By Kate Pavao,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Feisty fashionista fights crime and stereotypes. Clean fun.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Alex is a smart, outspoken girl who questions the society's expectations of women (and puts herself in danger to save her man).
Violence & Scariness
The book opens with a murder, and the conclusion has Alex and her love, Blackmoor, being held at gunpoint.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing that would be scandalous for the times (though seems pretty tame by today's standards).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine drinking is described.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is pretty clean fare. There are a few steamy kisses and a little wine drinking, but nothing that will raise modern eyebrows. The spirited protagonist questions her role in society -- which might inspire interested readers to try out other books about plucky girls from the olden days, such as Jane Austen's novels.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
A must read for teens and adults.
Report this review
What's the Story?
Alex is a rich girl being introduced to society in her first season of balls. But while her looks (and money) get her plenty of attention at these public events, she wishes someone would respect her for her brain. Just as she begins to realize her feelings for Blackmoor, a longtime family friend, she begins to unravel a mystery surrounding his father's recent death. As she gets closer to the truth, she quickly finds herself in serious danger -- of death AND of falling in love.
Is It Any Good?
This book has a lot going for it: fancy dresses, balls, formal dinners, romance -- and a murder mystery. Readers will appreciate the verbal sparring between Alex and Blackmoor and cheer when the made-for-each-other couple finally share some secret kisses.
The author does a good job of painting a realistic portrait of the historical times -- from extravagant fashion to fixed gender roles. She also gives her characters modern pluck -- so get ready for lots of eye rolling.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the protagonist, Alex. Would you be willing to trade your life for hers? You'd get to attend balls and wear fancy dresses, but your own mother would be trying to marry you off as quickly as possible. Also, think about Alex's statement to Blackmoor: "Men refuse to consider the possibility that women have their own opinions, their own character... Do you truly believe that those men will continue to court me when... they discover that I read the newspaper and enjoy discussing politics?" Is this statement still an accurate representation of how guys treat girls, or is it out of date?
- Author: Sarah MacLean
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Book type: Fiction
- Publication date: March 1, 2009
- Number of pages: 352
- Last updated: July 15, 2015
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate