I actually kind of have a funny story about this book. I was at Barnes and Noble this weekend, browsing all the new books. And I came across a book a new cute looking book. It took my reading of the whole back cover to realize it was a description of the same exact book I was reading at the time. Apparently, there’s a new publication of this book, and both publications pulled my eye to them. However, the new one isn’t as pretty, in my opinion.
This book is so beyond cute! I keep seeing it being compared to Austen, and I’m not sure I would go that far, but I do see some similar characteristics. It’s kind of like a sugar coated, slightly more modern Austen. Though, I mostly kept comparing it to my favorite Meg Cabot historical romances (like Nicola and the Viscount) or even one of my all time favorite books (and movie): I Capture the Castle.
There seems to be a fad right now that revolves around giant, fancy, Downton-type British estates. And I’m all for embracing this fad. Bring on the British drama! This one is about Althea, a teen girl who knows she has to marry well. She’s known for her beauty, and has that in her favor. However, her family is broke. And her giant, fancy estate is starting to crumble into ruins (literally). She has two mean stepsisters who refuse to help with anything financially (even though they definitely could afford it). And she has a good friend in both her mother and her little brother.
Althea wants her little brother to have a future and an estate to live in, and to make sure this happens, she will need to marry someone of means. At first, she doesn’t seem to care much about falling in love. She doesn’t seem to mind ugly physical attributes either. But, as the book goes on, it becomes abundantly clear that Althea isn’t actually as shallow as she views herself to be. She judges and makes decisions about people based upon their strength of character and level of intelligence, instead of the size of their pockets.
There’s a classic love/hate type romance setup between Althea and Mr. Fredericks, a friend staying with Lord Boring (a man Althea has set her sights on). But like most novels that take place in this setting, nothing is simple and drama runs amuck. There’s balls and horse rides. There’s etiquette and castles. And between all the flirting are some hilarious moments where either Althea or Mr. Fredericks cannot control what comes out of their mouths.
Althea has a lot to learn about love. But, she is so smart in almost all other areas. She plots, schemes, and does anything to help save her home. She is a true Austen heroine. And I could not get enough of her. I read this book in one day, and it was not because of the familiar plot line. It was because of how awesome this main character is.
I recommend this one to historical YA fans. It was really nothing but fun to read. I give it a 9/10 and I have a feeling I might be tracking down this author’s other works real soon.