Trigger Warning: miscarriages, fertility issues
The plot line was great; Sebastian decides to stop being the face of/public lightning rod for the scientific work of Violet, Countess of Cambury. These are two characters we barely met in the first novella, then got to know through their conversations and actions in the preceding books; mostly, they work to move those books' story lines along. So I was really excited to read their story, for both the plot line and the romance. The plot line worked....the romance didn't; this ended up being the weakest book in the series so far.
Violet was easy to know and love in the earlier books, but in this book she was cold, brittle, and a bit cruel. She was and is an incredibly smart character, but there wasn't anything else to add to her personality. Lily (Violet's sister) was such a carbon copy of the typical titled rich bitch you would find in historical romances. Sebastian was a little too Mr. Perfect in this book and his begging for his brother's approval and Violet's love got old. This book could have benefited from cutting down on each of the characters' inner monologues and wallowing in their respective gloom and doom. Sebastian's brother was a drag to read about/read their conversations - another area for editing for a tighter story line. Robert/Minnie and Oliver/Jane were mere cardboard cut outs of their former selves.
The science-centered plot line was great, especially when Violet was in the courtroom, defending herself and gladly taking the credit for her work. And I really enjoyed the second conversation Violet had with her mother (Dowager Rotherham). Finally, I really enjoyed Alice Bollingall's aid in helping Violet with the biggest scientific discovery; the Bollingall's relationship, both personal and professional, was a great mirror for Sebastian and Violet's relationship.
Bottom line: there was too much angsty characters/situations, too much repetitive dialogue and inner monologues that brought down a decent story. 3 stars.