I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review in any way.
Published May 19th 2015
Description from Goodreads
It's 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England's dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society's constrictive mould are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies - plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy and war.
After accidentally setting her father's stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible - until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads, or their hearts...
I'm a bit of a Battle of Waterloo/Napoleonic geek. The excitement I felt at seeing A School For Unusual Girls is set in 1814 just after Napoleon was exiled to the Isle of Elba and before The Battle of Waterloo (which, by the way, will be celebrating its 200 years anniversary in June) was ridiculous and probably extremely cringey. Not only do I love the history of that period, I love society at that time too. By that I mean the balls, the gorgeous dresses, the calling each other Miss so-and-so or Lord such-and-such, the courting, the carriages. I love it all. And then, to top it all off Georgie finds herself at a SPY SCHOOL! That's three of my favourite things rolled into one.
The novel starts with Georgie en route to Stranje House, which her parents think is a finishing school with questionable methods. Georgie is absolutely terrified, and honestly for a while there I was getting scared too. Especially when they're taken into the torture chamber, Georgie started to freak out, I started to freak, let's just say it was unnerving for all involved. I think the fact that I was actually terrified for Georgie when I'd basically only just started reading says a lot. I liked Georgie, I didn't want Miss Stranje to attach her to the rack or put her in a sarcophagus filled with razor sharp knives.
Not long after Georgie arrived at her new place of residence she fell into the arms of a certain gorgeous and charming Lord. That's right, a Napoleonic period spy school just got even better, love interest. Obviously, Georgie and Sebastian are living in 1814 and therefore the rules and etiquette are slightly to different to present day, so their romance is a slow burner, full of looks, and, on Sebastian's part, teasing. And I mustn't forget the science.
Kathleen Baldwin's spy school reminded me of of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, only set 200 years prior. I loved Ally Carter's offering, but Kathleen Baldwin's blew me away. I couldn't put it down, I actually dreamt about it, which is very rare for me. It definitely made a very lasting impression.
Part of the reason I liked A School For Unusual Girls so much is that it was relatively fast moving with action. There were no boring descriptions of lessons about how to stop your enemy with only three hits, and I really appreciated that.
I'm actually really upset that I've finished reading A School For Unusual Girls, I don't know what I'll be reading next, but I can tell you that the next book on my series is going on my TBR!
Are you interested in A School For Unusual Girls? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
'A School For Unusual Girls' by Kathleen Baldwin
Labels: 2015, 5 Stars, A School For Unusual Girls, Book, Kathleen Baldwin, Published 2015, Review, YA, Young Adult