Feb 10 2017 1:00pm

4 STEM Heroines in Romance—Tiny Science, Big Love

This month’s Heroines in STEM professions post is all about the miniature. These ladies study things that are very small and all spend much of their lives in the lab. And amongst all of their serious scientific pursuits, they still find time to find love—no microscope required!

Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers

Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers:  ( Amazon | Kobo | B&N )This is the book that got me to stop saying I didn’t like novellas. A microbiologist and an occupational therapist are off the beaten path of occupations for romance heroines and heroes, and that was just one of the things I loved about this story. I have to admit I had to read a few passages set in the lab a few times over because science is not my strong suit, but I kind of loved that because learning is awesome. Another thing that had me swooning over this book was that (I’ll be vague here because I don’t want to let any spoilers slip) while there are no miracles here, Jenny and Evan are still able to find happiness, with each other.

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes: ( Amazon ) Kaya Rubio is a molecular genetics grad student, and this book is basically what I’d hoped The Rosie Project would be when I picked it up. I loved Kaya’s nutty family, the friends she acquires, and I also found her café-owning hero Nero swoon-worthy in a laid-back kind of way—plus, who wouldn’t want a boyfriend who can provide a constant source of caffeine? There isn’t just a sprinkling of science in this book, and some will find the super nerdy parts a bit slow, but a window into a world I know nothing about is one of the reasons I read, and I found that here both with Kaya’s profession as well as the contemporary settings of the Philippines.

 Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh

 Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh: ( Amazon | Kobo | B&N ) Who hasn’t heard of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling series? I dipped my toe into the ocean of this 15-book behemoth of a series with Hostage to Pleasure because the heroine, Ashaya, is an M-Psy, which means she has medical skills. However, her power lies in being able to see into the tiniest particles of the human body which is why this book is listed here instead of in the Physicians post (coming soon!). The world is bigger than you find in most romances with multiple POVs, but readers who enjoy fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal series won’t be thrown off by that. I loved the world-building (maybe more than the romance) and I’ll be picking up other books in this series—possibly starting at the beginning because I’m generally an orderly type.

Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame: ( Amazon | Kobo | B&N ) If you liked Beginner’s Guide, wait a while and then read this book. They’re similar, but if you love the trope of a nerdy girl finding love with a not-so-nerdy guy—especially when their budding romance is brought on by “experiments”—then this one will likely work for you as well. Our heroine Lucy got her PhD in microbiology at the age of twenty and has a chance at a grant to study emotions as pathogens. And since it fits neatly into the New Adult category, she decides her bad boy neighbor Jensen is an ideal research subject and… Well, it’s romance, you know how these things end. Also, at the time this post was written, Imperfect Chemistry was available for free!  

Do you have any other favorites microbiologist/molecular genetics/other microscope wielding/science of the small heroines I missed? Let me know in the comments below! 

H&H Editor Picks:

Mathematician Heroines in Romance—Equations of the Heart

Katherine Johnson’s Amazing Work—and Romance—Take Flight in Hidden Figures

Top 10 Hottest Scientists Ranked in Descending Order of Scientific Accuracy


Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, erotic romance writer by naptime. She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.

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1 comment
1. JayneH
Most of Julie Rowe's Biological Response Team books have STEM Heroines
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