cover image The Ornithologist’s Field Guide to Love

The Ornithologist’s Field Guide to Love

India Holton. Berkley, $19 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-54728-1

Putting a tongue-in-cheek twist on the enemies-to-lovers trope, Holton (The Secret Service of Tea and Treason) opens the Love’s Academic series on a gloriously madcap intellectual adventure tinged with a hint of whimsical fantasy. In 1890s England, socially awkward bluestocking Beth Pickering, a young professor of ornithology at Oxford, must cater to the whims of her male colleagues and the university’s wealthy donors. While on an expedition in Spain with Mrs. Hippolyta Quirm, a wealthy birding enthusiast, Beth runs afoul of handsome rogue Devon Lockley, an ornithologist from rival Cambridge University. The quarrelsome pair cross paths again when the International Ornithological Society launches a contest to name the International Birder of the Year—and sparks, and feathers, fly. Faced with scheming publicists, unscrupulous fellow bird lovers, and reality show levels of machination, the pair fly across countries via mechanized parasol to solve the mystery of a rare (and possibly mythological) bird, falling deep in love along the way. The charming supporting cast provides a zany counterpoint to what is ultimately a sweet, wholesome love story. Readers will find it an irresistible confection. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (July)