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259 pages, Kindle Edition
First published May 30, 2011
Though she certainly did not show signs of discomfort. Rather, Peony seemed amused at the efforts of the other girls to patronize and belittle her. How did one come to be that strong within oneself? Was it all in having a role model like Mrs. Churchill? No, that could not be it. Lady St. Ives was just as strong in her own way, leader of society as she was. Why, she had taken tea with Her Majesty herself with no more than a slight paling of the skin, which only served to make her more lovely. No, it must be something else. And there was no way Claire could ask Peony something so personal, especially not here at the supper table with all these people within earshot.
You wouldn’t have an extra bed for tonight, would you?” Peony’s eyes filled with sympathy. “My dear, I wish we did. But A’Laqtiq and his family have filled all the bedrooms, to the point that the children you saw outside are sleeping under the dining-room table. The carpet is quite thick. All I have to offer you is the bath, I’m afraid. With a bit of ticking it would do in a pinch.”
Okay, I'll admit it: I only finished hearing this book because of my reading challenge. The fact that I had already heard half of it by the time I decided I couldn't tolerate the story anymore barely factored in. It was torture to listen to the second half even at 1.5x speed. So much so that this is the first book I finished hearing that I will request a refund for.
The narration wasn't great, but not nearly as bad as the story. It's ridiculous. The main character paints herself as a "lady of wits", but goes about doing one dumb thing after another. She eventually finds herself without a roof and adopts a band of children with the intent of educating them away from stealing. In order to do that, she'll kill (accidently, to be fair) and teach them to make chemical weapons. Because that's much better.
Aside from the ridiculous plot, there are shallow and uninteresting characters everywhere, stupid mock science and no real ending to the story. This read like the first quarter of a longer book which I have no intention of finishing.