A Love by Design (The Secret Scientists of London)

Written by Elizabeth Everett
Review by Sarah Hendess

Everett delivers the goods with this smart, steamy, and delightfully madcap second-chance romance. In London, 1844, George Willis, the Earl Grantham, knows that getting married would enhance his reputation and help him pass an education reform bill that will benefit thousands of poverty-stricken children, but no one in London has caught his eye… until his childhood friend and teenage love Margaret Gault returns from France.

Widowed seven years, Margaret has come back to Athena’s Retreat—the secret haven of female scientists that masquerades publicly as a social club—to continue her work as an engineer. But Margaret’s new project in London requires her to cooperate with the Retreat’s arch-nemesis, and rekindling her relationship with George could further damage his reputation in Parliament—and threaten the success of his education bill—because no serious politician would ever do something so radical as marry an ambitious woman. But there’s no denying their attraction, and they must find a way to be together without losing everything else.

Everett skillfully creates high stakes for her characters without sacrificing the zaniness of the first two books in this series. Margaret faces the dilemmas of so many modern working women—balancing relationships with a career and not being taken seriously by the men in her field—while George flounders, trying to reconcile the sweet, charming man that he is with the ruthless politician society expects him to be, all the while trying to avoid both hedgehogs and a murderous gaggle of geese.

With its engaging plot, memorable characters, spicy love scenes, and a bromance for the ages, A Love by Design is one book no romance lover should miss. Highly recommended.