Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA Conference
Age Group: Teen
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she'll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire's greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.
Normally when I have to read a book for class I find the book to be the most unbearable. However, when reading E.K. Johnston's book Exit, Pursued by a Bear I found it most enjoyable. Not what happens to the character specifically but the overall writing and story telling. So when having the opportunity to read another novel by Johnston, I launched at the opportunity. However, like most readers you pick up a book and when you get home, add it to your to be read pile, it sits there for months and in this case, over a year. But a new year means that is all about to change and this book was finally ready to be delved into and its story read.
This one book was a rough start for me. I do not know if it was due to the beginning development of the story, if I wasn't connecting with the characters, or what it was. Maybe this genre of story was not right for me. however, I persisted and the second half proved to be more successful. The following of the three characters Margaret, Helena, and August seemed to become more of the overall focus versus this deeper more broad perspective of the Empire and the idea of matchmaking.
Margaret for me was the most interesting character out of all three main ones. Coming to Toronto under a disguise to hide her of her true lineage and finding out with the computer how there is much more to her than she knows. Although, having this knowledge of who she is and what that could bring o her there were some flaws in her character made her hesitant in being her true self but taking in mind what it could mean for her, her family, and her future.
The love interests and the ending proved also to be a rocky start for me. I feel like I came to an understanding of why they did what they did, however, for me personally it went above everything I have come to stand for and think of as where a woman should be able to stand in society and that should never be placed second to the need to bear children for men. Rough, I know.
E.K. Johnston wowed me with me with my first book that I read of hers but ultimately fell flat with with this. I know that although this was not a book for me, it could be a book for you. I fully encourage you to take a chance with Johnston's book as they could just as easily be a favorite of yours.
I give this book 3 souls!