I found this book entertaining but lacking in vital areas and padded out with unnecessary text.
I would have liked more content on the simmering relationship between the protagonists and more details on the other characters. Instead, it was padded out with a whole poem from Thomas Hardy, a stanza by Byron and a long list of what each pupil wore at a fashion show; none of which were necessary to the story. I also found the dialog about Chris's book very boring and unnecessary at times, but then maybe it's because I don't have an interest in historic novels or indeed history.
However, the relationship between the two main protagonists was excellent and it had me hooked! Rowland, the teacher, is very jealous of Chris his talented pupil, who is writing a novel. Rowland has always wanted to write a novel and the more success Chris has with his novel, the more it upsets Rowland. Chris goes out of his way to taunt Rowland, which is amusing.
The setting of the book is very interesting too, a finishing school which moves between European towns each year, with only 9 pupils, who are taught a variety of ad-hoc topics.
I have mixed feelings about the book, however, I think the unsatisfactory and very rushed ending tipped the scales for me in the wrong direction. So to summarise, great characters, great setting but let down by a poor ending and poor editing.