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Wilful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society and Scandal [Paperback]

Ekaterina Sedia
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012
The Victorian era is significant for the rise of the middle classes and marked changes in social relationships, both in the home and in wider society, with the proliferation of domestic help and the development of increasingly rigid gender roles. These are romances that chafe against the restrictions of the period, with heroes and heroines who defy social convention, igniting firestorms of gossip. The aristocrats, impostors, social climbers, domestic workers and undercover agents of these stories exist in an authentically lush world, depicted here with telling attention to detail. While most of the stories are strongly realistic, some incorporate elements of fantasy.

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178033348X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780333489
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,151,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A beguiling collection of original short romances for teen readers set in the Victorian era.

About the Author

Ekaterina Sedia is a Russian-born fantasy author who is currently living in the United States.Her most recent work is The Alchemy of Stone, a steampunk novel that explores sexism and class bigotry. Alchemy received a star review from Publishers Weekly and was made the LA Times's 2008 Summer Reading List. Her other books include The Secret History of Moscow, According to Crow; and The House of Discarded Dreams. In addition to writing she was the editor of the World Fantasy Award-winning Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 19 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a good chance to read something a bit different. The stories are well chosen ans well executed. A fine selection for anybody wanting to discover queer literature
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved the more scandalous stories 19 Jan 2013
By Amira S. - Published on Amazon.com
This anthology was definitely a mixed bag, containing straightforward, conventional romances that have a very faint hue of "impropriety", as well as more unusual stories which go beyond Victorian boundaries and explore the truly "scandalous" (at least for that era), with LGBT themes or issues of race. Guess which ones are worth reading. No story is too "scandalous" to merit an adult rating.

I loved, loved, loved "At Will" by Leanna Renee Hieber (the first story), a gender-bending homage to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It was different, with a bittersweet, unexpected ending. I had tried to read The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and gave up after the first chapter. But, having enjoyed "At Will" - I will have to reconsider Hieber's fiction.

"The Unladylike Education of Agatha Tremain" by Stephanie Burgis was another story I adored. I loved Agatha's fiery spirit, the magical world Burgis created, and the surprising, happy ending. I now want to try Burgis' middle grade books.

"The Garden of England" by Sandra Mcdonald is a fantastic retelling of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, as told from the point of view of an Indian nursemaid which comes with Mary Lennox to England. Mary is not quite the sweet heroine here nor her uncle the pitiable guardian as in the book.

"Mrs Beeton's Book of Magickal Management" by Karen Healey is one of the more conventional romances with a fantasy setting. A very delightful story.

I love how the heroine of "The Language Of Flowers" by Caroline Stevermer interprets the intentions of her sister's suitors through the bouquets they send her. This seems like the most Victorian of the stories, but has the appeal of exploring the relationship between the two sisters.

I found "The Dancing Master" by Genevieve Valentine to be the most haunting, about unrequited love.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scandalous Historical Stories 18 Mar 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Simply put, this is an anthology of 13 historical stories that include everything from society, scandal, and romance such as the following.

"At Will" by Leanna Renee Hieber - This story is about a young lady, Portia, that has been raised in theater. Because of her skill acting in both male and female roles she has become a prized character that is brought into society as a companion of one of societies more known males, Mr. Rothschild. It's where she fits into the role that is the issue.

"The Unladylike Education of Agatha Tremain" by Stephanie Burgis - Agatha has taken to running her father's house while he engrosses himself in his studies. But her aunt doesn't see this as proper training for a young lady and steps in to make Agatha a proper lady.

"Nussbaum's Golden Fortune" by M. K. Hobson - Nussbaum is a gentleman with bad luck. He owes some powerful people a lot of money. He goes to his old friend Oesterlische for help selling a magical map. But things go wrong when the map and Oesterlische's fiancé are held for ransom.

These historical based stories are about things that were not as acceptable then as they are now and how people stepped out of the normal rules to follow their hearts. I really liked the concept of the stories. My personal favorite was The Unladylike Education of Agatha Tremain. She has spunk and even though she is forced into following societies rules, she rises above them at the end.

I will be honest, this is one book that I did have a hard time sticking with. Don't get me wrong, it's not that the book was horrible, it was quiet good. It's just one that I have been looking at for several months and just can't finish. Please don't let this statement ruin your opinion of the book.

If you like historical stories and those where people find ways to rise above their lot in life, then you will enjoy this book.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great anthology 29 Oct 2013
By Cornucopia of Reviews (Lizzy) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Best Bits: It's kind of difficult to do an anthology in the best bits/nit picks format, but I'm going to attempt it. For those that love historical fiction with a bit of scandal thrown in, this is the anthology for you. As a fan of The Parasol Protectorate series, I found many of the stories within this book to be fabulous reads. My favorites included The Colonel's Daughter by Barbara Roden (a story of a companion who helps her charge hide a forbidden romance), Mrs. Beeton's Book of Magickal Management by Karen Healey (a story about a lady's maid using magic to stop a spell gone wrong), and Resurrection by Tiffany Trent (a story about a woman disguising herself as a boy). The book has some diversity, too. There are characters from across the globe, and love between all genders. If only all books could be that way!

Nit Picks: I think that there were a couple stories where length was an issue. I wanted more from The Unladylike Education of Agatha Tremain by Stephanie Burgis (seriously, can these characters have a book?!). I thought that Nussbaum's Golden Fortune by M. K. Hobson was a bit too long, and that the story would have been more effective had it been a bit more concise.

Overall, it's a good anthology that fans of the genre will enjoy.
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