Victorian Women Scientists

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Highlighting the facts behind historical romance with Elizabeth Everett on women scientists in the Victorian era.

One of the joys of writing historical romance is doing research before writing the book. Some of the research makes it into the book, but most of it lives in my head, giving me the context for my characters. My debut Historical Romance is set in the early Victorian period but my research on women scientists spanned centuries as I did what so many historical authors do  – I went chasing “white rabbits.” These are stories that fascinate me to no end but have little if any bearing on my novel. If I follow their “tails”, I will lose myself down the research rabbit hole and never make my next deadline. I’m sharing them with you in the hopes that you might be inspired to learn more about them and even write your own ode to these pioneers.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler 1831-1895

1-235x300 Highlighting Historical Romance The first African American female doctor in the United States. She worked as nurse until gaining acceptance at the New England Female Medical College. Dr. Crumpler graduated a year before the civil war ended and once it ended, went down south to practice medicine with the  help of the Freedman’s Bureau. She eventually returned to Boston and in 1883 published A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts. This might be the first medical text by an African American published in the United States and was certainly the only one by a female physician author in the nineteenth century. I have read excerpts from the book which focuses on maternal and infant health and Dr. Crumpler’s clear, unique voice can be heard on each page. It is a fascinating read and it is on my list of works to dive into once I am finished writing my next book.



Huang Lü 1769-1829

I found a single intriguing reference to Huang Lü in a text, hunted down the original source and then hit a wall because of time and language. I wish I could have found out more about her, and if anyone does, please let me know at She was an engineer and astronomer born in the Zhejiang province. Her father was an education officer who had an interest in optics and educated his daughter in astronomy and mathematics at an early age. Huang Lü constructed telescopes, one of which could be used as a simple prototype of a camera: photos were taken by attaching photosensitive paper to the back of the cylinder. As well as telescopes, Huang Lü designed thermometers, wrote poetry, and composed music for the qin, a seven-stringed plucked instrument.

Laura Bassi 1711-1778

2 Highlighting Historical Romance Laura Bassi was the first salaried female professor in the Western world. She taught at the University of Bologna and for thirty years, she taught courses on Newtonian physics. She married her husband after having gained her professorship and eight of her children survived her. When she was sixty-five, she took up the Chair of Experimental Physics at the Bologna Institute of Scientists with her husband serving as her teaching assistant. Eight children while teaching full time, writing papers, and conducting experiments – talk about a full plate. Apparently, she and her husband worked closely together for her entire career. Was he supportive? Resentful at her reputation? What was their homelife like? Laura Bassi fascinated me when I came upon her name over and over in my research. Someday I will give in to temptation and explore what is known of her life and perhaps create a character based on what I learn.


About the Book: A Lady’s Formula for Love

4-201x300 Highlighting Historical Romance What is a Victorian lady’s formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry–it’s elemental.

Lady Violet Greycliff is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet’s laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test–and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart.

Explosive chemistry, a heroine who loves her science, and lines that made me laugh out loud–this witty debut delivered, and I’d like the next installment now, please.–Evie Dunmore, USA Today bestselling author of Bringing Down the Duke

 A witty, dazzling debut with a science-minded heroine and her broody bodyguard. Fiercely feminist and intensely romantic, A Lady’s Formula for Love is a fresh take on historical romance that’s guaranteed to delight readers.–Joanna Shupe, author of The Devil of Downtown

A Lady’s Formula for Love is available for purchase HERE

About the Author

3-200x300 Highlighting Historical Romance Elizabeth Everett lives in Upstate New York with her family. She likes going for long walks or (very) short runs to nearby sites that figure prominently in the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage. A Lady’s Formula for Love is her first novel, inspired by her admiration for rule breakers and belief in the power of love to change the world.

Come visit me at or find me on Instagram @elizabetheverettauthor or Facebook at ElizabethEverettAuthorBooks!

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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