The Scandal Of The Season
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The Scandal Of The Season

3.07 of 5 stars 3.07  ·  rating details  ·  907 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Jane Austen meets Philip Roth in a sexy, sparkling debut novel reconstructing the real-life scandal that inspired Alexander Pope's famous poem "The Rape of the Lock."
London, 1711. The rich young offspring of the city's fashionable families fill their days with masquerade balls, opera engagements, and clandestine courtships. Leading the pursuit of pleasure are the beautif...more
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Published August 7th 2007 by Highbridge Company (first published 2007)
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Carolynn
I bought this book on the strength of good reviews in the press, and was left disappointed. I too nearly put it down unfinished, which I have only very rarely done. A reviewer on Amazon asked why the book doesn't work, when Sophie Gee has a PhD in 18C literature and a clear passion for her subject - I think that's why. To me this book is an example of how not to turn an academic thesis and course of lectures into a novel.

Unfortunately, Ms Gee is intent on proving that this 'is not Austen' and to...more
Allie

You can read this review on my blog, here.

The Scandal of the Season
by Sophie Gee

They say one should never judge a book by its cover, but the cover art on the latest paperback release of this book just screams “bodice ripper,” and I couldn’t help but assume that its content would likely follow suit. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that not only did this book cover a wide range of historical figures, but also, it was very well written! Gee really captured the essence of 18th Century England: f...more
Claire
Mah, mi è sembrata un po' un'occasione sprecata. Non c'è stato il tempo né il modo di approfondire i personaggi, e quindi non ho potuto più di tanto interessarmi alle loro vicende: non ho sentito affetto, preoccupazione, pietà, speranza per Arabella, non ho aspettato con ansia che Alexander ottenesse il suo meritato successo.
La storia è affascinante e avrebbe meritato molto di più - mi sono quasi più diverita a leggere la sorte dei personaggi nella vita reale alla fine del libro, e penso che qu...more
Laurie
The saving grace of this book was that it included the text of "The Rape of the Lock" in the back, meaning I got to read it again, which was great, because it is awesome and hilarious. And it was fun learning a bit about the backstory.

Beyond that, though, that I found this novel's pacing and dialogue and, well, prose in general consistently awkward and affected. Way too much telling, not enough showing. I know that writing historical fiction entirely through the eyes of actual figures can't be...more
Kristie
If you like period pieces and Dangerous Liasons the movie you will love it! Even better, it is based on actual events of the early 1700's. The poem "The Rape of the Lock" was written about this same set of events by Alexander Pope - a character in the novel. At the end, the author sums up what happens to the actual people.
Roshni
I liked this book...there was nothing earth shattering about it but then again, it doesn't promise to be anything but enjoyable.

What I like best is the dialogue...Gee writes her characters with such wit and with the exception of a couple of anachronisms, does a great job of capturing London in the 1700s. And with note that this story takes place about a century before Jane Austen and the somewhat "pristine" sexual culture of the nineteenth century, this book revealed a part of London's sexual mo...more
Georgiana 1792
La storia del poema Il ricciolo rapito

Protagonista di questo romanzo è Alexander Pope, lo scrittore che è al terzo posto fra i più citati della letteratura inglese, dopo Shakespeare e Tennyson. Il libro — ricostruendo l’ambiente storico in cui si muoveva Pope, con accuratezza di dettagli — narra i primi passi del poeta nel mondo della poesia e la genesi del suo celeberrimo poema satirico Il ricciolo rapito (Rape of the lock 1712), in cui Pope descrive con stile epico — il poeta è noto anche per...more
Grace
I'm glad I persevered with this, although at one stage in the middle I did feel like giving up. The problem was that the pace was so very slow, and it seemed like nothing was happening...and really both these observationsa re true to the end. But it also had flashes of brilliance, a paragraph or two that described emotions perfectly, or created some lovely picture in the reader's head. Indeed the best part of the whole thing for me was the ending paragraph of the first chapter, an increadibly ef...more
Ksenia
his book was truly a wonderful literary historical fiction experience. I read The Rape of the Lock in my senior year of college, so I was glad the author included the entire poem at the end so I read that first to refresh my memory. I loved the author’s language in it. It was so rich and it really set the mood for the events that were happening. The characters were practically jumping off the page; I never had any picture of Alexander Pope in my mind, but now I do thanks to this book. Although t...more
Catyche
Mar 21, 2009 Catyche rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Alexander Pope fans, Historical fiction lovers, and English Literature enthusiasts
This was a wonderful and satisfying read. The book follows the life of author and poet Alexander Pope as he goes to London to find his fortune. It's a fictionalized (but well researched) account of how he came to write the poem that made his name "The Rape of the Lock." The book also follows Alexander's friends Martha and Teresea who too have come to London to make matches, as well as Arabella Fermor and Lord Petre, (the principals in "The Rape of the Lock" who go by the name of Belinda and The...more
Emily
I listed to the audio version of this book. It got off to a very slow start in my opinion. Based on the basis of the story, the poet Alexander Pope and his writing of the poem The Rape of the Lock, I was hopeful this would be a a very interesting historical account of said event. It got a bit better half way through but it never got to the point of really good.

More than once I contemplated moving this to the "unfinished" shelf but since I was listening to it while doing a good bit of driving I...more
Mary Beth
I just happened to pick this one off the New Books shelf at the library and am very glad that I did. I learned a great deal about the poet Alexander Pope and also a great deal about karma.
Kim Diebold
It appears that I am in the minority regarding this review since I really loved this book! I have a passion for both English and history and this book fulfills both. The author is extremely knowledgeable on these subject matters and it is obvious that her thesis statement was the premise for this book. I love when an author is capable of using fictional characters to accurately portray the ambience of that time. This book Had me engaged and interested the entire time I look forward to future mat...more
Mazel
Pprésentation de l'éditeur :

Dans le Londres mondain du début du XVIIIe siècle, trois personnages tentent le sort : la belle Arabella Fermor cherche un mari mais aussi - risque fatal - l'amour ; l'énigmatique Lord Petre séduit comme d'autres boivent (du champagne) et complote tout autant. Quant au troisième, un jeune homme affamé de gloire, débarqué de sa campagne et nommé Alexander Pope, il mise tout sur un hypothétique succès littéraire. Lequel des trois tirera son épingle du jeu ? Eblouissant...more
Gabby
Dec 07, 2008 Gabby rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Fiction
This book opens in 1711 when the idle rich were the focus of attention in England. It must have been ghastly to be among the idle rich since, for lack of a life purpose, they seemed to do nothing but make trouble for themselves.

The "scandal" involves Alexander Pope, a poet, and what prompted him to write the satire, The Rape Of The Lock. Annabella Fermor and Lord Robert Petre are the subjects of this satire which went on to make Alexander Pope famous.

As historical fiction, this book is interest...more
Stephanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi
I give this three stars because the author really nailed the language of the 18th century, at least from what I can tell of Fanny Burney and Henry Fielding. But the characters were lamentably wooden, particularly the main couple, a young nobleman and the wellborn girl who inexplicably (in an age when the appearance of maidenly virtue was vital to one's prospects) embarks on an affair with him. The story is apparently based on a true story (Alexander Pope, one of the characters, based a famous po...more
Marek
The Scandal of the Season is an account of the season Alexander Pope spent in London that inspired him to write "The Rape of the Lock," one of his most famous poems (that actually made him independently wealthy after being born without status, and therefore without a fortune).

The Scandal of the Season is entertaining reading. It's not heavy or deep, but it's a fun look into the lives of high society during that period in England (circa 1712-1714). It's full of intrigue and trysts, secrets and je...more
Pau
I know I shouldn't judge but that book cover is just so sexy and alluring that I just had to pick it up. I knew I could not leave the shop without this book. I am SO SO SO GLAD I picked this up. It is just wonderful and would have gotten full 5 stars together with the greats had the ending not been so... bland.

It's Queen Anne's England, well at least the last 3 years of it. The book starts with Alexander Pope's first person POV (narrated as 3rd person) but then shifts into different POVs within...more
Jean Marie
This was a very clever novel. Like many first time authors I've read, it did take me a while to adjust to Gee's style of writing, which invokes the era pretty well. I also applaud Gee for attempting to write a novel on the premise of a famous poem, which is harder than one would think. The story is of young lovers Arabella and Robert. She, a commoner of uncommon beauty and he a young nobleman. All placed among Queen Anne's England with an underlying current of Jacobite drama.
What is the meat of...more
Elizabeth
Jul 17, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who are either really bored or are really intent on reading everything concerning A. Pope
I bought it because it was in the bargain bin at B&N. I've stumbled upon a great many finds that way, but alas, this time I got what I paid for.

For one, it all seemed trivial, and none of the characters really seemed to have depth. The only character I even really liked at all was Martha, a minor character at best. Everyone seemed flat.

For another, the story seemed to revolve all around pomp and circumstance, high fashion and society and those trying to be a part of it. That's all well and f...more
The Book Maven
Gee's book tends to defy categorization. It's part mystery (really understated, however), part romance (again, understated), and mainly historical fiction. Set in early-eighteenth century London, it focuses on the aspiring writer Alexander Pope and his observations, aspirations, and private hopes. However, it focuses as well on the subjects of the poem that would eventually make his fortune, The Rape of the Lock, and how complicated, intricate, and fraught with disappointments the courtship proc...more
Mia Tat
This book may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it, having a long-seated passion for 18th century England. Having spent quite a bit of time in the Tudor period, and all the religious upheavals that came out of that, I definitely enjoyed seeing what came out of that. Anti-Catholic sentiment had died down by then, but was still present.

This is an opulant, peaceful time in English history, and it is interesting to see the lifestyle the author describes. This is a book about writers and w...more
Susan
Nov 22, 2007 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: historical fiction enthusiasts
You enter this book believing that you'll be reading steamy, bloody, political historical fiction, only to be given the old AP-English bait-and-switch, and you soon discover that the main plotline is a fictionalized account of the circumstances behind Alexander Pope's poem "The Rape of the Lock". If you're still reading this review, you might actually enjoy the book.

I very much enjoyed the unusual historical premise, as it was a nice change from re-envisioning this incredibly famous queen or th...more
Emily
Nov 12, 2007 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: those who like fun, neo-classical fluff
In this debut novel, Sophie Gee demonstrates that she has a solid understanding of both London in the early eighteenth-century as well as how to string together an entertaining narrative.

The Scandal of the Season is fun, readable fluff. It goes by quickly, the characters are entertaining and she has enough side references to keep those familiar with the era. While I normally don't like novels that imagine how other books were written (mainly because they assume that the author had no imagination...more
Nicole
A decent book but one that may have taken a few too many liberties with the social conventions of the time to make an interesting story for us. With any book of historical fiction, I am constantly distracted by the question of how accurate the book is to the time and events it portrays. Some ring truer than others; this book falling into the latter group. Sadly, I'm not in a good position to do my own research, though what little information I could find about the actual events that inspired "Th...more
Amy
According to the Author's Note at the beginning of the book, England changed from a Catholic to Protestant country in the 16th century when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and stripped the Catholic Church of its wealth. Catholicism, however, was never quelled; even though the official religion of England was Protestantism, vast numbers of Englishmen remained true to Catholicism. The Catholics resented the Protestants for taking away their wealth and privilege and the Protestants feared a Ca...more
Diana
Oct 02, 2011 Diana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
Shelves: audio
I did enjoy this listen(audio)and the ending was definitely worth it. I didn't realize it was based on true events or even that it was the story behind the story of Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock". So at first it was quite confusing as it seemed the author couldn't decide whether she wanted it to be an almost romance/erotica type of book, or a mystery/suspense about the clandestine Jacobite supporters of the time. She did an excellent job on the erotica part, I give her that. There wasn'...more
Summer
I listened to this on Books on Tape and the reader was superb. I didn't realize it at the time, but found out this book was written off of Alexander Pope's satiric poem The Rape of the Lock. Giving us the back story and inspiration of his poem. It was intelligently done. I enjoyed how the English was not dumbed down, as is often the case with historical fiction.

Arabella and Lord Petre are the most sought after of the London Season in 1711. They soon embark on an affair that will have tragic outc...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Sophie Gee, an English professor at Princeton, brings 18th-century England to life in The Scandal of the Season, part literary biography and part comedy of manners. Alexander Pope makes "a rather unconventional hero, but he's a deeply sympathetic one in this kinder, gentler characterization of a man who regularly skewered and slew his enemies in print," notes The Washington Post. Critics voiced a few complaints about some of the flat characters (including the precious Arabella) and the odd blend

...more
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Sophie Gee was born in Sydney in 1974 and grew up in Paddington. She attended the University of Sydney, where she graduated in 1995 with a first-class honors degree in English. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on Evelyn Waugh, still one of her favorite writers.

After university, Sophie won a scholarship to Harvard, where she did a Ph.D. in English literature. She wrote her doctoral thesis about...more
More about Sophie Gee...
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