Reputation by Lex Croucher
Publication Date: 05 April 2022
The blurb for this book paints it as a Regency-era Mean Girls rom-com. While there is some humor in this story, I don’t believe it can be accurately described as a rom-com. But the Mean Girls comparison is on point. We have our lead character, Georgiana, the new girl in town after her parents have left her in the care of her aunt and uncle. She is dreadfully bored with only Mr. and Mrs. Burton for company, and wishes to have an opportunity to find new friends and have new adventures. And then she meets Frances, a party girl who comes from a wealthy family and has her own entourage. Frances welcomes Georgiana into her little group, and then the drama begins.
I should warn you that if you are looking for a light and fluffy Regency romp, this is definitely not it. The first part of the book is fun and flighty, but then shit starts getting really dark. There are all sorts of content warnings that should be considered prior to reading: excessive alcohol and drug consumption and abuse, on-page sexual assault and off-page rape, toxic relationships, domestic violence, racism, death of family members (off-page), and grief.
While I enjoyed this book overall, I did have some issues. First and foremost, this book has an abundance of completely unlikeable characters, including Georgiana. I just wanted to smack her self-absorbed face on so many occasions. The story is also rife with anachronisms, but I can deal with that because I enjoyed the modern flair. I was also pleased to see some LGBTQ+ representation, as well as acknowledgement that people in the Regency era were not exclusively white. I guess mostly my issue was that I was led to believe the book was one thing by the cover and the blurb, and it ended up being something significantly different. Had I gone into the book with a better understanding of how dark the tone would become, I probably would have enjoyed it more. So consider this your warning, prepare your mind, and dive into this book. Because many parts of it were delightful.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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