[Note from Frolic: This post is brought to you by our friends at Kensington. Looking for your next historical featuring a STEM protagonist? Look no further than Who Wants to Marry a Duke by Sabrina Jeffries!]
I recently read Sabrina Jeffries’ Who Wants to Marry a Duke, the third book in her Duke Dynasty series, and boy did I love it! This story tells the tale of bookish Miss Olivia Norley and handsome rakehell, Marlowe Drake, the Duke of Thornstock. After a somewhat life-altering kiss nine years earlier that left them enemies, Thorn buried himself in the fine art of being a rake. At the same time, Olivia busied herself with her passion for chemistry of the laboratory type. Though their paths took them on vastly different journeys, the single passionate kiss they shared was never far from either’s mind.
Olivia and Thorn meet up again when Thorn’s half-brother Grey hires Olivia to help him determine if his long-dead father was murdered by poison. This unorthodox diagnosis of Grey’s father could be a pioneering experiment that could launch Olivia’s career. Her dreams of being a renowned chemist are well within her grasp. While Olivia is busy figuring out what killed Grey’s father, Thorn has to figure out if he can let past grievances go so he can keep Olivia safe. Oh yes, Thorn is protecting his heart as much as he’s protecting his brilliant Olivia, if she’ll let him.
Unbeknownst to me, when I started this journey into the Duke Dynasty series, there is an overarching mystery afoot! I love a good romantic suspense with a good dose of mystery; set it in historical times, and we have a winner! You can easily pick up the story with Who Wants to Marry a Duke, but if you’re like me, you’ll fall in love with the secondary cast and want to go back to the beginning to see them find their HEA!
For me, Olivia is the star of the show. I love a good bluestocking heroine who can’t be bothered with the ton’s nonsense, especially when there’s science to be learned! She’s such a multidimensional character, filled with quirks and so much heart, you can’t help but fall in love with her. Honestly, Thorn didn’t stand a chance! If protagonists in STEM are your historical jam, I have a few books you’d do well to consider after you read Who Wants to Marry a Duke.
A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare has a geologist heroine. Minerva Highwood, Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinster, is far more interested in discovering rare rocks and minerals than people, especially men, super especially handsome rakes like Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne. Not only do we get a bluestocking heroine, but we also get a fake relationship, armed robbers, forced close proximity by way of a 400-mile carriage journey, and all the fast-paced, witty banter you can stand!
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite is a STEM protagonist treasure! A widowed Countess, Catherine St Day, hires an astronomer, Lucy Muchelney, to translate her dead husband’s scientific texts, and a love match, against all the odds, ensues! Oh yes, did I mention this one is F/F because it is!
Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins is centered around a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles! Lady Daphne Forsyth finds an encrypted message, the Cameron Cipher, in the library of her benefactress. It holds the key to great riches. Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland’s handsome nephew, interferes at every turn.
To show men can be into STEM, too, The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller is a standout. Our hero Sam Moore (possibly my favorite historical hero ever), is a pioneer in electric lighting by day and a ghost hunter by night. He helps widow Alva Webster restore the dilapidated and very haunted Hyde Park mansion, Liefdehuis. Have no fear, Sam comes from a family of scientists, women included, and I expect great stories with female STEM leads to come!
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale gives us the beautiful and brilliant Merlin Lamourne. She is an engineer who could create a new way to defeat the deadly, advancing forces of Napoleon’s army. Lord Ransom Falconer falls under the spell of Merlin’s intoxicating beauty and must keep her and her inventions safe as the bad guys close in.
There are so many wonderful historical protagonists in STEM; it’s hard to pick a favorite. Do yourself a favor and read all of them. You won’t be disappointed!