I was very resistant to use an e-reader for quite some time, but recently got a Kindle Fire so my nearly-4-year-old daughter could have a tablet to play with while her older brother plays video games. (She doesn’t quite get how to play yet and always gets frustrated. But, I digress.) The main point is that I still didn’t really anticipate that I would actually use my tablet to read ebooks. Until, that is, my director told me the first chapter of Cress was available on NetGalley! (For those of you who don’t know, Cress is book three in the Lunar Chronicles — which began with Cinder and Scarlett.) It was amazing… but it was only one chapter. So, I decided to see what else was available. As I was browsing through titles to request, I found this book. Talk about kismet! I was anxiously awaiting the new season of Downton Abbey and just *knew* this would give me a quick fix. I was not disappointed!
Charlotte Edmonds is expected to be a perfect lady. After all, how will she land the perfect husband if she doesn’t dress, speak, and act exactly as society expects? She seems to be a constant disappointment to her mother, Lady Diana, who has her sights set on a marriage proposal from Lord Andrew Broadhurst before Charlotte even makes it to her first season. Even though her best friend, Fran, seems content to play by the rules and to hope for a marriage proposal from a suitable man, Charlotte longs for more — for fun, spontaneity, and a career as a writer. When Charlotte spies a scullery maid, Janie, sneaking away from a garden party to wade in the lake on a hot summer day, she decides to try it too. Thus begins an unlikely friendship between the girls. Secret rendezvous and rule-breaking abound as Charlotte and Janie try to find a way to live the lives they want instead of the lives they’ve been pigeonholed into, and all of The Manor’s secrets come spilling out. The ending is tidy enough, but just begs for a sequel.