I obviously like YA books, but you may or may not know that I’m a huge sucker for a Regency romance as well. I grew up devouring Georgette Heyer novels and am currently a huge fan of Lauren Willig, Sarah MacLean, and many other Regency writers. So you can imagine how totally pumped I was when I first heard about A School For Brides, by Patrice Kindl – a YA book set in the Regency period. Here was the book description that got me so excited: The Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy of Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, has one goal: to train its students in the feminine arts with an eye toward getting them married off. This year, there are five girls of marriageable age. There’s only one problem: the school is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no men.
So how did the book measure up?
I’m not going to lie, I had a few (but just a few!) complaints. There are eight main characters and they aren’t referred to by their first names. This made it very hard for me to keep all the ladies straight for the first half of the book or so. Also, there was an element of satire that was relatively unexpected when I picked up the book. At moments, it felt more like a parody of a Regency novel than an actual Regency novel. This was done very well and I laughed out loud more than once. At the same time, I love Regency romances. I wanted, perhaps, a bit more earnestness to be mixed in with the humor.
This is definitely a nit-picky personal reaction that likely won’t bother other readers. I also might have felt more connected with the book if I’d read it’s predecessor Keeping the Castle (which I believe shares a setting and maybe a few of the same characters). Still, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the girls of Lesser Hoo and found plenty of romances to root for.
Thank you to Penguin for providing me with a review copy. As always, the thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.