The book opens with the sentence: “I’d never planned on stealing someone else’s life.” If I were the snarky type, I would add to that: “Plot lines, on the other hand, that’s a different story!”
This book is a mash-up of many movies, television shows, and other books, ranging from The Prince and the Pauper, to My Fair Lady, to The Bachelor, and to all those YA books featuring groups of teenaged girls getting dressed up in beautiful gowns, tutored in manners, and competing to be chosen for a match with a guy who turns out not to be the guy the girl wants.
The heroine of this first in a series to come is Elizabeth Witmore, the Countess of Rothford, who is seeking to avoid an unsavory arranged marriage. Thus she switches places with her maid Adelaide, who is preparing to go, albeit unwillingly, to “The Glittering Court.” This is a school for girls where, along with other girls chosen mainly for their looks, students learn how to be a “lady” who will command a big bride price from one of the eager men out in the frontier country. As “Adelaide Baily,” the disguised Countess leaves with the hot recruiter for the “Glittering Court” – Cedric Thorn, and travels to her new home.
She makes friends, falls for Cedric, meets a number of caricatures, almost dies a number of times, but just then! just in time! some improbable event or the fortuitous arrival of some improbable new character out of the blue saves the day!
At the end of the book, we are left with plenty of reason (except the writing) to await the next installment.
Evaluation: While this book appealed to the young girl in me who unfortunately wanted to be one of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses,” the adult me wasn’t that awed by the writing in this book. But don’t pay attention to the adult me; this book is topping the best seller lists in the young adult category.
Published by Razor Bill, and imprint of Penguin Random House, 2016