Caldwell, Christi. The Bluestocking. Seattle: Montlake Romance, 2019.
Paperback | $12.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1503904071 | 339 pages | Regency Romance
I want to start by giving a caveat that The Bluestocking, like many of Caldwell’s others, regardless of what some others will tell you, makes most sense read after both the prior books in the Wicked Wallflowers series and at least the previous series to this one, the Sinful Brides. That was my issue when I read The Vixen, and it remains an issue, primarily because I wound up more or less skipping The Governess because I failed to become fully invested, due to not being able to truly like the characters (especially Broderick). This played a small role in my diminished enjoyment.
However, I did like Gertrude from the glimpses I got of her in the other books, so I decided to still give it a try, even with some of those aforementioned considerations in mind. I have a disability similar to hers, and I found it inspiring how she went from being the one who is generally in the shadows and underestimated by the others to actively fighting to ensure her adoptive brother’s well-being.
I also found I could understand Edwin’s perspective too, given the amount of loss he’s faced. And while he’s not “mad” as he’s often made out to be, I like that it’s reflective of the habit in the period of characterizing anyone who didn’t fit a certain mold as “mad.”
However, the romance itself failed to win me over. Part of it is the whole family feud, “your family took my son,” “but he was raised as my brother and we loved him” angle, which seemed like insurmountable odds to me for love to defy. Even taking into account the Gertrude was more or less blameless in the actual kidnapping, and Edwin was doing what he thought was right, I still did not find the development well-handled, and I definitely felt there could have been a bit more emotional depth to both of them, given their respective pasts, which Caldwell has done much better in some of her previous books.
That said, others have enjoyed this book, and I think their more consistent consumption of Caldwell’s books plays at least a small role in that, as they get a greater sense of the relationship dynamics, which while evident in this one as more or less a stand-alone, would likely feel richer in terms of the wider scope if you read more of them and in order.