A love story between a duke and a women’s rights activist
Book of Love is a cross-class historical romance that deals with the restrictions suffered by married women during the Victorian period and the attempts to introduce laws that would guarantee them some fundamental rights.
Our thanks to the author, InkSlingerPR, and NetGalley for the advanced reader’s copy.
Title: Book of Love by Erin Satie
Publisher: Little Phrase (April 20, 2021)
She’s trying to make ends meet. He’s out for a bit of fun.
Cordelia Kelly is busy, focused, worried about the future of her fledgling bookbinding business. When a handsome man stops her on the street to pester her with questions, she gives him the consideration he deserves: none.
That handsome man happens to be the Duke of Stroud, and he finds Cordelia’s hostility hilarious. He gives chase, if only for the pleasure of provoking her again.
He thinks life is a game. She doesn’t play around.
Within days of meeting Cordelia, Stroud sets a marching band on a matchmaking mama, defaces a local monument, and ropes Cordelia into a round of his favorite game.
In that same time, Cordelia stitches together the complete works of Mary Wollstonecraft, enthusiastically devotes herself to a petition demanding expanded legal rights for married women, and beats Stroud at his own game.
She defies all expectations. So does he.
Most people dismiss Stroud as a fool—himself included. When Cordelia sees past his lighthearted facade, he’s terrified and also… in love?
Stroud barges into Cordelia’s life, offering her all the material and sensual temptations she’s learned to do without. She usually has willpower to spare, but turning him down takes all of it, and then some. He’s oddly irresistible.
Or maybe they’re just perfect for one another.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
Links provided by the author
Cordelia stood by a friend when she refused to marry a disreputable man. As a result, she had to share her friend’s downfall and abandon her comfortable life to support herself in London as a book-binder. Alistair, the Duke of Stroud, was a silly man whose pastime was to organize pranks.
These unlikely pair ended up connecting and bonding. Cordelia was the only person able to see beyond Alistair’s foolish facade, while he was the only man of her acquaintance to truly admire her overly frank behavior.
Cordelia was part of a women’s rights discussion group whose main objective was to pass a law that would guarantee married women’s fundamental rights.
I enjoyed the story and the contrast between Alistair’s light-hearted pranks and the more serious discussions in Cordelia’s group.
Alistair grew slowly on me, and, like Cordelia, I managed to see past his wall of self-protection. Cordelia was an idealist and probably quite young. Her heart was in the right place, but sometimes she was a little too blunt when trying to express her views.
I could feel their connection, but, to be honest, I was not sure they were right for each other. Cordelia’s idealistic personality clashed with Alistair’s carefree nature. It felt that their relationship was a little like Jo and Laurie’s from Little Women, and I could not refrain from wishing Cordelia would find her Frederick instead.
The side characters were lovely and exciting. I enjoyed their varied points of view and how this enriched their relationships.
Book of Love is an engaging fictional account intersected by actual events of the fight for married women’s rights during the Victorian period. It is also a light-hearted cross-class historical romance with remarkable characters.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Erin Satie writes dark and elegant historical romances, with a focus on good research and better writing, where love is a bright light in an otherwise dark world.
She’s a California native who’s lived all over the place, on the coasts and in the heartland, in tiny city apartments and on a working farm. She’s trying out life as a digital nomad, writing her novels as she travels the world.
She studied art history in college and graduate school–research is her favorite part of starting a new book. The happily ever after is her favorite part of finishing one, whether she’s reading or writing.