Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Well, I just loved it


Stephanie Burgis is one of those authors that I seem to always be able to rely on to write an enjoyable novel and Scales and Sensibility is no exception in that regard.  Clearly, given the title, this is a series that takes influence from Austen and so as a lover of both authors this was an absolute no-brainer for me and to be honest I think Burgis manages to perfectly nail down the combination of Regency romcom and fantasy.

This is a story that centres around a character called Elinor Tregarth.  Like many of Austen’s characters the Tregarth family have experienced financial ruin followed by dreadful loss.  Elinor and her two sisters found themselves orphaned and in dire straits and were eventually sent to different members of the family.  Elinor resides with her aunt,uncle and cousin Penelope at Hathergill Hall, unfortunately as ‘the poor relation’ she is treated rather badly by both Penelope and her uncle (and her aunt has little to say on the matter having been browbeaten by the two over the years).

As the story begins we meet Penelope as she prepares for her ‘coming out’ ball and witness her bad behaviour as she abuses her recently acquired dragon.  Okay, by way of background dragons have recently been rediscovered, little is known about them and in fact one of the supporting characters is undertaking research looking into their finer points during the course of the book.  The dragons in question are small creatures that can perch on a shoulder or sit curled in a lap and for some reason, a little like handbag dogs, they have become the most recent fashion accessory ‘must have’.  If you don’t have a dragon, in fact, you’re doomed to social failure.  Unfortunately, after one too many tantrums by her cousin Elinor flees the Hall clutching the abused dragon known as Sir Jessamyn.

Now, I don’t wish to go overboard about the plot, suffice to say that Elinor finds herself in the most unusual situation that involves her returning to the family seat but, lets just say, in disguise.

There are plenty of elements to this story and they all come together in a lovely way. There’s the family dynamic that relies on a typical Austen theme of certain parties becoming reliant on others. There’s the class element that takes a look at the ridiculous gap between the ‘have and the ‘have nots’ that particularly feeds into a storyline involving one of the downstairs maids.  There’s the romantic element involving a handsome young man who himself has ‘designs’ in mind (although is far too nice to see them through).  There’s the introduction of a glamorous brother and sister who seem to love gossip and enjoy interfering, and of course there’s Elinor, hiding in plain sight and being pulled in different directions whilst maintaining a cool head.

In no particular order what I particularly enjoyed about this.

The plot builds slowly but surely to a very satisfying and dramatic finale.

The central character is really easy to like and is a warm and caring female who finds herself in an absolute pickle of a situation.

The dragon is a wonderful element to the book and the fantasy element is so seamlessly woven into this Regency story.  Forget bonnets and ribbons – dragons are it (and seriously who can blame anyone – I would love a little affectionate shoulder dragon).

There are plenty of satisfying hints of Austen and yet enough originality to give this a slightly more modern feel with more accessible language and a few twisted tropes.

I loved the particular element (that I won’t mention) that finally gave the Aunt enough backbone to stand up to her tyrannical husband.  I loved the route this storyline went down and the final way it played out. Huzzah!

The writing is excellent.  What more can I say, Burgis is a lovely storyteller.

In conclusion, a fun, sometimes crazy always enjoyable, Regency romance with a delightful dash of dragons.

I received a copy from the author for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars


12 Responses to “Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis”

  1. Asha - A Cat, A Book, And A Cup Of Tea

    I loved this too, especially the aunt’s plotline, as you say! Your TL;DR is just perfect, haha.

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The “awakening” of Lady Hathergill was one of the most delightful threads of the story: I’m still smiling broadly while recalling it! 😉

  3. Tammy

    It was so much fun. I’m glad it’s the start of a series, and I hope there are more dragons in the next book😁

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I think I’ll have to make some time to check out this one 😀

  5. pagesandtea

    Regency romance with added dragons, this sounds perfect 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is. It’s a lovely comedy of errors/manners. Regency with dragons. What’s not to love.
      Lynn 😀

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