In this irreverent regency romp by New York Times best-selling author Sophie Jordan, newly minted sixteen-year-old Primrose Ainsworth finds herself on a wayward birthday adventure through London with a mysterious hero—perfect for fans of My Lady Jane.
This is the kind of story I absolutely love – it’s light, romantic, and funny. I actually found myself laughing out loud multiple times as the author does a great job with contrast. For instance, at the beginning of each chapter, we get an excerpt from a book on propriety about how young ladies are supposed to act. Then, in the following chapter, we get to see Prim break that rule. Prim feels suffocated by these expectations, and as such, sexism and gender are a few underlying themes. Through Prim, Jordan points out how unfair the lack of freedom is for women, in comparison to their male counterparts. She explores class differences as well.
That being said, there are a couple of elements keeping this book from truly shining. The first is the dialogue. It oftentimes feels like the characters just say phrases that the readers expect for this genre and time period, rather than being authentic. The pacing also feels rushed at the end. The whole time I was reading it, I was expecting this book to be a setup for a series, but then it sped up, making the ending less impactful.
With that in mind, SIXTEEN SCANDALS is perfect for new regency readers. It’s an enjoyable mashup of a more PG BRIDGERTON and a more adult CINDERELLA. It has a fairytale quality rather than a realistic one, and will appeal to readers with those sensibilities.