I am thrilled to participate in the blog tour for Inventing Vivian by Jennifer Moore!
When I was contacted about participating in this tour several weeks ago, I hadn’t yet read the first book in the series (this is the second). That was quickly remedied as I devoured both books. I loved them and am so thrilled that we will get a full series focused on each of these fantastic characters!
Thank you to Prism Books and the author for the complimentary ebook and for the opportunity to participate in this tour! All opinions are my own. (And check out the tour giveaway at the bottom of my post!)
Plot summary: “Ladies of London’s High Society are known for their social graces and poise. Vivian Kirby boasts neither of these enviable qualities, though she does offer impressive conversation on chemical compositions. Unfortunately, it appears that not many men want a brilliant wife. So it is that Vivian finds kinship with a group of young women who embrace each other’s differences: The Blue Orchid Society.
After an extended stay in China, Lord Benedict has returned transformed to his family’s estate, where an encounter with Vivian, whose scientific knowledge he once undermined, leaves him determined to make amends. He arranges to help forward her research—anonymously, of course. Through letters, Vivian establishes a warm friendship with her secret benefactor, even as she’s unexpectedly drawn into a murder investigation that forces her to work alongside Benedict to unearth the truth. Soon, Vivian fears she may be falling in love with two men, never suspecting that they are one and the same.“
I have been hoping to read more historical fiction set in the Victorian Age and this book offers rich detail of this time. I love the setting and the unique historical changes that Moore includes in her novels. Sophie is an aspiring news reporter. Vivian is a scientist and inventor. And their friends have high aspirations as well. The changing times of the Victorian Age offer such neat opportunities for women (and men) regardless of their birth. The details about the science exhibition that Vivian participates in are fascinating. I felt like I was there walking the famous Great Exhibition Hall in Hyde Park looking at booths full of unique and intriguing inventions. I was also impressed by the ways other cultures are woven into the plot. Benedict spent extended time in China and his experiences change him in important ways. I loved seeing the ways he honors his experiences there with his garden design and drawing room furnishings. The world was getting smaller during the Victorian Age and I was fascinated seeing how people react, judge, and include people of different backgrounds.
One of my favorite parts of these books is the unique and strong friendship between the women of the Blue Orchid Society. I appreciated Moore’s note about how she wants to celebrate female friendships and true support of each other. Too often, women in historical novels are portrayed as rivals and gossips. This novel is a breath of fresh, positive friendship. These women are actually friends, confidants, and supports to each other. They celebrate the successes of their friends and help them reach for their dreams. And that is something to celebrate indeed! I appreciated the ways Vivian’s friends help with her ambitions even when she thinks it’s too late for success. And how they see how well she and Benedict fit far before she is willing to admit it. I loved both their serious interactions and playful banter. The women of the Blue Orchid Society showcase the best of what it means to be a true friend — dedication, love, and loyalty no matter what.
The plot is a unique combination of letters, a scientific competition, a love story, and a murder investigation. I love books told in the epistolary form so the letters were especially fun for me. I think we learn what is really important to characters by what they choose to include in a letter. And I enjoyed the blossoming friendship between Vivian and Benedict through their letters. The scientific and investigative elements seem like they should be at odds with each other. Yet Moore gracefully intertwines Vivian’s brilliant scientific mind with the search for a murderer. I was fascinated by the way Vivian sees the world and impressed by her determination — both to succeed as an inventor in a male dominated field and to do the right thing for the people that mean the most to her.
I enjoyed the slow burning romance as Vivian and Benedict let down their facades and let each other really understand their passions and strengths. One of my favorite things about this series is the clean, beautiful love stories. These books celebrate true love and it’s importance beyond money, position or class. In order to find true happiness, these characters find love in unexpected and beautiful ways. For these two, Benedict’s determination to be a better man and take care of those less fortunate than himself was the most admirable part of this character. And Vivian’s loyalty to those she loves from her father to her friends (regardless of social standing) was her most beautiful trait. At first, it seems that these two are too different to fall in love. But slowly they begin to understand more about each other and their mutual disregard turns to surprising affection. Their attraction builds as the story goes on and climaxes in a heart pounding experience towards the end of the book. The first time Benedict finally kisses Vivian is as swoon worthy a kiss as I’ve read in historical romance.
Overall, I loved this novel because it showcases the potential and strength of women in this time period while also creating a beautiful love story. These characters are hard working and passionate about important issues. Their dreams and aspirations are incredible! But the women of the Blue Orchid Society also understand the importance of work, friendship, and love.
A wonderful series that I look forward to reading more of!
Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. She suffers from an acute addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.
One winner will receive a print copy of Inventing Vivian by Jennifer Moore and a $25 Amazon gift card.
(US addresses only) Ends July 21, 2021