Reviews tagging 'Confinement'

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, by India Holton

2 reviews

buildingtaste's review against another edition

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adventurous funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a 2020s novel with an excellent conceit must be deeply in want of better execution. I feel bad giving this such a low rating, as it is probably one of the better conceived 2020s novels of the ones I've tried, but once again, after the elevator pitch is over, the book collapses like an under-baked teacake. And under-baked is the overarching theme: we are given rather thin sketches of the titular society, a teeming cast of characters, an intergenerational revenge plot nodding heavily to the Brontes, and a requisite romance. All of them are glossed over in favour of comic asides which, after a few repetitions of (and that was rather a funny bit there, er, wasn't it?) seems more like an author's lack of faith in their own prose than a stylistic choice.

Most egregious here, though, is something I can't blame Holton for, because it seems to be more a convention of the historical fantasy-romance genre than anything: Cecilia is just the least interesting person in the bunch. And we have to stick with her a good 80% of the time. When your heroine sums up her role in the story with a glib "I'm afraid I've done nothing to advance the plot," and it's true, a good editor should perk up and recommend doing something about that. Cecilia, despite her bog-standard spunk, finds herself constantly outpaced and outsmarted, by the titular society, by the love interest, and by her villainous father. Not once does she get to be heroic on her own terms, and she's so baldly horny for Ned that her internal refrain of "well-I-never" gets dull.

So. Janky start. But I think the world of Wisteria has some real promise--I'd be interested in reading a short fiction anthology delving more into the lore of historical Lady Scoundrels and the senior ladies.

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fromjuliereads's review

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adventurous funny hopeful lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I really enjoyed this book. I surprised me how much! I was trying to explain this book to some friends and the best I can come up with is a weird and wonderful romcom that feels like if you mashed together My Lady Jane and Pride and Prejudice or Bridgerton, but make it Victorian 😅

I absolutely loved the characters - obviously the two main characters but I also just found so many from the Wisteria Society hilarious!? And the quotes and misquotes from classic poets were so fun! Loved seeing a bit of Wordsworth and Byron mixed in with the Brönte quotes.

You definitely have to suspend reality but when don't we in books? Very enjoyable and I laughed out loud numerous times!

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