In my attempt to write a post every month addressing SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge, I am mentioning ever-so-briefly the one and only Unusual Historical I have read this year (in February). Having seen so many readers laud this book, I feel that I am an outlier. And a heads up – the blurb to this book is longer than my commentary.
Reading Note 63: India Holton’s The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels.
A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.
Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.
Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.
When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.
Sooooo….this paranormal historical romance novel was a rather unremarkable read for me. Floating houses, strong magic women, enemies, foes, lots of tea drinking and rules of decorum? I felt like I should have loved this book but instead I gave up after ten chapters (I think?) when a house lands in a field where Cecilia is sparring with love interest Ned Lightbourne. I skim read the rest. My biggest impression is that I had this book on my TBR since 2021. I feel let down by the nearly two year wait. I couldn’t lose myself in the story.
PS After I wrote the above paragraph, I thought I would return to my GoodReads entry and this is what I wrote:
I liked the concept, I liked the way the chapters were introduced, and it was rather clever however the cleverness overwhelmed the story and I ended up skimming the second half of the book. That said, I really liked the last chapter. Jolly library ending and all that.
I guess that I couldn’t even remember that I thought it tried for cleverness. This may have been its downfall. Oh and the romance….totally forgettable too. I gave it two Goodreads stars.
5 thoughts on “A quick TBR challenge post: Reading Note 63”
I don’t believe I had heard about this book before, but the blurb put me off completely. (Though I love the cover.)
It reminded me of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series but it was all over the place.
I haven’t read any of Gail Carriger’s books (if memory serves for anything) but “all over the place” is never good.
I thought it was a reasonable enough time passer, but I didn’t get all the hype. DNF’d the sequel.
It might just be me as a reader – I don’t do well with fantasy or scifi as I find the world build a bit tiring.