Review: Reputation by Lex Croucher

Has Jane Austen ever been sexier and hot than right now? With the huge hit series, Bridgerton, Netflix opened the door for a new generation of fans for Regency England and romance. Jane Austen is like the original rom-com writer and there is a reason many of her novels continue to be remade into modern stories or films. Like so many others, I adore Jane Austen—and I am always on the look out for new takes on the ‘Regency rom-com’ genre.

Enter this book. I was instantly drawn to this book and couldn’t pass on it. I loved the mash up description of Jane Austen meets Mean Girls and honestly—that’s exactly what this book is! I love regency England and I think with the popularity of Bridgerton I think a lot of younger readers and reads who ‘don’t read romance’ are looking for books to fill the giant Bridgerton hole in their hearts and this book will be a welcome distraction for many who are in this boat!

For me, I love romance. I read so much romance it’s not even funny, especially when I want something that’s a quick read and will leave me feeling happy. And books that are historical romance always get bonus points for me because I adore historical fiction and this book just sounded like a quick distraction that would leave me wondering if it was time for me to read some more Austen?

Summary

The hilarious debut novel from Lex Croucher. A classic romcom with a Regency-era twist, for fans of Mean Girls and/or Jane Austen.

Abandoned by her parents, middle-class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who lives a life Georgiana couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams.

Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana falls in with Frances and her unfathomably rich, deeply improper friends. Georgiana is introduced to a new world: drunken debauchery, mysterious young men with strangely arresting hands, and the upper echelons of Regency society.

But the price of entry to high society might just be higher than Georgiana is willing to pay … (summary from Goodreads)

Review

So when I said this book was Austen meets Mean Girls and I cannot drive that point home enough. It’s basically Mean Girls in Regency dress. In the early 2000s Mean Girls was the ‘IT MOVIE’. When it came out, I really enjoyed it though now when I watch it, it’s a little cringe-ish. Nevertheless, when I picked up this book I was fully ready for Mean Girls meets Regency England—cringe-ish or not! Going into this book, I think it’s important that readers be aware that there is a lot of modern language in this one. While yes it’s a Regency era book, there is a heavy dose of modern language and issues that we don’t see in many traditional ‘Regency era’ novels. I think y biggest hangup for this one was the genre labeling. On one hand yes it’s a historical fiction novel but it read more modern. Yes it has romance but I don’t know that I would actually classify this as a ‘rom-com’ as it really felt more about the women than romance and it had a much more serious storyline than comedy. And finally, is this adult fiction, I mean yes—-but for me this one read a little more YA than adult fiction and I think it’s because the characters felt a lot younger. YA is a tough genre sometimes. I love YA as much as the next person but when I picked this one up, I was expecting something a little different than what I actually read. It’s hard to define this one in any one specific genre. It’s certainly a mashup of a lot of different things.

So does it sound like I hated this book yet? Well that’s not the case! I mean, the cover and description promise a lot lighter of a plot than I actually read but it wasn’t a bad story. Purists of historical fiction/rom-coms will probably find more to criticize in this book but I think you have to go into this one with an open mind. It’s got a lot to offer readers especially in the main character Georgiana. She is impressionable and young and seeing her interact with the other characters really drives home just how impressionable she really is. I think some readers will identify with her insecurities and struggles to fit in. Even if you are an adult reader I think there is a lesson in Georgiana’s story that people will connect with.

The next natural question becomes—where do I rate this one then? This one was hard. In general I am more of a historical fiction purist. I like things to feel authentic and less modern. However there is an edginess to this one that I found exciting and appealing. The author did a great job constructing a story that had both fun elements to it and more serious topics that I think readers will enjoy so I think that has merit to it. I ended up going with 3 stars for this one. It was good and I liked it well enough to recommend to friends but I don’t know that I loved it in the way that I was expecting.

Book Info and Rating

Format: 336 pages, paperback

Published: April 5th 2022 by St Martin’s Press

ISBN: 9781250832832

Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: historical fiction, Regency lit

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