“It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.
After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts…”
Aw. I’m usually not a big regency fan (I still can’t get myself to watch an entire episode of Downton Abbey. I just. can’t. do. It.) But I generally enjoy historical fiction. I so so so wanted to give this one five stars, but there were reasons I had to hold back on that.
Sigh for being reasonable.
I’ll admit, some of the harsher reviews for this book are correct. Our lovely Georgie does have her faults. One is that she finds herself in unfavorable positions frequently. And is often noticed, and sometimes rescued by Sebastian. A few times you could even call her naïve.
However, I don’t think this is bad storytelling. One thing that is stressed, is that Georgie is impulsive. I don’t think she’s stupid. I think she’s restless, and even though she knows that her ideas have flaws, and that they’ll probably end badly, she can’t help but try. She’s got an itch that tells her SHE MUST TRY IT. If for no other reason than she can’t think of a better way to do it.
Another thing I took into consideration, is that her naiveté is a product of her upbringing. Girls growing up in this era were often sheltered, until they themselves grew curious about the world around them – and found the power/chance to understand it themselves.
I feel like that lends to Georgie’s confusion when it came to the school.
The biggest reason I docked half a star, was because of the slow start. It did have a very slow start indeed. The inciting incident doesn’t happen for quite a while. BUT I felt like that ending was worth it. In fact, the ending took a bit of an unexpected turn. I don’t know much about my French/English history, but it DID have an alternate story than the one we know.
For me, this promises a bright and bold sequel. The novels that ask the question, what if? Are my favorites.
Seeing Sebastian and Georgie’s slow burn relationship was also sweet. (Again, another mark of the era.) I’m a complete SAP for wounded heroes. Seriously, It’s like catnip…it’s geeknip… for me anyways.
The next installment will be Tess’s story. Although the sneak peek suggests that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Georgie and Sebastian. I can’t wait to read it!