K.J. Charles's Reviews > The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
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bookshelves: regency, f-f

A delightful extremely slow-burn f/f historical set in the tumultuous times between the Cato St Conspirators' execution and the death of Queen Caroline. I absolutely loved the historical background here, it's one of incredibly few Regencies I've read that really understands what a terrifying, repressive time it was for ordinary people, with grotesquely draconian laws arbitrarily enforced. We're genuinely afraid for Agatha, the printer, trying to make a living without falling foul of the laws and compromising her own morals and self-respect in the process.

There's an awful lot of hard thinking in this book--about direct action, the impact of marriage laws on women, the balance between political activism and personal life, and the effect of constant compromising on the human (particularly female) soul, in the personal as well as political spheres. I loved this. Those who want to get straight to the bonking may not be so happy, but what we have here is a really well-developed pre-romance relationship that makes the eventual HEA one of the most credible and underpinned I've read. These two people know each other deeply, have developed friendship and mutual respect and seen each other's courage and kindness and fears and weakness, and that makes the romance profoundly grounded and convincing.

Also there is a lot on beekeeping which is fascinating and makes for excellent metaphors, plus the use of it at a climactic plot point is absolute genius. I was cheering and waving things.

Honestly this book is so well grounded. There's a real sense of a big existing *real* world and a whole range of people busily living their lives at all strata of society and dealing with the actual range of human problems, small to large scale, personal, professional and political. The only comparable histrom I can think of right now is Spring Flowering which is also a slow-burn f/f, oddly enough. And come to that, though in an alt-world, the Alpennia series starting with Daughter of Mystery, which is *also* f/f slow burn. There's a thesis in here.

A terrific historical and a lovely character piece.
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Reading Progress

July 29, 2020 – Shelved
July 29, 2020 – Shelved as: regency
July 29, 2020 – Shelved as: f-f
Started Reading
July 30, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Pernilla (new) - added it

Pernilla Sounds very interesting!
That cover, though. What on earth are a twenty-something modern businesswoman and a prom queen doing on there? *SMH*


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura This excellent review confirms what I suspected I would find on reading the book. I loved Celestial Mechanics. I totally agree about the cover, Pernilla! It’s so wrong. It has seriously put me off starting the book for weeks.


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