The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I had high hopes for this book but honestly, it was a letdown. I liked the general idea and adored that the two protagonists were older women, but the story was bogged down with so much other content that it felt padded out to make it longer. There was so much involving the politics and royalty of the country and beekeeping that I got bored very often. I felt like the actual romance part took up way less of the book than it should have. When things finally progressed between the two the explicit nature of the relationship between them felt so sudden and out of place that it felt the author changed her mind about how she wanted to write it in the last fourth of the book.
Full Review with Spoilers
I was really excited to start this book. The premise sounded really interesting and I really like that both of the protagonists where older women. That’s pretty much the only thing I really liked.
The pacing of this book was so off and I was bored through more than half of the book. I would loosely call this book a slow burn romance simply because Agatha and Penelope don’t act on their feelings until the last fourth or so of the story. The actual content relevant to the growing attraction made up so little of the plot. There were large chunks of the story that dove deep the politics and controversy that was going on in the country around them. So much so that I felt this was added simply to pad out the story and make the book longer. The issues going on with the King and Queen had little to do with the actual plot other than to show her son being outspoken about it. I really felt like there was too much. This also applied to things like the beekeeping.
A large portion of who Penelope is involves her expertise on beekeeping and realistically, it’s what introduced her to Agatha. After that, there was so much about it that it also felt like an attempt to stretch the story and show off how much research the author had done for it. I appreciate that she did, but I didn’t need to know so much.
There was a somewhat large cast of side characters that I feel was not handled well. I honestly couldn’t keep half of the names straight and again, there was so much going on with them that it took away from the main plot.
When Agatha and Penelope finally do confess their feelings and act on it, the plot takes such a turn that it felt almost like a different book. Yes the two became a little crass in conversation when discussing their sex lives as close friends would, but that gets kicked up several notches after everything is out in the open. The sex scenes that happen (and the ones that are alluded to) are far more explicit than I would have pictured from these two and it just felt like an excuse to push the story into erotica territory at the last minute.
The most interesting part of the book to me was really the last chapter or so when Agatha finally realizes she can leave the family business to more than just her son.
This book had a lot of potential, but it was too busy and the plot was lost almost from the start.
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