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A School for Unusual Girls: A Stranje House Novel Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This intriguing series opener is a tale of daring, conspiracy, adventure, and romance set against the tumultuous, backdrop of war-torn Europe in 1814. Napoleon is in exile on Elba, dignitaries from across Europe are gathering at the Congress of Vienna, and assassination plots are rumored. At the cavernous Stranje House in England, a select group of spirited, inventive, and nonconformist girls are secretly learning espionage tactics. Georgiana Fitzwilliam has an unconventional aptitude and enthusiasm for math and science. When one of her experiments accidentally leads to a fire in her father's stables, Georgie is banished by her exasperated parents to the supposedly harsh, reforming tutelage of Headmistress Emily Stranje. Georgie gradually discovers that all is not as it seems. Her classmates have special talents; her headmistress is a clever, well-connected, resourceful teacher; and visiting Lord Sebastian Wyatt is on a covert mission. Georgie's invention of invisible ink becomes a vital secret communication weapon supporting the new order in Europe. Although the novel is rich in historical references, language, and culture, not all of the happenings are actually true. This alternative history series will appeal to fans of Gail Carriger's works and "The Cecelia and Kate" novels (Harcourt) by Patricia C. Wrede and Carolyn Stevermer. Teens will enjoy the well-drawn cast of characters and identify with 19th-century Georgie's angst, insecurity, desire for independence, and first love. VERDICT The spunky, naive, and passsionate protagonist will resonate with readers, who will appreciate the lively, fast-paced narrative of personal discovery, maturing realizations, and understanding.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC
“Baldwin has an ear for period dialogue as she draws us into this world of sharp, smart young ladies who are actually being trained and deployed for the British war effort.... Swoony moments also abound.” ―New York Times Book Review
“Romance readers who prize both brains and valor in a heroine will be pleased to make Georgie's acquaintance.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“A School for Unusual Girls sucked me in from the first few pages and kept me reading until late into the night. Kathleen Baldwin has created a completely original--and totally engrossing--world, full of smart girls, handsome boys, and sinister mysteries. Who wouldn't want to enroll?” ―Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries
“Spellbinding! A School for Unusual Girls is a beautifully written tale of adventure, intrigue, and romance that will appeal to every girl who has ever felt different…. A true page-turner!” ―Rachel Hawthorne, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Trouble from the Start
“Baldwin has crafted a Regency romance that celebrates smart, strong young women who, while careful to embrace many of society's mores, hold their own with the men they encounter, oftentimes besting them both intellectually and physically.... Readers can look forward to revisiting these enthralling characters and their adventures and romances in the Stranje House series.” ―Booklist
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Although I loved Georgie and the independence this story created, I hated whenever it turned away from her and went to the other girls in the house. I don't mind a little bit of a side story, but I felt that every other chapter started off with one of the other girls for a few pages before focusing back on Georgie again. I also feel that the ending was extremely unresolved considering the brief inside look of the second boo.k. Had it continued along with this story line tied the strings of this book, I would be less against the idea of focusing on a different girl. But, because the book ended with a promise for Georgie and Sebastian to one day meet again and the questions of if he would make it through, I feel as if the second book should continue this story line to the end.
Overall this was a well planned and beautifully written novel with strong characters and difference of perspective.
Most recent customer reviews
I have already purchased books 2 and 3 in this series and can't wait to dive in.Read more