When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year's season begins!
THE SEASON by Sarah MacLean is a YA historical fiction novel that centers around seventeen-year-old Alex, who is coming of age in Regency London. Alex has been dreading this time because she hates dress fittings, forced conversations, and the idea of marriage. Her mother, however, an indomitable force to be reckoned with, is determined to snag Alex a husband before the London Season is over. Aggrieved, Alex finds solace in Gavin, her childhood friend, but starts to fear for his safety as new details of his father’s death emerge. What once seemed like an accident is now suspicious and Gavin could be in trouble. He wants Alex to stay out of it, but after all the times Gavin has saved Alex, she’s determined to return the favor.
This book is very much like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen, but with mystery. It shares a similar tone, mother-daughter relationship, and protagonist struggle. However, THE SEASON is an easier and quicker read, and as such, is more accessible to a wider audience. THE SEASON has the benefit of a contemporary author, so the themes and characters resonate more directly with present day. With that being said, while MacLean never blatantly uses an anachronism, the dialogue in many cases isn’t historically accurate. However, I don’t mind MacLean taking artistic license as the characters are more relatable.
What I love most about this story are the relationships between the characters. Alex and her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, are fun, interesting, and supportive. They are the exact kind of friends anyone would want. Not only do they encourage each other to follow their dreams, despite female limitations at the time, they also aren’t judgmental of each other for choosing a traditional path. It’s sweet to see how they come to each other’s aid no matter what. Alex also has a great relationship with her three older brothers. They like to poke at each other whenever they can, but it’s clear they care about one another. My favorite relationship in the whole book though is the one between Alex and Gavin. I like seeing how they evolve from being kids to adults in society and trying to understand what that means for the two of them.
Overall, THE SEASON reads like a love letter from Sarah MacLean to Jane Austen. As a fan of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this book so much and can’t wait to read it again. THE SEASON is perfect for anyone wanting a swoon-worthy romance, a snarky protagonist, and a murder mystery.