An Improbable Season

Farrar. Apr. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780374390181.
Gr 7 Up–This Regency romance exemplifies the thrills of the genre while being true to the historical period. When Charis and her cousins Thalia and Kalliope head to London for their season, they aren’t just looking for husbands. Though Kalli wants her own Mr. Bingley, Charis is more interested in infiltrating the scientific Royal Society and publishing her research in its journal, while Thalia searches for freethinkers against whom to test her poetry. But soon, Kalli is accidentally compromised by her sister’s best friend, Adam, and finds herself engaged to a boy she has not kissed. Thalia finds her boundaries challenged by a radical rake who subtly undermines her artistic voice. Charis finds the emotional safety of her bluestocking persona challenged by an Anglo-Indian dandy who just may be her intellectual equal. Eves develops her three heroines’ intellectual and emotional journey with great respect, incorporating extracts of their reading from historical sources and writing. Thalia’s writerly ambition and Charis’s scientific passion are neither more nor less worthy than Kalli’s more traditional desire for marriage and family work. Equally, the girls must save themselves in their own way: Thalia reclaims her voice during an elopement gone wrong; Kalli articulates her desires; Charis publishes a scholarly critique that challenges the theories of the man she loves.
VERDICT This must-read for Regency fans combines the true friendship of Lisa Kleypas’s “The Wallflower” series, the emotional thrills of Bridgerton, and just the right number of first kisses.

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