Review: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

June 7, 2015 4 stars, Book Review 8 ★★★★

Review: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen BaldwinA School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
Series: Stranje House #1
Published by Tor Teen on May 19, 2015
Genres: Alternate History, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...

A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS was an unexpected treat. The alternate history mixed with the “unusual” girls and Georgie’s budding romance both delighted and left me wanting more.

The Stranje house is a place where aristocrat families send their unusual girls that don’t fit into society. There aren’t many girls at the school, just five, and all of them have something about them that is special. I get the feeling that each of the future books might feature a different girl as the main character – at least I hope that is the case. The main character in this one is Georgie. She was trying to develop an invisible ink when her experiment goes wrong and burns her father’s stables to the ground. It was the final act in a long string of experimental mishaps that lead her parents to send her to this school. The headmistress is rumored to take very extreme measures in schooling the girls and Georgie thinks her life and freedom are coming to an end. But the school isn’t exactly what she or others believe.

The Unusual Girls -where I detail their traits and what makes them unusual View Spoiler »

My scatter brained thoughts:

– Of the girls Georgie and Tess really take the main stage in this book more so then the others. Both of their personalities really shined for me as being determined in their own unique ways. I found myself looking forward to what little “unusual” things I would learn about each girl. I’m hoping we learn even more in the next book about the other girls. Maya was the one that I felt I learned the least about this time around so I’m extremely curious about her. Perhaps each new book will put a different form on the spotlight?

– I liked the relationships and the romance. This was a regency alternate history romance with a focus on the romance. Even so, the historical aspects were very key in the story line and just as strong as the romance. Normally I’m not a huge fan of romance or alternate histories that focus a lot on the history but this struck such a nice balance between the two that I gobbled all of it up.

– For you romance lovers into swoon worthy men you’ll get a healthy serving with two very different yet equally delicious sounding men.

– There was also a section at the end that tells how it differs from actual history. There is also a nice discussion section at the back of the book for students in case they read it for school credit.

– Boarding / finishing (etiquette) school books always intrigue me. I recently finished the Gail Carriger Finishing School books and while A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS has a very different premise I believe folks that enjoyed those books would also enjoy this one. (Completely different kind of humor, school and atmosphere though.)

While A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS is a teen novel it felt like a decent adult cross over. I would recommend it to either age groups that are looking for a good alternate history with strong female characters.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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8 Responses to “Review: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin”

  1. Danya @ Fine Print

    I was just saying the other day how much I love boarding school novels – be they alt history, magic schools, or soldier schools, they’re always so much fun! Your description of this one makes me think of Alyxandra Harvey’s Breath of Frost in terms of the atmosphere and setting, which I loved. The endnotes talking about the differences between the novel and actual historical events sounds AWESOME! Why don’t all historicals include those?? Very intrigued by this one!
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  2. Lynn

    I really like the sound of this one. Boarding school, girls with ‘different’ abilities and set in the regency period – what a great combination.
    Lynn 😀
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