Genre:: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: June 1st 2010 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published March 1st 2009)
Lady Alexandra Stafford, daughter to His Grace, the Duke of Worthington is preparing to embark on her first season in London Society. In a whirlwind of silk and petticoats, pretty smiles and false pleasantries, she will join the other husband seeking young ladies of the ton (elite London society) and vie for the affections of a suitably rich and titled husband. While other young ladies of her sect look upon the coming season with properly restrained excitement and calculate how best to subtly launch their attacks on the hearts of London's select bachelors, Alex wants nothing to do with it. She doesn't want to get all dolled up and parade herself in front of dull, elderly lords and their simpering, simpleton sons. She doesn't want to plaster on a fake smile and make empty-headed conversations with boring dowagers who all share the same set, severe, idea of what is acceptable in a young lady. She'd rather spend the time in meaningful conversation with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, and discuss Pride and Prejudice. Faced with the prospect of a being married off to some man that fears a woman with any hint of intelligence, Alex swears off marriage altogether.
But as fate would have it, as soon as a girl swears off anything, something will come along to test it, and for Alex, the test comes in the form of the handsome and charming new Earl of Blackmoor. Known to her throughout childhood as simply Gavin, he has long since been considered a member of the family and has been like a brother to Alex. Having just inherited his title after the sudden and suspicious death of his father, Gavin returns from mourning a much different man than the boy Alex grew up with. As the ongoing London season throws them more and more in each other's company, Alex isn't so sure of her vows against marriage now and she isn't sure that she hasn't already lost her heart.
I was recently introduced to the brilliance that is Sarah MacLean after I read Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I've never been much for romance novels, though I'll admit I've dabbled here and there because sometimes nothing else but a guaranteed happy ending will do, but with MacLean's charming, funny heroines and heroes who are all at once so smolderingly sexy and so infuriatingly smug, I can't help but fall further and further into the genre. MacLean is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
The Season is a YA version of a historical romance, tasteful and age appropriate without losing any of the romance and keeping the just the right amount of heat. We have two people who are very reluctant to fall in love, particularly with each other, a formula that always makes for an intriguing courtship. Gavin is struggling with the guilt he feels for finding Alex so appealing because he feels it is a betrayal of the Duke's and the Stafford family's kindnesses to him throughout the years. Alex is struggling because suddenly she sees Gavin in a different light, one she has chosen against and because, well, she's just a contrary little thing, so trying to not fall in love with Gavin is just her nature.
There is a mystery surrounding the untimely death of Gavin's father, the Earl of Blackmoor that was an interesting addition, though it wasn't a necessary inclusion for me since I was just after the love story. It did provide an adventure for Alex and her friends that further introduced their characters, two very delightful ladies that I can only HOPE AND PRAY will show up in future novels *hint hint*. I'm curious about Vivi whose father has encouraged her to marry for love before anything else and I want to know more about her.
This is an adorable little novel, and the clothes are to die for. I want all of the dresses Alex wore. Want.
For those of us slightly older ladies that like their romance with a bit more, ahem, color (sex), you simply MUST read MacLean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake.
Visit Miz MacLean at MacLeanSpace to read all about her books- she has a new book coming out in October that I will drop everything for. Also in her current post you'll see a picture of Nine Rules... sitting next to Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series which was one I kept thinking about while reading The Season! The Secret History of the Pink Carnation would be a great place to start if you liked the mystery and the network of spies alluded to in The Season.