Review by Veronica

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Series Name: The Secret Scientists of London, # 3

 

There had been no thunderclap from the heavens, no trembling of the earth beneath her feet. One second, he’d been her playmate, then he became her world. Thirteen years, a marriage, a career, and home had come between them, yet Margaret still knew where he stood in any room she entered and could taste the salt of his warm skin on the tip of her tongue. Her body didn’t understand what Grantham had done; her traitorous heart raced in her chest fueled by memories and the scent of him that somehow reached her from across the room.

A Love by Design is a fun and smart romance about women who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves. 

Widowed and determined, Margaret Gault has returned to Athena’s Retreat and the welcoming arms of her fellow secret scientists with an ambitious plan in mind: to establish England’s first woman-owned engineering firm. But from the moment she sets foot in London her plans are threatened by greedy investors and—at literally every turn—the irritatingly attractive Earl Grantham, a man she can never forgive.

George Willis, the Earl Grantham, is thrilled that the woman he has loved since childhood has returned to London. Not as thrilling, however, is her decision to undertake an engineering commission from his political archnemesis. When Margaret’s future and Grantham’s parliamentary reforms come into conflict, Grantham must use every ounce of charm he possesses—along with his stunning good looks and flawless physique, of course—to win Margaret over to his cause. 

Facing obstacles seemingly too large to dismantle, will Grantham and Margaret remain forever disconnected or can they find a way to bridge their differences, rekindle the passion of their youth, and construct a love built to last? 

…Sigh…. This book is wonderful! I really cannot wait to gush about it to all of you. A Love by Design is the third book in The Secret Scientists of London series and can be read as a stand-alone. If you are a fan of STEM romance books, you should try this series. Elizabeth always creates female characters that blow me away with their brilliance. Half of the time, I have no idea what they are talking about (like most of the men in these books), but I know what they are talking about is important to them and society. Their passion leaps from the pages, and I can’t help but be excited for them. Maggie is a brilliant engineer, and I love watching her talk about her work and her hopes for her future. She is a more serious and reserved heroine than her predecessors in the series. She isn’t my favourite character, but I did like her. Maggie has built this wall around her heart, and it was wonderful watching as it slowly came down as she spent more time with George. I loved watching her navigate the world of men as she tried to set up her own business.  

This story is full of chaos and shenanigans, something I have come to expect from this series. But what surprised me was that it was men who were chaotic and pulling off the shenanigans. The bromance between Arthur and George just absolutely made my day. It was one of the things that I loved most about this book. These two men had the weirdest and funniest friendship. I just couldn’t get enough of them. In particular, I loved their awkward conversation about their feelings toward the women they love. Watching these two men try to be fierce and manly while also trying to get relationship advice from each other was hilarious. I was also so happy when I learned that all these men get together and talk about romance books. 

I am on a second-chance trope kick right now. I loved the chemistry between George and Maggie. There is a long and bumpy history between these two. Their relationship in this book faces many challenges, whether from society or from each other, or through misunderstandings. I really liked them, especially George. He appears as if he is this large, gruff man, but he isn’t. He often got tongue-tied, especially around Maggie, and I love how excited and happy he could get. He stole my heart. The relationship between George and Maggie is swoony, witty, and sweet. I thought Elizabeth did a great job at bringing these characters together, and I loved how they had to work for their relationship. Nothing came easy for these two.

A Love by Design is full of corsets and smouldering kisses. 

Thank you, Berkley, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.