I wasn’t sure about this one for the first few chapters, but Lex Croucher’s regency mean girls ended up winning me over.
What it’s about
From the Goodreads description:
Abandoned by her parents, middle-class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who lives a life Georgiana couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams.
Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana falls in with Frances and her unfathomably rich, deeply improper friends. Georgiana is introduced to a new world: drunken debauchery, mysterious young men with strangely arresting hands, and the upper echelons of Regency society.
But the price of entry to high society might just be higher than Georgiana is willing to pay.
First and foremost, Reputation is a regency romcom, and while it’s not saturated with sex scenes (in fact, there are 0 sex scenes), it’s blessedly an adult novel and not a whiny YA. High five! The writing is smart and so very funny… I was giggling my way through this book, even though it does touch on some serious stuff. It’s inclusive and has a diverse cast of characters, and while Croucher is obviously taking liberties in making the story more modern-feeling, I’m very much here for the ladies having some agency, the LGBTQ representation, and some impressive character development.
Speaking of the characters, I could not stand our main girl Georgiana in those first chapters—she’s mopey and selfish, even if she has her reasons, and that’s a bit annoying. She is bored and sarcastic, but when she meets Frances and her group of super rich, spoiled party-animal gentry, she goes all in. The debauchery these people engage in is deliciously scandalous, and while it’s fun to see the proper ladies getting to party, too, wow, these characters are just mean. Georgiana grows up slowly and painfully as the story moves along, and she’s just so damn funny I couldn’t help but love her, while the supporting cast is full of people to love and hate and love/hate.
I listened to an advanced listener’s copy of the audiobook, and I absolutely loved it. Bessie Carter does a fantastic job narrating, especially conveying the sarcasm. I highly recommend this audiobook to fans of historical romcoms, regency romances with a message, and/or bitchy drunken snobs.
Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for my free copy in exchange for this honest review. The book and audiobook come out April 5.