Finishing School Reviews Versus 1872 Godey’s Reviews

My dearest Gentle Reader, I have been moving into and setting up my new office recently and it has gobbled up a great deal of my spare time. But, oh it is such fun! For the first time in my life I have a space I can decorate wholly to my own taste without impingement from dorms, Dads, or partners. It’s a strange kind of thrill and I am going very white and very girly. On top of that, there is the usual spate of travel plans (LoneStarCon AKA San Antonio WorldCon is a Go!), various business calls and meeting and contracts, and the regular writing schedule.

In the interim, Etiquette & Espionage has been garnering a goodly number of reviews.

    • WhatchYAReading? says, “I wish I had qualified for a flying school when I was fourteen.”
    • The Atomics say, “I was strangely addicted to the whole thing and there was never a dull moment in it!”
    • Books and Things says, “I really enjoyed my time here and I recommend it to those that enjoy fun YA, inquisitive girls, or just want to get their feet wet in steampunk.”
    • Bookyurt says, “From the most absurdly British surnames imaginable (alas, dear Cumberbatch, I fear you’ve been dethroned) to the many classes in The PROPER Way to Do Away With Someone, this book is patented Gail Carriger, through and through – that is to say, impeccably dressed tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness, also known as sheer fun.”
    • Candace says, “This book was full of hilarious moments. I read this while my daughter was sick, so I’d burst out laughing while cuddling her and every time she said ‘What mom? Read it to me.’”
    • Lili says, “Carriger’s humor shines through in many ways, but her awesome ability to come up with the most ridiculous names is simply great.”
    • Books YA Love says, “Book the First of the Finishing School series brings together steampunk and high manners with great success, inviting readers along on the astounding journey of clever Sophronia, her new friends, and her new enemies.”
    • Lytherus says, “One of the reasons that Gail has become a favorite of mine is the hilarious wit she gives her characters…Lucky for us, it is there, and the story is both amusing and suspenseful.”
    • Book Brats say, “First things first – if you’re a fan of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, I can tell you right now to just stop reading. You’ll love her Finishing School series as well.”
    • For What It’s Worth says, “Carriger created a world that while it’s important to have good posture and flutter ones eyelashes prettily, it is also important for a girl to be intelligent and think on her feet.”
    • Nocturnal Book Reviews says, “Etiquette and Espionage is charming and lovely, and I think it’s suitable for all ages starting from middle grade, especially if you want to introduce your child to steampunk.”
    • Anima Libri Booksoul says, “I instantly liked Sophronia. She was so relatable and really, really fascinating with her oh so improper behavior and nosy ways.”
    • Stuff and Nonsense says, “Who wouldn’t be interested in classes like Music & Intelligence Gathering and Household Management & Proper Poisonings for Every Occasion?”
    • Stories & Sweeties says, “ You can tell at once that this is what Gail Carriger does, she has taken the skill of creating steampunk worlds and honed it into a perfectly refined artform.”
    • Madame Guillotine says, “It’s witty, funny, a bit thrilling, tremendously silly and immensely good fun. Brilliant.”
    • The Bookstore Intern Chronicles says, “They learn how to curtsy and throw knives, poison people while planning an elegant meal, and fight different paranormal creatures. What isn’t cool about that??”
    • You Book Me All Night Long says, “The concept of a finishing school that teaches young ladies how to be dangerous secret agents is absolutely fascinating, and I was absorbed by the world of the novel.”
    • buzzwordsbooks says, “With great imagination, Carriger unfolds an amusing and exciting first novel in the Etiquette and Espionage series.”
    • Steam Ingenious says, “I found it totally charming, with its combination of polite manners, adventure, and emphasis on practical skills such as how to fake a faint without wrinkling your skirts. I would absolutely enroll in this type of finishing school.”
    • Starting the Next Chapter says, “To say that Etiquette & Espionage is amazing doesn’t even begin to cover how much I enjoyed this book.”
  • Katharine Elmer says, “I actually think I enjoyed this new series even more than her previous one, possibly because I am drawn to characters who are not quite certain how they fit into the world around them. Sophronia and her cronies struggle in different ways to belong, to get along and to learn what “finishing” truly means.”

By way of thanks and appreciation, I thought you might like to see some of Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine book reviews from 1872. (So these would have come out shortly before events in Soulless.)

From the July Issue:

A NOBLE LORD. By Mrs. Emma D.E.N. Southworth. This is a sequel to her last production, “The Lost Heir of Linlithgow.” There is a large class of persons who regard Mrs. Southworth as a model of literary excellence, and for all such the bare announcement of a new work by her pen is sufficient.
(Nora Roberts of the 1870s perhaps?)

GOOD-BY, SWEETHEART! A Novel. By Rhoda Broughton, author of “Cometh up as a Flower,” etc. A novel of the highly-wrought sensuous type, giving false and pernicious ideas of life – a book certain to exert an especially baneful influence upon the young, whose views of propriety and morality are as yet only partially formed. It is a book more to be avoided than many which are more openly immoral.
(Do I sense a nascent Twilight?)

AIMEE. By Agnes Giberne. The scene is laid in the reign of James II., of England. Aimee is driven from France for her Protestant faith, and finds in England the same contest waging between the Papacy and the Reform religion, but with a widely different result. The story ends with the landing of King William at Torbay. It is easily written, and contains many historical facts, while the style is an imitation of that of the seventeenth century.”
(I love the idea of the Victorians writing historical fiction, heh heh.)

From the August Issue:

A WOMAN’S EXPERIENCE IN EUROPE, including England, France, Germany, and Italy. By Mrs. E.D. Wallace, author if “Strife: A Romance of Germany and Italy.” A man may be as good a sight-seer as a woman; but we have always held, and shall continue to do until we have evidence furnished us to the contrary, that women always write the most readable books of travel. Men note the most important things, and skip over all the rest as unworthy of mention. Women record all the trivial incidents of thier journey, all those little events and happenings which make the journeylings of one person differ form those of another over the smart route, and the record of which serve to entertain as much as the more important facts instruct. To the book before us belongs in a high degree this pleasing character, which serves to render it something more than a state repetition of the typography of countries already well know to tourists and to readers of books of travel generally.
(So there you have it, read travel books by ladies.)

From the September Issue:

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT? A Novel. This is as extravagant and somewhat tiresome story, depicting rather absurd characters and improbable events. With so many better books before us, it seems hardly necessary to recommend this to our readers, even for the purpose of passing away an idle hour.
(Oh, burn! I feel somewhat similar about Grapes of Wrath)

AYTOUN. A Romance. A well-written story, somewhat morbid in tone, and partaking slightly of the sensational. Though it possesses no special characteristics, it is still worthy of reading.
(And this is how I feel about BUST magazine.)

MY HERO. Br Mrs. Forrester, author of “Fair Women.” “My Hero” is from the pen of new English writer; it is autobiographical in from, pleasing in character, possesses vivid interest, and will doubtless prove satisfactory to all who read it.
(Hum, I’m at a loss for a comparable modern text. Thoughts anyone?)

From the October Issue:

FAIR WOMEN. A Story of English Life. By Mrs. Forrester. A story with which pleasantly to pass away an hour or two, and which, while it has no special purpose in it, is unobjectionable in point of morality.
(I love that morality must be considered!)

EBB-TIDE. A novel. By Christian Reid, author of “Merton House,” etc. An entertaining and affecting story, written in a finished style, and displaying considerable ability in the delineation of characters. Is does not, however, possess any remarkable degree of excellence wither in plot or sentiment, though sufficient to be worthy of perusal.
(How about later Mercedes Lackey for this one?)


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Cover of Soulless in Brazil
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Quote of the Day:
“Kiss: A thing of use to no one, but much prized by two.”
~ E.L.C. Ward, The Scrap Book, 1899


Etiquette & Espionage: Finishing School Book 1

Etiquette & Espionage free PDF


It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

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