The Love Remedy (The Damsels of Discovery)

Written by Elizabeth Everett
Review by Sarah Hendess

Lucinda Peterson has worked herself to exhaustion to make the London apothecary her father left her a success and to provide for herself and her siblings. Two years ago, a rival apothecary—and former lover—stole Lucy’s formula for throat lozenges before she could patent it. Now, in 1843, her formula for a salve to soothe babies’ croup has gone missing, and Lucy’s certain her ex-lover is the culprit once more.

Jonathan Thorne, a former prizefighter, now works for an agency that helps the palace cover up royal indiscretions and sometimes assists civilians who have been wronged. Hired by Lucy to recover her missing formula, Thorne poses as the apothecary’s new bookkeeper, and he and his nine-year-old daughter, Sadie, move into an apartment above the apothecary.

The sparks between Lucy and Thorne are immediate and intense, but they both hold back. Lucy fears being duped by another man, while Thorne has never forgiven himself for not saving Sadie’s mother from an early death. But as Thorne works to uncover the thief, he and Lucy are irresistibly drawn together, and they must challenge themselves to heal.

Once again, Everett mixes romance with sharp insights into women’s lives in Victorian England—as well as today. She pulls no punches highlighting the unequal treatment of women throughout history, particularly as it relates to healthcare access, freedom of choice regarding one’s own life, and safety. Readers of Everett’s previous series, Secret Scientists of London, will cheer to see cameo appearances from familiar characters while being treated to a colorful and often amusing cast of new ones. Dealing unflinchingly with birth control, abortion, and sexual assault—as well as containing some of Everett’s steamiest bedroom scenes yet—this book is not for the squeamish, but it’s sure to win Everett a legion of new fans.