Book Review: “Reputation” by Lex Croucher

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(From the Publisher)

Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl with a dash of Jane Austen, in Reputation, a Regency-era historical romantic comedy with a deliciously feminist twist, from a hilarious new British voice, Lex Croucher.

Abandoned by her parents, bookish and sheltered Georgiana Ellers is spending the summer with her stodgy aunt and uncle at their home in the English countryside. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who delights Georgiana with her disregard for so-called “polite society.”

Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana quickly falls in with Frances and her wealthy, wild, and deeply improper friends, who introduce her to the upper echelons of Regency aristocracy, and a world of drunken debauchery, frivolous spending, and mysterious young men. One, in particular, stands out from the rest: Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in–or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay.

Set against a backdrop of lavish parties, handsome men on horseback–and in a time when one’s reputation was everything–this edgy, hilarious romantic comedy explores sex, consent, belonging, and status through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine that Austen herself would have cheered for.

Cathie’s Review

This book was nothing at all like I’d expected, but was such a delightful surprise I couldn’t put it down! And, in truth, I actually listened to the audio version which was exceptionally well-done.

If I were to give this novel a tagline, it might be something like : Well-bred Debs Behaving Badly and Enjoying Every Damned Second of it! 🙂

I grew up reading regency romance and all the strictures placed on debs, the importance of reputation, and how well-behaved they all had to be so as not to shame themselves, their families, and be cut by society. So imagine my delight in reading about a group of rather misbehaved young ladies of the era! In truth, a couple of scenes reminded me of DOWNTON ABBY when the oldest daughter snuck the foreign prince into her bedchamber and he died. OH, how she’d have been RUINED!

The same was true overall in this novel. So many of these women “behaved badly” for the era, but that’s what made this book so enchanting. It was awesome to realize there might’ve been women who marched to the beat of their own drum, “misbhehaved,” but were protected behind the names of their families or connections.

Kudos to this author on so many counts. First on the authenticity of the story and the characters, then on the writing, and last on the story itself. I would love to read more by this author!

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