I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1)
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Summary (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 mold 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…
Set in 1814, A School for Unusual Girls is a very elegant book. It contains a fearless main character with a quirky personality and a mysterious boarding school that isn’t what it seems. This book is so exciting and contains so many plot twists that readers will be unable to set this one down!
A School for Unusual Girls is set in 1814 in England and partially in France. All of the historical details in this book seem to be accurate and it is evident that Kathleen Baldwin has done some extensive research while writing this book. The setting and the fashion of the time period is so magnificently depicted by Baldwin. The language used by the characters is also very dignified, which gives a very authentic tone to the story. As readers become engaged in this novel, they will easily be swept into 1814 England.
Georgiana (or Georgie) is a really amazing narrator for A School for Unusual Girls, as she is very clever and brave. An enjoyable aspect of her character is how Georgie is not afraid to break the gender stereotype in that time period. Instead of behaving like the other women and doing chores, Georgie is off conducting science experiments. Her fiery personality is complete with a quirky voice and red hair. Georgie is essentially a misfit in her time period! She is both extremely relatable and enjoyable to read.
In addition to its historical fiction genre, A School for Unusual Girls is also a fast-paced spy novel. Reminiscent of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, that is set in a boarding school and is secretly a school for spies, A School for Unusual Girls seems to be a spy training school. There is never an admission of this in the book, but it is certainly implied through the activities and the description of the building. Also, all of the girls who attend the school have an unusual talent of some sort. These details create a novel that is very unique and will surely leave the reader wanting more.
A School for Unusual Girls is the first book in the Stranje House series. Its elaborate setting, well-developed characters and exciting plot make for a whirlwind read. This is one series not to be missed!