Oh, Regency period, how I love you! How you always make me feel happy and giddy and all things wonderful! La Petite Four is Regina Scott’s first YA novel, and what successful foray into YA books it is!
Lady Emily Southwell (daughter of the Duke of Emerson) and her three closest friends are about to begin their first Season. Unfortunately, Lord Robert has gotten it into his head that he is going to marry Lady Emily and whisk her off to the country, where she would not be able to take advantage of her first Season, and where there is no way she would be accepted to the Royal Society for the Beaux Arts. Not to mention the fact that he expects her to miss her friend Priscilla’s coming out ball, which is going to be the event of the Season.
Emily and her friends are convinced that there’s something amiss with Lord Robert, and are determined to expose him before the wedding. Meaning, they chase him all over town and conveniently stumble into the acquaintance of the charming James Cropper, who happens to also be investigating Lord Robert. Can the girls and James Cropper figure out what’s going on with Lord Robert before Emily has to get married?
Oh, James Cropper, you are my perfect fictional crush. I would spend the rest of the entry gushing about you, but really… words don’t do it justice. I shall just have to repeat that you are my perfect fictional crush. Really.
As I said to a few people while in the middle of this book, it was like taking some Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and mixing in a little bit of Libba Bray (minus the magic). It’s got that woman falling in love with a man below her station that I loved greatly in Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy… What can I say, I’m a sucker for stories like that. And the characters are not flakes, but are strong women who don’t let men tell them what they must do with their lives. Or at least tell them that they have to marry men that are up to no good.
You could see Austen’s characters in some of the characters in this book. Especially in Emily’s friend Priscilla, who expressed a few times that love does not always matter in a marriage, and what matters for some is that they marry well. Reminded me a little bit of Charlotte Lucas in P&P.
I will admit that the book was somewhat predictable. You could tell Lord Robert was the Wickham of this book from the moment he is first mentioned. It came across as being obvious what crime he had committed, even if the girls didn’t quite pick up the clues. And you knew who Emily was going to end up with all along. But oh, it was so enjoyable.
I can’t tell if this is the first in a series. It ends on a note where it COULD standalone quite well… but it doesn’t end in the traditional girl-gets-the-guy way. I don’t know if I would necessarily WANT more books to this. It works so well on its own, and I enjoyed it so much. I’d be afraid that the rest would ruin the experience of this one for me.
That said, I’m definitely going to be looking for Scott’s non-YA regency romances soon. If they’re anything like La Petite Four, I will definitely thoroughly enjoy them.