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Book Review | The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

From the publisher: A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

This book is bonkers. It contains every crazy thing you can imagine in an adventure story – pirates, flying houses, assassination attempts, gothic abbeys, kidnappings, tea parties. Somewhat like The Princess Bride on steroids.

As such, The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels will not be to everyone’s taste. It is full of nonstop nonsense. The author is in love with her own cleverness, which doesn’t necessarily aid the story. People used to listen breathlessly while the latest installment of a new tale was read to them; I think this book would have worked well in that setting. All at once, the craziness is overwhelming.

There is a cute romance buried under the silliness, and one wants to root for the strong heroine and her worthy suitor. The idea of pirates flying their manor houses instead of sailing ships is amusing.

There are some nice turns of phrase, like these passages:

“He said nothing in quite the most disturbing manner” (p. 26)

“Cecilia had seen the houses rising like hot-air balloons over the trees – albeit rectangular, rigid, and less colorful, without flames underneath, so in fact nothing like hot-air balloons, but a failure of simile was the least of her problems at this moment.” (p. 85)

Grown-up fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and Catherynne M. Valente’s Girl Who books may thoroughly enjoy The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels. For me, I’m glad I read book one but won’t be eagerly anticipating book two.

I read an advance reader copy of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels from Netgalley.

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels was published June 15th. It will be available for checkout at the Galesburg Public Library.