Continuing my apparent desire to blow my entire paycheck buying books for my classroom, this is another book I picked up at a thrift store.
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.
I’m torn on how to write this review. From a literary perspective, this book had a lot of problems. From a pure enjoyment standpoint, I was interested enough that I sat and read it in mostly one sitting. It’s filled with rich people in a neo-victorian setting who go to a lot of balls and fancy parties. Aka guilty pleasure fuel. It was marketed as sort of Downton Abbey-esque, but it reminded me much more of Gone With the Wind.
As usual with my reviews, spoilers abound.
The world was interesting, although I wish we had seen more of it. The author had done a lot of world building but we didn’t get a clear sense of how things necessarily got to where they were. Like I love neo-victorian but why?
I hated David (romantic interest) with a passion. I would have liked him more if it hadn’t been for the romance plot line. Well, maybe not, but dropping the romance plot line would have helped. I couldn’t fathom why there was any attraction between David and Madeline (MC). For a brief moment I thought the author was going to happily surprise me by introducing Jude, a serious rival, into the mix but alas. Jude was more interesting until he did a heel turn in one scene (which then was kind of redacted??). But honestly, David was the worst.
There’s a sequel, and I liked this book enough that I could see seeking it out. And hey, maybe David will die and Madeline will save the world and then get to go to university like she wants to.
Stay magical readers!