First Lines: “What if Sir Isaac Newton’s parents had packed him off to a school to reform his manners?” I smoothed my traveling skirts and risked a glance at my parents. They sat across from me, stone-faced and icy as the millpond in winter.
Congratulations, my friends. You are still on the receiving end of my obsession with historical fiction! *puts on a party hat and throws confetti in the air* Aren’t you so thrilled?
Honestly, Georgiana thought 1814 was going to turn out better. Napoleon is exiled (yay!), but Europe is in shambles (…not so good). But the worst is that Georgiana is being sent to reform school, a school for unusual girls like her with Miss Stranje. They are girls who break the mold, who don’t fit in, and who need to be turned into marriageable young ladies who can make a fine match for an eligible aristocrat. The last thing Georgiana wants is to be turned into some pudding-headed miss who thinks about lace and dinner menus. Georgiana is a scientist…which is what got her into this school when she accidentally burned down her father’s stables in an experiment gone wrong. Little does she know what she’s actually getting into at school. It’s not all about manners and dresses like she expects, but espionage and diplomacy as well. And she certainly never expected someone like Lord Sebastian Wyatt to show up…
You guys know my borderline obsession with historical fictions. But I’m also totally into rewriting women’s roles in history. (Or maybe not rewriting them so much as simply highlighting the probability of the existence of strong women. Because you just know they were there, left out of the pages of time because of their nonconformity.)
The setting was pretty awesome. Stranje house was…well, strange. It was a little bit creepy and weird, but also kind of exciting and awe-inspiring. But what else do you expect of a house that boasts tons of secret passages and a dungeon?
The most fleshed-out characters were definitely Georgie and Sebastian. They were cute to read about and funny. But the other girls (and Miss Stranje) were…lacking. It was almost a case of “too many characters, too little time.” But like, you needed these all of these characters. So I guess my complaint is that this book was too short to do them all justice. I didn’t feel like I got to connect with any of them.
And the secrets grew to be kind of annoying. Like Georgie’s here asking all of these questions and they tended to ignore the question, half answer it, or just trade these knowing looks with each other and let Georgie figure it out for herself. I’m all for “showing, not telling,” but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
There was a ton of action, though. That was good. Always something going on, whether it was scheming, a good old fight, or something scary popping out at you.
It’s worth checking out. I’ll be looking for the sequel.