Inventing Vivian (The Blue Orchid Society, #2)

Written by Jennifer Lunt Moore
Review by Susan McDuffie

1873 London: Vivian Kirby does not do well at socializing. She much prefers science, engineering, and inventing devices such as the “Personal Propulsion Vehicle” or the “Podiatric Warming Apparatus” rather than idle chitchat on the dance floor. A dismal failure at the usual society events, Vivian has nevertheless struck up a friendship with several other young women who also have unusual interests, and Vivian hopes to have her inventions successfully accepted to the upcoming International Exhibition of Industry and Science. However, when her young nephew crashes the prototype of the “Personal Propulsion Vehicle” into her neighbor’s fountain, Vivian must face an old nemesis.

Lord Benedict, as a boy, had cruelly mocked Vivian’s scientific studies and his ridicule left a scar. But Lord Benedict, now called back from China due to the death of his older brother, has changed. He has developed new perspectives since his sojourn abroad and regrets his past boorishness. Benedict plans to make amends for his past behavior by secretly sponsoring Vivian’s invention. But will his attempt backfire? And will other events prevent Vivian from attaining her dearest wish?

This charming and somewhat unexpected Victorian romance includes hints of mystery. Moore has created an endearing and unusual heroine and hero, both of whom bring a breath of fresh air to her well-researched depiction of Victorian London. The settings feel accurate, and I got a good sense of the era and location. This is a truly enjoyable read, with memorable characters, and is recommended for all lovers of sweet historical romance.