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The care and feeding of waspish widows
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When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, she turns to beekeeper Penelope Flood for help, but their blossoming romance is threatened by the arrival of the formerly exiled queen of England and the return of Penelope's husband. - (Baker & Taylor)

When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it&;s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous&;

Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk.  Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England&;s shores&;and when Penelope&;s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge.

As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?


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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* When in doubt, consult an expert. So, naturally, when respectable widow Agatha Griffin discovers that a swarm of bees has taken up residence in a corner of her print-shop warehouse in Melliton, England, it is only logical that she would seek help from Penelope Flood, who knows everything there is to know about bees. With the sure hand of an experienced apiarist, Penelope soon has Agatha's bee dilemma firmly under control. However, after spending time with delightfully eccentric Penelope, Agatha discovers she has a new dilemma: the feelings she is experiencing for her new friend are far from platonic. Waite set the literary bar high for herself with the exceptional start to her Feminine Pursuits series, The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics (2019), but she easily matches it with this brilliantly conceived, breathtakingly romantic Regency historical. Waite's poetically polished prose is infused with just the right measure of sly wit and perfectly complemented by a marvelously inventive plot involving not only the art and science of beekeeping but also a village queen bee's attempt to use censorship to wield control over her fellow citizens, and the political turmoil surrounding George IV and his wife, Caroline. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Another sweet—and steamy—historical romance from the author of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics (2019). When artist Agatha Griffin discovers that a swarm of bees has made itself at home in her workshop, she follows her mother-in-law's advice and seeks the help of Penelope Flood. The beekeeper convinces the printmaker to let her move the colony to a skep behind the shop, and a correspondence that begins with a brief discussion of the colony's honey production soon turns more intimate. Penelope is warm and outgoing. Agatha is more inclined to be reserved, but Penelope's kindness helps her realize that she is—three years after her husband's death—terribly lonely. Given the genre, it is inevitable that these two will fall in love, but Waite doesn't rush her protagonists. At first, Agatha knows only that Penelope is married to a sailor who is seldom ashore. Penelope only knows that Agatha loved her husband. It takes time and trust for them to reveal their true feelings and desires to each other. It's a real pleasure watching this friendship between two women in middle ag e blossom and evolve into a passionate attachment. Waite wove politics into the first installment of her Feminine Pursuits series, and she is even more explicit here. Agatha and Penelope meet just as the House of Lords is about to put Queen Caroline on trial for adultery, an event that exposed several fault lines in British society and marked a turning point for the press. Agatha faces some difficult choices as she decides how radical she wants to be in choosing what to print, and Penelope is compelled to examine loyalties and relationships that cut across classes. This is a richly layered novel, with much to recommend it to readers who don't typically read historical romance. Entertaining, intelligent, and emotionally rewarding. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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