Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis

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

Scales

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

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Scales and Sensibility (Regency Dragons) by Stephanie Burgis.

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is :Scales and Sensibility (Regency Dragons) by Stephanie Burgis.  I love this author.  Plus this title and the cover!!  I can’t wait.  Here’s why:

Scalesandsensibilit

Sensible, practical Elinor Tregarth really did plan to be the model poor relation when she moved into Hathergill Hall. She certainly never meant to kidnap her awful cousin Penelope’s pet dragon. She never expected to fall in love with the shameless – but surprisingly sweet – fortune hunter who came to court Penelope And she never dreamed that she would have to enter into an outrageous magical charade to save her younger sisters’ futures.

However, even the most brilliant scholars of 1817 England still haven’t ferreted out all the lurking secrets of rediscovered dragonkind…and even the most sensible of heroines can still make a reckless wish or two when she’s pushed. Now Elinor will have to find out just how rash and resourceful she can be when she sets aside all common sense. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll even be impractical enough to win her own true love and a happily ever after…with the unpredictable and dangerous “help” of the magical creature who has adopted her.

A frothy Regency rom-com full of pet dragons and magical misadventures, Scales and Sensibility is a full-length novel and the first in a new series of standalone romantic comedies.

Expected publication : October 2021

December Countdown, Day 11 : Mistletoe

December book meme (details here).  Mistletoe – A little bit of romance :

snowspelled

Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis

MoontangledMoontangled is a delightful spin off story that primarily focuses on a couple of characters introduced during Thornbound, the second of the Harwood Spellbook series.

We first met Juliana Banks and Caroline Fennell during the fae shenanigans that took place in Thornbound which threatened to upturn all of Cassandra Harwood’s hard work and plans to open a magical school for young women.  The two of them made for interesting reading and so I was really happy that the author took the decision to create a story that revolved purely around the two and their secret engagement.

I’m not going to elaborate greatly on the plot as this is a fairly short story that centres around the romance between the two and highlights how easy it is to misread motives and jump to wrong conclusions all in an attempt to do the right thing.

The setting for this world is an alternative England – known as Angland where magic and fae exist and conventions have been turned on their head a little.  Here, women rule the world of politics and men rule the world of magic – although these long held roles are starting to become more fluid with women finding they can also wield magic – what next?  I suppose men will be wanting to become politicians!  In the previous instalment our central character, Cassandra (herself a rather brilliant wielder of magic until an unfortunate episode left her unable to practice) has shaken up the stiff-upper-lipped nobility with her decision to run a magical school for women – it’s not an entirely popular decision with the upper crust of society being set vehemently against such change but as the young women who can wield magic start to increase in numbers it becomes impossible to ignore the demand for such a school.  Cassandra had her work cut out trying to convince the right people to give her school the stamp of approval and it was during this process that our two characters met and also when we felt the influence of the fae that inhabit the nearby wood.

I don’t typically read romance (or short stories) but this is a series that I will make an exception for because the stories all involve magical and fantastical elements combined with a period feel and a lightheartedness that makes them a joy to read.  Plus, I love stories that involve the fae, they’re my catnip and I simply can’t resist.

Burgis has a lovely writing style and manages to infuse her stories with the sort of well developed characters and strong relationships that I love and even though this is a fairly short story the author manages to help both characters achieve that development in themselves that is really positive to read about.

In terms of criticisms – the only thing I have is a feeling of this being over too quickly and wanting more.

A sweet and charming regency style series that has flavours of The Importance of Being Ernest (in terms of problems with misunderstandings) and Pride and Prejudice (lots of young ladies, excitement over the next ball and folderol about dresses) – but with fantasy and the fae thrown in for good measure.

I would suggest reading the previous books before reading this – because they’re very worthy reads – but, I think you could probably read this as a standalone if you wanted to get a flavour for the place and the writing (although I am of course saying that whilst having the benefit of having read the previous instalments – so I’m not entirely sure I’m the best judge – just read the other books is my advice :D)

I received a copy courtesy of the author.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis.  I’ve loved Snowspelled and Thornbound so can’t wait to return to the world that this author has created:

MoontangledTake one ambitious politician and one determined magician with wildly different aims for their next meeting.

Add a secret betrothal, a family scandal, and a heaping of dangerous fey magic in an enchanted wood…and watch the sparks fly!

For just one moonlit, memorable night, Thornfell College of Magic has flung open its doors, inviting guests from around the nation to an outdoor ball intended to introduce the first-ever class of women magicians to society…but one magician and one invited guest have far more pressing goals of their own for the night.

Quietly brilliant Juliana Banks is determined to win back the affections of her secret fiancée, rising politician Caroline Fennell, who has become inexplicably distant. If Juliana needs to use magic to get her stubborn fiancée to pay her attention…well, then, as the top student in her class, she is more than ready to take on that challenge!

Unbeknownst to Juliana, though, Caroline plans to nobly sacrifice their betrothal for Juliana’s own sake – and no one has ever accused iron-willed Caroline Fennell of being easy to deter from any goal.

Their path to mutual happiness may seem tangled beyond repair…but when they enter the fey-ruled woods that border Thornfell College, these two determined women will find all of their plans upended in a night of unexpected and magical possibilities.

Expected publication : February 2020

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