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Inventing Vivian, A Victorian Romance: The Blue Orchid Society (Book 2), by Jennifer Moore — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In 1837, a sheltered yet determined 18-year-old became Queen Victoria and ushered in an era of immense transformation. Increased educational and employment opportunities for women and an overall increase in literacy cracked open the previously elite worlds of journalism and literature and scientific invention in exciting new ways. It was a time when a lady bluestocking might finally earn the chance to collaborate with other intellectuals as an admired and respected equal. Master storyteller Jennifer Moore has created a lovely and well-researched representation of this unique era in the latest tale from The Blue Orchid Society series, Inventing Vivian.

During a fateful meeting in a library sanctuary while escaping the unwelcome pressures of a ballroom, science-minded inventor Miss Vivian Kirby had made a pact with four other remarkable young ladies to form the Blue Orchid Society and to achieve their private ambitions with each other’s support and encouragement. Vivian was thrilled by the thought that her dream “was actually achievable. And the difference, she realized, was that she had the support of people like herself.” (237)

Vivian “was positively compelled by science and invention and technology. Understanding the mysteries of the physical world was more than simply a hobby. It was Vivian’s raison d’être. Her passion.” (92) After years of disappointing exclusion, being disregarded as an insignificant female, her dream is to display one of her many inventions at a prestigious—and exclusively male—science exhibition. Yet as a young lady from a respectable, wealthy family, Vivian is expected to behave with appropriate decorum, focusing on her appearance and seeking a suitable marriage. Though the discomfort nearly unravels her sanity, she awkwardly attempts to follow the path laid before her—with miserable failure the repeated result. Her logical mind rebels as she struggles to meet societal expectations. “The idea of casting aside her own pursuits to make a pleasant life for someone who cared nothing for her interests was intolerable to Vivian. Why would she seek such a union? What was the point of it?” (100) Continue reading “Inventing Vivian, A Victorian Romance: The Blue Orchid Society (Book 2), by Jennifer Moore — A Review”