To Experiment with Desire
Emma V. Leech

[Girls Who Dare 8]

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An attraction she cannot ignore…
Minerva Butler is tired of her mother’s ambition to see her wed a duke like her clever cousin Prue. Beautiful, blonde, and with a healthy dowry thanks to her cousin’s generosity, it appears Minerva can finally take her pick of the ton’s eligible gentlemen. So naturally, this is the moment she becomes infatuated with the brilliant and impoverished natural philosopher, Inigo de Beauvoir.

A woman who threatens his peace of mind…
Inigo de Beauvoir is a driven man, consumed by his work to the detriment of all else, even his health, until a beautiful society Miss begins a seductive war against his belief that love is nothing more than lust with a ring on its finger.

A dangerous liaison…
On the surface, Miss Butler is the one with everything to lose, yet Inigo soon comes to realise that experimenting with desire will pose a very real threat to his heart.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’d been eagerly awaiting Minerva and Inigo’s story, and I was not disappointed.

Minerva has evolved a lot over the course of the series; she went from a silly, spoiled girl to a woman who has realized that she’s never given herself enough credit. She’s single-minded, but also cognizant of and willing to accept consequences–which is just as well, as she refuses to be put off her pursuit of Inigo. I adored her for her determination.

Inigo is delightfully awkward with interpersonal relationships. He’s a stereotypical intellectual, so focused on his work that he forgets to take care of himself, without much care for social niceties. It was charming to see his despair over his developing infatuation/obsession with Minerva, as he struggles to bring together who he was and who he’s becoming.

Looking at them, their relationship shouldn’t make sense–their upbringings are disparate, as are their current lives and situations. Minerva, however, is absolutely determined to show him how they could fit together. Her proposal of it as an experiment is brilliant and shows an understanding of how his mind works. For his part, Inigo tries to do the honorable thing, but is worn down in the face of Minerva’s relentless affection.

More of the Peculiar Ladies returned in this book, but were for some reason easier for me to keep track of this time; usually I just shrug and regard them as interchangeable because I can’t remember exactly who’s who. They seemed better drawn this time–or perhaps it was because they interacted more within context, so they were easier to keep distinct.

The story ran pell-mell toward its inevitable conclusion, quick enough to stay engaging without dragging or skipping ahead. I would’ve read it in a night if I hadn’t started it too late, honestly, and squidged in a chapter or two whenever I had a break during the day until I could sit down to finish it.

My excitement for Minerva and Inigo’s story was rewarded, to the point that I’ll probably reread it before any other book in the series. (At least until Matilda and Montagu are released.)

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