’ve both run across the wrong side of a blustering aristocrat on Cornwall’s shores, one who’s sure that women have no stamina and real men ride high wheelers–not the lowly “safeties” Kit produces. (Safeties are much like the modern cruisers of today, as opposed to the giant-wheeled bicycles of yore.)

A wager is laid–with Kit’s bicycle shop on the line. If Muriel rides the Cornwall coast and trails alongside the men’s high wheel club, a week’s journey, on a safety cycle and under Kit’s tutelage, she will gain admittance to the aristocrats’ exclusive cycling club and Kit will paint the images she needs. If she doesn’t complete the journey, Kit loses his shop, and Muriel’s on her own for the artwork. Along the journey, Muriel aims to show Kit the plants she needs illustrated, and Kit aims to keep his heart and secrets close, even as Muriel’s brazenness and fortitude pierce through his elegantly tailored armor and facade.

This is a beautiful and fun historical romance between two people unsuspecting of a chance at bliss. Muriel’s eyes really are opened to a wide variety of experiences via Kit, his friends, and her own dearest friend Jame who is, in accordance with the language of the times, an inveterate invert. The banter is delightful, the setting delicious, and the sexual politics both tense and honest. I just adored the story, and how naive Muriel had been to her own needs as a woman. It takes her some time to learn that she’s both a sexual being, and a woman attracted to Kit. The safe societies that Kit and James navigate were interesting in their own right, and I enjoyed the brief stints I spent in their points-of-view getting to know each of them better, alongside Muriel.

I definitely enjoy historical romance, and I applaud the author’s deep research and breadth of knowledge regarding the customs and experiences of the time and setting. I truly felt connected to Kit, Muriel, and James, and I loved that each of them got a happy ending. As a woman who’s been in the minority of scientific circles, Muriel felt like a kindred spirit, and watching her gain such a joyous love was uplifting in the best ways. There are some delicious sexy moments, and Kit’s arsenal of phalluses was really something.

This one is definitely recommend to readers who enjoy historical romances, spirited adventures, and breaking social boundaries.