Audiobook Review: A Lady’s Formula for Love (The Secret Scientists of London #1)

Published: February 9th 2021

Author: Elizabeth Everett

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki

Audiobook Length: 10 hours 35 minutes

What is a Victorian lady’s formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry—it’s elemental.

Lady Violet Hughes is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet’s laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test—and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart. 

A Lady’s Formula for Love illustrated the wonderful world of female scientists in Victorian London mixed with the bodyguard. This is the start of an intriguing series and I am all for novels featuring brilliant scientists who are working to change the world! The story takes place in 19th century England, which gave the story a fun historical flair that added to my enjoyment. I listened to the audiobook of this novel and I loved Elizabeth Jasicki’s work as the narrator. She voices the entire novel and does the voices of all the characters.

Lady Violet Hughes is a founding member of Athena’s Retreat, a secret society where women can step out of a man’s shadow and shine as scientists or just as themselves.  The women in this society study all topics of science from botany to chemistry to biology and everything in between. After she became a widow in her 30s, she became less confident in herself as a person. The one place where she feels more like herself is when she wraps herself up in her experiments. She goes through a lot of character growth in this story and it was heart-warming to read about her journey to heal from the past emotional abuse she went through with her husband.

Violet is given a secret mission to devise a chemical neutralizer to a toxic gas by the government. When her work and her life are threatened, her stepson, Lord Greycliff, hired a bodyguard to protect her. Enter Arthur Kneland, a Scottish bodyguard in his early 40s, who decided to take on this project after retiring from the Queen’s service.  Arthur’s a character with a mysterious past that gets slowly revealed over time. He is determined to protect Violet and the other ladies in the society against the mysterious threat. It is unknown if it is a single person or group of people who are behind the attacks and Arthur is determined to find out.

Arthur and Violet have an insta-love connection after he “saves” her by jumping on top of her. The two of them have instant chemistry and attraction. They get to know each other a little throughout the story, but, to me, it seemed like a relationship driven by lust. The two main pieces of conflict seem to be their social stations and Arthur being hired to protect Violet. They do support each other and have great communication where they were cute together, but it never quite obtained the depth I would expect based on the attention to detail given to the mystery part of the story.

Overall, the story is not fully predictable. Sure, you can see where Arthur and Violet’s relationship is going, but the mystery portion keeps you guessing until the end. I found myself having a few guesses here and there, but never fully arriving at 100% until it was officially confirmed. The concept of a secret society of brilliant women dealing with the social expectations given to them in Victoria England is fascinating and one of the main reasons I was drawn to this story. There are a ton of characters in this story, so there are multiple opportunities for characters to feature in the follow-up novels. Although this novel was not among my favorites, I am intrigued to try the next as this was the debut novel for the author and perhaps the next will improve on some areas where I had issues.

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