Love in a Bottle

Written by Zoe Archer
Review by Margaret Barr

Sophie Andrews is more interested in botany than in her parents’ plan to marry her off advantageously, as befitting a wellborn young lady in Georgian England. When her sole supporter, her doting uncle, is brutally kidnapped from the carriage in which they travel, she relies on the assistance of a handsome vagabond. The arrival of Ian Blackpool, a mountebank who hawks a bogus love potion, proves timely.

After her parents destroy her laboratory and her botanical library, Sophie accepts Ian’s offer to continue her studies in his gypsy wagon. They are equally interested, for different reasons, to learn whether a plant-based love elixir really exists. Their symbiotic relationship suffers when Sophie’s parents announce her engagement to a local landowner. Ian, distressed by her apparent rejection, decides to return to the home he deserted long ago, a visit interrupted by news of Sophie’s disappearance. Her resourcefulness and knowledge of plants prove invaluable and ensure a satisfactory conclusion.

Historical romance fans will appreciate this clever and entertaining novel by a promising author.