Possibly my favorite trope or character in historical romance is the science-y bluestocking. I will read all of these books because they totally play into my science vanity, not that any hot lords or ladies have sought me out for discussing groundwater flow or vapor intrusion models in public. This is not to say that I love every science-y heroine book, but I will read all of them. Before you think “she hated this one too?” I need you to know that I really enjoyed Lady Claire Is All That.
It’s a Regency take on the movie She’s All That, which is pretty much a Pygmalion or My Fair Lady retelling (take your pick, but I always pick the musical). Claire is a math scholar and refuses to fit in with the ton. Fox is a handsome favorite of society and has just been jilted by his intended. While at a ball, Fox’s friend bets him that Fox can’t make awkward Claire into someone society adores. And as he tries to figure out how to make her more society-appropriate, they fall in love and he begins to wish that she could be allowed to be herself.
It’s the time spent with Fox as he begins to see her as someone other than a challenge (he does immediately regret the bet) that drew me in. He champions her, encourages her, likes her with all of her difficult opinions and conversational topics. And Claire feels accepted and appreciated with him, in addition to the fact that they are very attracted to each other. This acceptance is gold because he doesn’t placate her and he doesn’t make her feel less for being a bit more mathematically inclined than the average person in the British aristocracy.
My biggest complaint is that I don’t think there was enough of Claire learning to appreciate Fox for who he is. She admires his beauty, but there’s only one scene where we know she sees him as more than a pretty face. Most of the book is focused on Claire’s achievements with Fox as her supporter, and I wish there could have been a bit more of Claire as Fox’s cheerleader. And there were times when I had to put my disbelief in a corner, but I also didn’t mind most of the time. (I am still murky on the 1820s horse farm in Maryland [I believe in a previous book the family states they did not own slaves, but Maryland was a slave state].)
Overall, Lady Claire Is All That is a charming and fluffy story that hit my mood perfectly. And I’ve already recommended it to my sister for her cute and fun fix.