From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
Happy Friday, dear readers. Landing on the blog today is a debut historical romance novel by K. Lyn Smith involving a 19th century scientist and an artist who are friends, and unexpectantly become lovers while working together.
The Astronomer’s Obsession is an intriguing title. What could possibly be more interesting to a scientist than his passion for his quest for knowledge? Is this a Regency science geek finds true love story?
It’s not often that science is the driving force bringing two lovers together in a historical romance. I was racking my brain to think of other love stories that involve 19th-century scientists. I actually Googled “historical romance with scientists,” and lo and behold there is a list on Goodreads’ Listopia with dozens of examples. “Scientists in Historical Romance,” sites options from bestselling authors like Tessa Dare’s The Governess Game, and Courtney Milan’s The Countess Conspiracy. It was an education for me, expanding my book universe.
This romance features a friends-to-lovers trope, astronomy, and two perfectly matched souls. Here is the book description from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt for your enjoyment.
Happy star gazing!
The story of two friends and a slow-burning love that outshines the universe.
An astronomer of humble origins
Harry Corbyn has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. In a discipline dominated by titled noblemen, he’s fought to get where he is. And where he wants to be next is Egypt, to lead an expedition to measure the size of the solar system. An extended stay at Redstone Hall is not part of his plan.
An artist of noble birth
Celeste St. James knows she’s meant for more than needlepoint and high society. With dreams of exhibiting at Paris’ prestigious Académie, she doesn’t need distractions. But she returns to Redstone Hall when her father becomes ill and reunites with her childhood friend. When the two join forces to help Celeste’s father build an ambitious telescope, their powerful connection draws them deeper into each other’s orbit, until they must choose between their dreams or their love.
Harry swirled the tawny liquid in his glass and wondered what Celeste was doing.
When he entered the drawing room, he saw her sitting in a circle of ladies, hands folded before her. She looked about the room like a felon aboard a prison hulk seeking a stealthy overboard escape. She had never been one for idle chatter. And if the topic was needlework . . . well.
Lord Ashford approached Harry with a hearty clap on the back. “Harry, my boy. I can’t quite grasp that you’re soon to leave England. Are your travel arrangements all set?”
“Yes, my lord.” Harry smiled. “I believe everything is in order.” Ashford, with his gruff, paternal manner, was more of a father than Harry’s own sire had been. With his low expectations for, and general disinterest in, his son, William Corbyn had never troubled himself with Harry’s aspirations. But Harry counted this as the third time Ashford had inquired about his travel plans.
They watched as Celeste left the ladies to speak to Sir John and Lady Grey across the room. Harry still couldn’t accustom himself to how elegant she looked. Ladylike. Granted, it had been a year since he was last at Redstone Hall.
“I worry about Celeste,” Ashford said.
“Is she unwell, my lord?”
“She’s well enough. But I fear she’s bored. Unsatisfied.” Ashford sighed. “Sir John hinted that Julian would like to pay his addresses.”
What? Celeste and Julian? Harry cleared his throat. He tried to imagine Celeste married with a family of her own. His mind couldn’t form the image.
“I had hoped . . . Well, as much as I would like to have her close, I fear marriage won’t be enough to satisfy her boredom. She’s much like her mother.” Ashford rarely mentioned his wife and her extended trip to Paris, but Harry occasionally caught a distant gaze in the man’s eyes. A hint of loneliness that he would shake off before refocusing on the matter at hand.
Harry had never been married, and he couldn’t envision a wife for himself. His livelihood was uncertain, dependent as it was on research and educational grants. Marriage simply wasn’t in the stars for him. How could he ask a lady to leave her home and family to join him in his scientific quests? Or to remain behind, waiting for him? He cleared his throat and sought to turn the conversation.
“Tell me about your latest project, my lord. You’re working on a catalog of binary stars, I understand.”
“Indeed, indeed! I’d love your opinion on a theory I have.” Ashford steered them toward a small seating area where they had often played chess. Heavy curtains were drawn against the darkness, blocking their view to the expansive back gardens. They sat across from one another, and Ashford spoke at length about his catalog endeavor.
Some time later, Ashford left to speak with Lord Knowles. Harry looked up and Celeste caught his eye. She gave a visible sigh. He smiled; it appeared her patience with social niceties was at an end. She approached and suggested a game of chess. He was instantly suspicious. Celeste usually avoided playing with him since he didn’t let her win. He set his reservations aside, though, and began setting up his half of the board.
Harry studied Celeste’s long, slender fingers as she placed her pieces, then asked, “When did you leave off your braids?”
“Harry, I haven’t worn braids in four years.”
He blinked. How had he missed that? He thought back to last year’s Round Table, and the year before that, but he couldn’t recall whether she had worn braids or not.
They began to play, and it was clear Celeste had something on her mind. Knowing her, he would hear it soon enough. As his knight closed in on her king, she spoke. “Harry, do you have a special lady in your life?”
“You know my mother has been gone these past twenty years, and my elder sister and I are not close.”
“No, I mean a special lady. Are you courting anyone?”
On the heels of his earlier thoughts on marriage, her question came as a surprise. “No, I don’t have time for courting. And it wouldn’t be right to form an attachment with a lady since I’m leaving for Berlin soon.”
She nodded and tapped her chin. “Harry, I’ve had a brilliant idea.”
He shifted in his seat uncomfortably. That she’d had an idea, he was certain. That it was brilliant, he doubted.
Chapter 1, pages 11-13
“I always enjoy a unique spin on a Regency love story and the astronomy interest that was added to this plot was something I had never read before… I enjoyed this story and really loved these characters together.”— Ashley Johnson, Bringing Up Books
5 Stars “The attraction between Harry and Celeste builds slowly, but there’s plenty else to keep them occupied, from family drama to potential suitors for them both… I highly recommend “The Astronomer’s Obsession” for readers who enjoy sweet historical romance with a bit of mystery mixed in.”— Auriette, FreshFiction.com
K. Lyn Smith writes sweet historical romance with swoony heroes. Sometimes a pig or two. Her goal with every story is to carry readers into a new world and leave them with a solid book hangover. K. Lyn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her own swoony hero. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s a mean spreadsheetist. K. Lyn enjoys spending time with family, traveling and watching period dramas.
- The Astronomer’s Obsession: A Sweet Regency Romance (Something Wonderful Book 1), by K. Lyn Smith
- Self-published (October 19, 2021)
- Trade paperback, & eBook (417) pages
- ISBN: 978-1737657910
- Genre: Regency Romance
Cover image, book description, & author bio courtesy of K. Lyn Smith © 2021; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2021, austenprose.com.