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Regency Dragons #1

Scales and Sensibility

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Sensible, practical Elinor Tregarth really did plan to be the model poor relation when she moved into Hathergill Hall. She certainly never meant to kidnap her awful cousin Penelope's pet dragon. She never expected to fall in love with the shameless - but surprisingly sweet - fortune hunter who came to court Penelope. And she never dreamed that she would have to enter into an outrageous magical charade to save her younger sisters' futures.

However, even the most brilliant scholars of 1817 England still haven't ferreted out all the lurking secrets of rediscovered dragonkind...and even the most sensible of heroines can still make a reckless wish or two when she's pushed. Now Elinor will have to find out just how rash and resourceful she can be when she sets aside all common sense. Maybe, just maybe, she'll even be impractical enough to win her own true love and a happily ever after...with the unpredictable and dangerous "help" of the magical creature who has adopted her.

A frothy Regency rom-com full of pet dragons and magical misadventures, Scales and Sensibility is a full-length novel and the first in a new series of standalone romantic comedies.

382 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 4, 2021

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About the author

Stephanie Burgis

69 books971 followers
I grew up in America, but now I live in Wales with my husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, our two sons, and our sweet (and extremely vocal) tabby cat, Pebbles. I write fun MG fantasy adventure novels (most recently The Raven Heir) and wildly romantic adult historical fantasy novels and novellas (most recently Scales and Sensibility).

To get early sneak peeks at new stories and novels, sign up for my newsletter here: stephanieburgis.com/newsletter.

To join my Dragons' Book Club and get early copies of every ebook that I put out myself (so, all of my novellas, short story ebooks, etc!), check out my Patreon page, where I also published a series of fantasy rom-coms (Good Neighbors) across 2020-2021.

I only rate and review the books that I like, which is why all of my ratings are 4 or 5 stars.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 265 reviews
Profile Image for Intisar Khanani.
Author 16 books2,203 followers
October 4, 2021
I loved this story! An absolutely delightful Regency romp complete with lap dragons, hidden identities, fortune hunters--and a swoon worthy romance. The homages to Jane Austen scattered throughout were such fun, but the story is still uniquely its own. At times hilarious, always sweet, this story will hit you in the feels at the most unexpected moments. If you like your tea taken with a dragon on your shoulder, this story is for you!
Profile Image for Olivia Atwater.
Author 10 books1,025 followers
April 9, 2023
Scales and Sensibility had a dragon on the cover, which—as most readers should know by now—absolutely required me to pick it up. I was not in the least bit disappointed! The novel is precisely what its cover promises, full of cute dragons and Regency hijinks.

Scales and Sensibility follows Elinor Tregarth, a poor relation living with her aunt, her uncle, and her very spoiled cousin, Penelope. Elinor has until recently done her best to keep her head down and endure Penelope's regular histrionics, but as the book begins, Penelope finally goes too far by bullying her shoulder dragon, Sir Jessamyn. Elinor snaps and storms away with Sir Jessamyn, intent on removing him from his awful owner, despite the difficult circumstances this immediately creates for her. In a very rom-com turn of events, Elinor is soon side-swiped into a ditch by a nice carriage, just to complete her No Good Very Bad Day, whereupon she meets a potential love interest and loses what little money she has to her name. When Elinor's uncle catches up with her, threatening to pursue her for theft, all seems lost—but then, Elinor says the fateful words "I wish", and Sir Jessamyn soon proves that dragons are good for more than just shoulder-riding.

Overall, Scales and Sensibility was simply an enjoyable romp. It's the sort of book which sets up increasingly unlikely and converging problems largely for the fun of throwing its main character into interesting situations, and I think that style works very well for it. The romance is insta-love, with a bit of extra Regency dignity to it; this is a perfectly valid trope within the genre, but since it's not my personal preference, I'm utterly unqualified to say how well it is or is not executed. What I can say is that Sir Jessamyn really steals the show, as dragons are wont to do; his propensity for nervous chuckling and slimy accidents endeared him to me instantly—and I have to admit, I found myself mostly following the story rooting for the poor dragon's happy ending (which he does, of course, receive!). I was also particularly pleased to see at least one servant given a name and some characterisation, since servants are so often glossed over in Regency novels or else relegated to the "happy to serve" stereotype; that was certainly not the case here, and I appreciated that. Admittedly, I identified best with the adorably grumpy Mr Aubrey, who just wanted to sit in the library and read (and who among us doesn't?); I hope and suspect that the next book in the series will be about him.
Profile Image for Tansy Roberts.
Author 116 books256 followers
September 5, 2021
Howl's Moving Castle meets Mansfield Park in this gloriously fun Regency romantic comedy-of-calamities. This is the book I have craved ever since Terry Pratchett first made a joke about society ladies trying to train swamp-dragons to sit on their shoulders in a decorative manner...

Everyone knows that dragons aren't magic... but they are the must-have fashionable accessory of the Season. When "poor relation" Elinor impulsively kidnaps (rescues!) her horrible cousin's pet, she finds herself beset with disaster after disaster -- including falling in love with a penniless fortune-hunter, literally falling in a ditch, and accidentally cursing her aunt. But from disaster comes strength, as she finally allows herself to speak up about various injustices after a long year of making herself small and silent to survive.

I tore through Scales and Sensibility in a single day, desperate to learn how Elinor was going to escape her various magical catastrophes at the house party from hell, and triumph over all her people-shaped obstacles. From the maids to the fortune hunters, all the characters are just so clever and compelling, it made every second of the book thoroughly enjoyable. I want more!

And if befuddled dragon academic Aubrey doesn't turn out to be a future romantic hero in this series, I will eat my best hat...
Profile Image for Skye Kilaen.
Author 15 books304 followers
August 12, 2022
I had such a good time reading this Regency romance with rom-com vibes that also deals with some big feelings about families and loss. The dragon is lovely and the magic is a perfect mix of liberating and complicating. I had no idea how Stephanie was going to sort out all the chaos that had ensued so that everyone got what they should, and I was so delighted when she pulled it off. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Profile Image for David Firmage.
216 reviews42 followers
January 26, 2023
I am reading all the spfbo 8 finalists, otherwise I wouldn't ever have picked this book up. I am not the target audience. Regency romance with a little bit of magic and dragons. It’s fine, predictable and I rolled my eyes at the romance elements.
Profile Image for Jennifer (bunnyreads).
460 reviews67 followers
January 17, 2023
I read this for SPFBO. To find out more about the SPFBO contest and to see the participating bloggers/authors and reviews follow the links below

This is my first-time reading Stephanie Burgis, even though she has been on my radar for several years. Scales and Sensibility, reminded me a bit of Tessa Dare but with dragons- it’s a sweet, light, feel-good story.

Elinor Tregarth is the sensible one of her sisters. She is the poor relation in a nearly Cinderella-type position in her cousin’s home, relying on their goodwill to keep her off the streets after the death of her parents.
But Elinor has had it up to her eyeballs with the mistreatment of her cousin Penelope’s dragon- Sir Jessamyn, and does a very unsensible thing, and runs off with the poor beast.


What starts as a deceptively simple plot gets more chaotic with each turn, as Elinor, has to juggle her disguise as the renowned and highly sought-after Mrs. De Lacey, with a growing number of complications. Leaving us to wondering, when the dragon poop finally hits the fan, how she could possibly ever come out of this on top, and win the guy in the end.


There is some handwavyness required here, as all the various little plots to come together like the end-reveal in a Miss Marple novel. But the story doesn’t take itself seriously enough to let the little questions along the way matter. You just roll with the fun, and enjoy the journey.

This most definitely has a romance story set-up from the insta-love, to the hints of who will have books next. I liked the fairy tale-feeling touch to the magic, which I personally think always lends well to any romance novel because in my head, not to sound cynical or anything but they all kind of fit in that genre anyway. Or, at least, the HEA ones I prefer, do.

I think with the lightness on the magic and fantasy aspects- which are as much an accessory to the story as the dragons are to the elite- that Scales and Sensibility makes for great primer to see if fantasy is something you’d enjoy. I looked for this sort of thing in romance for years, so it’s nice to see so much more available in this cross-genre than there was years ago.

The fantasy lover in me- wanted a little more about the dragons and magic, but the romance reader in me- appreciated the fun

SPFBO score- 6.5 or rounded to 4 stars

Learn more about the contest here-


Phase one is here-

Finalist board is here
Profile Image for Renaissance Kate.
239 reviews125 followers
Want to read
October 22, 2021
Dragons + Jane Austen! How could I not be interested in this?

Thank you to Five Fathoms Press via Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for P.L. Stuart.
Author 3 books376 followers
February 27, 2023
“It was a truth universally acknowledged that any young lady without a dragon was doomed to social failure.”

I have provided an honest review of this book - "Scales and Sensibility" by author Stephanie Burgis - below for purposes of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) Number 8 competition, in which this book is one of ten finalists. Before We Go Blog (where I am one of the judges) is assigned the book, along with the other 9 judging blogs, to help determine which one of 10 books will emerge as the SPFBO 8 Champion.

So-called 'cozy', more wholesome, lighter-fare fantasy is definitely in vogue right now in 2023. Looking back now, to 2021, when "Scales and Sensibility" was published in 2021, I believe we can say in hindsight that books like this were part of the vanguard for this cozy fantasy movement, and that's a BIG deal. While many Indie authors were writing about dark mages, scarred heroes with lots of baggage, and horrific creatures, some were penning books like "Sense and Sensibility", and gaining a lot of popularity, that would only increase in time.

That said, Regency Romance romance novels which are set during the British Regency of the early 19th century) have long been a very popular sub-genre, and Regency Romance SFF adds another dimension to a beloved subgenre, and creates a fascinating subgenre of its own.

Some of the features that are hallmarks of Regency Romance novels include highlighting the differences in social classes, accentuating what - and more importantly WHO - is respectable, versus who isn't. Especially for women.

As indicated by the excerpt posted above, Burgis adds the SFF twist in her novel, of DRAGONS, which so many fans of the fantasy genre adore, and many other wonderful facets.

In over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek fashion, with a huge nod, of course to "Sense and Sensibility" (the seminal 19th century Regency novel by iconic writer Jane Austen) Burgis tells the story of Elinor Tregarth. The pragmatic Elnior has been marred by the horrible death of her parents. For a young gentlewoman, this means that she is whisked off to live with relatives, shorn from her sisters, who suffer the same fate, hoping to solidify tarnished fortunes (being orphans), and still successfully marry.

Since one is considered downtrodden as an orphan, one can hardly expect good treatment, only hope for it. Those hopes are dashed by the relatives who take Elinor in. They are cruel to her, and her cousin Penelope is cosseted, flighty, tempermental, and, moreover has wrongfully appropriated a cute pet dragon, splendidly named Sir Jessamyn Carnavoran Artos.

The layabout Penelope shirks any duty of care to Sir Jessamyn, much to the kind-hearted Elinor's distress. Tired of the treatment she's receiving under the roof of her relatives, and of Penelope's neglect of Sir Jessamyn, Elinor flees with the dragon.

Though she is far kinder to Sir Jessamyn than her irresponsible cousin, Elinor thinks dragons are little more than - as high society has dictated - fashion accessories and status symbols.

But Elnior has woefully underestimated both the importance, and challenges, of taking care of a dragon. Adventure, deception, danger, and wonder abound, as Elinor finds love, finds new meaning to life, and comes to understand that when you seek to take a magical creature for a pet, one has to remember, they can be more than one might have bargained for.

Every good book for me starts with good characterization. Since this is a Regency Romance-fantasy, one perhaps shouldn't expect extremely complex characters, but that doesn't mean the characters in this book aren't well drawn. They are appropriately Regency Romance stereotypes, but Burgis does a great job with making them entertaining.

The somewhat self-depreciating, eccentric and in some ways bumbling, yet overall practical, loveable, kind, just and spunky main character of Elinor is your typical down-on-your-luck Regency heroine. She's one whom we can be pretty certain will have her fortunes reversed by the end of the book. Standing out amongst Elinor's positive traits is her sense of fairness, and her overall integrity. She is definitely a goody-two-shoes, but that's not an issue in a book like this.

The surrounding players are also caricatures of the Regency period, but very amusing, and also well-drawn. Benedict, the Hathergills, Mr. Aubery, Penelope, all would fit into most Regency Romances without a hitch. Just change the names, and they become part of that tapestry, without much altering their plot arch.

The villains aren't necessarily outright evil, instead they're more petty, conniving, and scornful. The goodies are syrupy good. I'm fine with all that, and rather enjoyed it, because this book doesn't take itself too seriously.

Well-worn Regency tropes, and the idiosyncrasies of the Regency Era - which essentially provides the worldbuilding - including portrayal of the social calendar, marriages of convenience, the sometimes absurdity of Regency-era courtship, mystery and farcical aspects, were all great hallmarks of Regency Romance that showed up in "Scales and Sensibility", and worked really well for me. I do LOVE how Burgis used dragons, and how their magic seems to work, in the novel. Most of us have seen tiny, fashionable dogs carried in purses that so many people find so winsome as pets...for me the dragons in this book were kind of like that, except these are true to what we all envision and have read of dragons, creatures of considerable power. In this case, Jessamyn is deceptively powerful (but still really cute). He's no Drogon, Jabberwock, or Ancalagon the Black, but he shouldn't be underrated.

While I have read many a Regency with more compelling themes added in, this novel delivers on the whimsy, comedy of errors, classic miscommunications, and antics one would hope to see in Regency fare, with a dash of the mystery (of the light-hearted variety) that I really enjoy in my Regencies (though I tend to like the darker, more sinister thriller elements thrown in there). All with the (desired) predictable outcome.

I am a self-professed romance lover, and the romance in "Scales and Sensibility" was charming. It was a fairly quick turnaround, from first sight to first heart flutter, then to first swooning in love, but the pairing of the caring, loyal, and kind Benedict and the sensitive, warm and wonderful Elinor won me over.

I have to praise Burgis' prose as being smooth, clear, crisp, and fluid. The book is VERY well-written, readable, and I breezed through it without a hitch or complaint about the writing style, or any awkwardness at all to the narrative.

Every book must be judged on its own merits, and for me, everything that "Scales and Sensibility" promises, it delivers. It's heartwarming, light, funny, endearing, well-paced, well-written, and full of sweetness and fanciful things, and DRAGONS.

It would be a diverting Regency Romance if it wasn't fantasy, I strongly believe that. Can't help but ask myself, however, would it be an intriguing fantasy novel if it didn't have historical romantic comedy as part of the book? Ultimately, perhaps it's not quite fair to try to make that delineation, but this analysis is all for judging purposes, because this is, after all, the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off finals round.

Yet ultimately, for me, this is a very good fantasy BOOK, irrespective of what type of book it is, and a deserving SPFBO 8 Finalist.

Highly recommended for those who like their Regency Romance very cozy, tried and true, but spiced up to low heat with adorable dragons, mischief, and quick fall in love (non-risque) romance.

P.L.'s individual SPFBO Score: 7.5 out of possible 10.
Overall cumulative score from Before We Go Blog: 7.0 out of possible 10.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,309 reviews209 followers
January 10, 2023
I don’t read a lot of romance or cozy fantasy. I make exceptions, but I wouldn’t have picked this book if I weren’t reading/judging it for SPFBO. Many readers will find it delightful, so I urge anyone looking for something humorous and lighthearted to give it a shot and ignore my rating.

Burgis writes with ease and clarity, and I like that. I found her characters likable and endearing in their naivete. Elinor Tregarth is a practical young woman who needs to clean up the messes left by her spoilt cousin, Penelope. She takes care (euphemism for “kidnapping”) of Sir Jessamyn Carnavaron Artos, Penelope’s pet dragon. She also falls in love with Benedict Hawkins, an easy-going and kind-hearted fortune hunter.

Sounds sweet? Because it is :)

Now, I recognize that romance and regency books need to follow certain storytelling beats to appeal to a broader audience. I'm sure Stephanie Burgis knows and understands her audience. The story is well-written and reasonably well-paced. Sadly, I found the sweetness tiring and magical adventures lackluster, and the resolution predictable.

Fans of romance, regency, and books that make you all comfortable and cozy, should give it a try.
Profile Image for Llinos.
Author 7 books24 followers
December 18, 2021
Where do I even start? This book has got everything. Dragons. Dresses. Balls. Secrets. Mistaken identity. Scandal. Twists and surprises. It is a certified laugh-out-loud romp BUT when it does the big emotions it does them SO well, the romance is swoony and beautiful and the worldbuilding is gorgeous and there's a full cast of wonderful characters, not least poor beleaguered Elinor who I would protect with my life but who comes so far that by the end of the book she wouldn't need me to. 100 stars, recommended if you want to have an awesome time but also get punched in the feelings.
Profile Image for Esmay Rosalyne.
793 reviews
November 8, 2022
Okay, so when a book starts with the sentence: “It was a truth universally acknowledged that any young lady without a dragon was doomed to social failure.”, you know you are going to be in for a fun ride. I have to admit that regency romance isn’t really my jam, but add some pet dragons into the mix and you have my attention. When this title became an SPFBO8 finalist, I decided to just take a leap of faith and go in open-minded… and wow, I am so glad I did, because this story was absolutely delightful.

After Elinor Tregarth’s parents tragically died in a carriage accident, she and her sisters were separated and sent off to live with various relatives. She ended up on the country estate of Lord and Lady Hathergill, where she is treated as a poor relation and lives a miserable existence.
When her spoiled brat of a cousin, Penelope, throws another one of her many temper tantrums, Elinor finally can’t take it anymore and flees the estate together with her cousin’s newly-acquired and poorly treated pet dragon, Sir Jessamyn. Little does she know that dragons are a powerful source of magic though, and she should maybe have been a bit more careful with what she wished for.

This story delivered exactly what it promised. It’s unapologetically over-the-top, and I was all here for it. In the characterization of all these entertaining characters, you can clearly see that the author had a lot of fun playing around with the stereotypes of the Regency era. You’ve got the poorly treated heroine breaking society’s standards, the hysterical antics of the spoiled cousin, the snobbery of the venomous uncle, the meek and compliant aunt (who turns out to have a lot more spunk than you might have expected), some mysterious socialites, and of course the dashingly handsome love interest, who just so happens to be the future-fiancé to the horrible cousin.

Elinor is absolutely the highlight of the story and I loved seeing how she navigated all the various magical catastrophes that she finds herself in the middle of. She’s an incredibly entertaining, quirky, practical and honest character, and I loved her strong sense of justice. Her relationship with the dragon Sir Jessamyn was also super lovely to see, he really is a bit of an anxious mess and I thought that was so endearing.
The only thing that irked me a little about Elinor's character was her negative self-talk, especially at the start of the story, but I guess that was just a result of her living in this particular historical time period.

With this being a historical fantasy romcom, I was actually quite surprised that the romance wasn’t the main focus of the plot. There are some really great fantasy and mystery elements driving the narrative forward, which I personally really enjoyed. Now, I wouldn’t go into this expecting some mind blowing worldbuilding or an intricate mystery plot, but I still have to give props to the author for giving such a fresh and unique spin on this genre!
The romance itself was heartwarming, if a bit insta-lovey, and I loved the dynamic between these characters so much that I was totally rooting for their happy ending!

Overall, Scales and Sensiblity was just an incredibly whimsical and entertaining romp of a story that really brought me a lot of joy. If you are willing to just take off your critical glasses and sit back to have a fun time, then I can’t imagine how you won’t be absolutely delighted by this historical fantasy romcom.
I am certainly going to keep an eye out for more instalments in this series, because I am totally in for more magical mayhem in Regency-era England. Give me all the cosy, wholesome vibes!
Profile Image for Emmalita.
525 reviews34 followers
October 3, 2021
This is a book that was not at all for me, but other people will like much more than I did. I wanted to like it. It’s an homage to Jane Austen, but with magic and dragons. The things I didn’t like are mostly your mileage may vary kinds of things. I find stories in which the protagonist tells an easily discovered lie or is engaged in a three racoons in a trench coat kind of disguise very stressful.

Elinor Tregarth is living with her aunt, uncle and cousin as the poor relation. Her cousin, Penelope, has no redeeming qualities. Penelope has a dragon, to whom she is unkind, and is getting ready for her debut. Elinor runs afoul of her cousin and uncle over the treatment of the dragon and ends up marching away with the dragon and no prospects of hope for the future. She is promptly knocked into a muddy ditch by a carriage containing Benedict Hawkins, and his scholarly friend Mr. Aubrey. Through a series of events, Elinor ends up back at her cousin’s house, with everyone thinking she is a grand society matron. Except for the people who figure out she is not, and then blackmail her.

Everything works out in the end of course. I did enjoy Sir Jessamyn, the dragon. I just wish there had been significantly less deception and blackmail. Elinor has to juggle a lot of blackmail, plus keeping her brutish uncle happy enough that he not torpedo her younger siblings lives. It was stressful!

I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley. My opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kat.
121 reviews3 followers
September 8, 2021
Kat's Book Report - Contains Spoilers - For my own failing memory...

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Stephanie Burgis does it again, authoring another whimsical and comforting historical romantic fantasy. Scales and Sensibility delivers on everything you'd expect from a Fantasy-of-Manners romp through Regency-era England - gentlemen and ladies, country estates and balls, delightfully quirky characters, and a touch of magic. What a soothing and wholesome read!

Elinor Tregarth lives a miserable existence on the country estate of Lord and Lady Hathergill. Destitute after her parent's deaths, her aunt and uncle begrudgingly allow her to live with them if she attends their spoiled daughter Penelope, who is preparing for her debut. This season all the fashionable young ladies have their own pet dragon adorning their shoulders. But Elinor can no longer tolerate Penelope's ill treatment, not just to herself, but also her poor dragon Sir Jessamyn who shivers in fear whenever Penelope enters the room. Elinor runs away with Sir Jessamyn only to be pursued by her uncle for theft. Panicking over her fate, Elinor wishes she could be as strong and fearless as Mrs. De Lacey, a formidable woman in London society who would never hesitate to stand up to bullies like her Uncle and cousin. Little does she know that dragons are not merely accessories, but a powerful source of magic. With one breath of fire, Elinor is veiled in an illusion that fools just about everyone into thinking she is Mrs. De Lacey. She returns to her uncle's estate, along with two gentlemen destined for her cousin's debut - the dashing Benedict Hawkins and the quirky dragon scholar Mr. Aubrey - and the stage is set for a delightful Regency-era romantic comedy complete with society scheming, blackmail, stunning character and plot reveals, and a wholesome HEA.

The plot is driven by Elinor's attempts to hide her illusion while servants and house guests begin to guess her secret and use it against her. Blackmail abounds, striking Elinor from all angles; she is forced into a balancing act of lies and scheming to ensure her secret stays in tact to protect those she loves. Conflict also arises from the strong feelings Elinor develops for Benedict Hawkins. She begrudgingly supports his attempts to woo her awful cousin Penelope for the dowry that will save his family and estate, even as she falls more and more in love with him. While all of this transpires, Elinor is also dealing with the revelation that dragons are magical creatures! Will she ever be able to reverse the effects of Sir Jessamyn's magic?

These elements all weave together to form a truly compelling and satisfying Fantasy-of-Manners plot that will have you quickly paging through the last third of the book! The relationship between Elinor and Benedict is heart-warming and sweet, and although not the focus of the story, is adeptly formed to contribute just the right amount of romance to the plot.

My favorite part of the book was the cast of delightfully plucky characters. Burgis' characterization is magnificent; she creates an ensemble cast where each character is uniquely distinct. From Sir Jessamyn's gross little burps and diarrhea, to Mr. Aubrey's eccentric, scholarly obsession with dragons, to Lady Hathergill's brutally hilarious honesty after Elinor makes her second wish, the cast of characters are the shining star of this book. The antagonists are equally well-written, and you will love to hate Penelope, Lord Hathergill, and the suspicious Mr. and Miss Armitage.

Highest of recommendations for this lovely and satisfying read!
Profile Image for Cassidy Chivers.
211 reviews1,328 followers
December 16, 2022
I was very surprised by how much fun I had reading this. And I think if you too are looking for just a fun time set in regency England you'll enjoy it too.

This book sets out to be exactly what it wants to be. And for that I commend it.

Now we have issues with insta love and if this is classified as a romance our main characters did not interact enough for me. But I enjoyed the plot we had. The fun of the lap dragon. And the extremes of character personalities.

If you want to know more of my in depth thoughts I did read it for my SPFBO 8 finalist reading vlog!
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,428 reviews50 followers
November 14, 2021
Well this was a fun read! Dragons (small), spoilt heiresses, stalwart poor relation, nefarious doings. What mores needed for a quick fanciful and enjoyable read
Profile Image for Essentially Bookish Cat.
77 reviews9 followers
October 6, 2021
“It was a truth universally acknowledged that any young lady without a dragon was doomed to social failure.”

Scales and Sensibility has gripped me right from this very line.
I was first drawn to this book for its title that reminded me of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Although we can find some Austen’s inspiration, this regency novel has an entire personality of its own!
Elinor Tregarth, our main character, has lost her parents and got separated from her sisters, Rose and Harriet. She was sheltered by her aunt’s family at Hathergill Hall. But as a poor relative, she was frequently mistreated by her uncle John and her cousin Penelope, who were used to always getting what they wanted. At the beginning of the story, cousin Penelope is preparing her social début and has got a little dragon, as the most fashionable accessory for young ladies. Spoiled and unconsidered, she frightens her pet constantly and Elinor has to clean up the mess left in their wake, several times a day.
Even with her cheer sense of practicality, Elinor is eventually pushed to her limits and leaves the estate with Sir Jessamyn, the dragon, swearing to protect him. This is when her true adventures begin!

I loved the writing style, the banter and the slow burn (even with some hints of insta love). Elinor’s sense of justice, honesty, practicality and resourcefulness made me root for her happy ending. This was a fun, smart and entertaining reading that made me fall in love with romantic historical fantasy.
This is the first book by Stephanie Burgis that I’ve read and she already became a favorite. I’ll be picking up more and more of her books!
Profile Image for Michelle Louise.
439 reviews16 followers
October 17, 2021
After her parents died penniless, Elinor Tregarth and her sisters are separated and relegated to being poor relations. Now living in her Aunt's house with her horribly spoiled cousin and blowhard uncle, Elinor intends on being a model poor relation until her cousin's cruelty toward her pet dragon, Sir Jessamyn, becomes too intolerable to bear. Taking what coin she has, she absconds with the poor dragon only to be hurled face first into a mud puddle by a passing carriage. The bad luck continues when the inhabitants of said carriage turn out to be the premiere dragon scholar of the age and his friend, a handsome but down-on-his-luck gentleman who has come to this part of Britain to woo her spoiled cousin in hopes of securing her great dowry. Despondent and overwhelmed, Elinor makes a wild wish only for it to be granted which sets off a comedy of errors and manners and which threatens not only Elinor's heart but also the future of her whole family.


This is a new-to-me author but when I saw the cover I just knew I had to give this book a try, and I am glad I did. It's a fun, fantastical sweet romance in the style of Jane Austen. The book is obviously a play on the classic Sense and Sensibility but it doesn't lift the plot or the characters of the novel wholesale, nor is it a pure Alternate Universe (AU) of the novel. But there are definite call outs to the book, so those people who like a good Jane Austen FanFic with fantastical elements will likely enjoy this novel.

The story moves very fast, taking place over less than a week's time. But it covers a lot of things. There's a mystery to be solved as well as several plots to be handled. Elinor keeps blundering into situations where she's stuck between a rock and a hard place and often finds herself the subject of blackmail. I didn't dislike Elinor and she's a fun heroine, but at times she seems to be startlingly naive and trusting.

The hero, Benedict Harper is an absolute good doobie. He's a great romance beta hero who is funny and kind and supportive and also stuck between doing what his heart wants and what is best for his family. I quite liked him. He had depth and he felt like a good foil and counterpart to Elinor.

There's a few things I didn't love. I wasn't a huge fan of how over the top every other character was. They sort of became caricatures not characters... they were that one dimensional. Additionally, I felt that Elinor and Benedict fell in love a little too quickly.... while the author does hang a lampshade on it, it didn't solve the underlying problem. I'm not the biggest fan of instalove. It's a thing.

I did love the dragon lore and how realistic it felt for Regency ladies to turn dragons into fashion accessories... it felt like the designer dog or exotic bird crazes of the past and present. I enjoyed the mystery although with the small cast of characters, it's pretty easy to see how everything is related. The writing was engaging and readable, but it did take me a while to get into the book at first (the beginning is a little slow.)

In all I liked the book and would be interested in reading the next book in the series. But it wasn't a perfect book, so it gets:

Four stars

I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley
Profile Image for Cailey.
97 reviews129 followers
March 17, 2023
I enjoyed this book!

I thought that the plot was pretty fun and the dragon was interesting. I loved seeing the petty drama and shenanigans that the characters got into. I felt like I was a fly on the wall for a lot of scenes and I loved that!

However, I did not care about the romance at all. Because this is primarily a regency romcom, the romance should have been important to me, but I just didn’t feel the chemistry or tension between the live interests. All of my enjoyment came from the drama and dragons.

I also think that there were quite a few side plots that distracted a bit from the main plot, and perhaps I’d the side plots were tightened up a bit, there would have been more room for the romance to develop. OR more room for even more dragon content.

I also wish that the ending was more satisfying. Some characters were so horrifically insufferable, which is how the author intended them to be! But, I wanted them to face more consequences. I was forced to put up with them being annoying for the whole book, I want the satisfaction of them getting punished!!! Lol.

Overall, an enjoyable regency rom com with dragons, that had a couple issues holding it back from being more than 3 stars.

For context, I tend to find historical romances very boring, and I did not think that this book was boring. I would recommend this book to historical romance readers and to cozy fantasy readers!
Profile Image for Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew.
1,100 reviews124 followers
October 11, 2021
3.5 stars
Tautly plotted romp, pleasant MCs. A lot of pleasure from anticipating the coils of the plot closing in on the hapless heroine, and a deftly-handled use of magic (not overloaded with explanations). Star turn is the matron magicked into speaking her mind on all subjects.
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,383 reviews73 followers
August 30, 2021
Elinor Tregarth is a poor relation. Doomed to live with her aunt, uncle, and incredibly spoiled cousin Penelope after her parents lost their money in a scam and died in a carriage accident, she finds herself running away from home with her cousin's abused dragon Sir Jessamyn Carnovoran Artos who has a nasty habit of pooping when he is stressed no matter whose shoulder he is perching on.

She doesn't get far from home when she is run off the road by a coach and rescued by Benedict Hawkins and his dragon-obsessed friend Cornelius Aubrey. Benedict's father got caught up in the same scheme as Elinor's parents and now Benedict needs to find an heiress to marry. Unfortunately the heiress he's chosen is Elinor's cousin Penelope.

Unbeknownst to scholars, some dragons are able to perform magic and Sir Jessamyn is one of them An off hand wish to be someone else - someone important - turns Elinor into the image of Mrs. DeLacy who is a well-known society icon and Elinor's aunt's childhood friend.

So Elinor finds herself back at the home of her uncle after promising to lend Penelope social clout during her upcoming debut. She's also trying to further Benedict's suit though she knows it won't make him happy and even though she is falling for him herself.

This was a fun Regency romp complete with dragons. I loved the characters and the wonderful romance plot. I liked that Elinor's good heart and intelligence finds a way to make everything come out right and provide her and Benedict with a happy ending.
Profile Image for Deborah Ross.
Author 87 books84 followers
August 13, 2022
About 15 years ago, Jane Austen mashups were the hot new thing. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith came out in 2009, followed by a glut of similar parodies and even a film or two. The fad didn’t last, especially as the stories got more derivative and less creative. Stephanie Burgis’s Scales and Sensibility opens with an homage to Austen: “It is a truth universally acknowledged…” Other than an occasional textual reference to Austen’s prose, it has nothing in common with the earlier, vapid parodies. Instead, it takes off in its own whimsical and engaging direction. The protagonist is named Elinor, like the heroine of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and she is indeed sensible, but there the resemblance ends. She is an orphaned cousin, not the eldest daughter, and her counterpart is not her romantic, good-hearted sister but her wealthy, narcissistic cousin, Penelope. When witnessing Penelope’s abuse of her fashionable miniature dragon becomes intolerable, Elinor kidnaps the tiny creature and runs away. Little does she know the dragon’s secret or guess the adventures the two will embark upon.

This novel rests comfortably in the intersection between Young Adult fantasy, Regency romance, and romantic comedy. It’s an engaging, quick read with enough schemes and mistaken identities to satisfy the reader.
Profile Image for A.J. Lancaster.
Author 6 books356 followers
September 6, 2021
Regency romance with pet dragons! The moment I heard about this book, I knew I must read it, and I was right. I inhaled this delightful confection in a single sitting.

Tiny dragons have only recently been discovered and have subsequently become Society’s latest fashion accessory. When Elinor Tregarth runs away with her awful cousin’s abused dragon, she discovers that the stories of dragon magic might be more than just fairy tales.

A light-hearted romantic fantasy of manners with some real laugh-out-loud moments. Good-hearted fortune hunters! Wishes! Cursed aunts! Magic that’s as much hindrance as help. DRAGONS!!!

We get the satisfaction of seeing Elinor come into her own and the awful people get their eventual comeuppance. I particularly adored the hero’s friend, the absent-minded dragon scholar, and hope like heck he’ll appear in future books!
Profile Image for katayoun Masoodi.
600 reviews116 followers
September 22, 2021
lucky enough to be reading an e-arc! always happy with a burgis book, though it's a bit difficult to be dancing and reading at the same time!

update: finished. it was truly delightful, most enjoyable, lovely idea about dragons and can't wait to meet the other 2 sisters. lovely characters, very interesting story and since it's a burgis' book super enjoyable story telling.
Profile Image for Kristen.
578 reviews110 followers
October 6, 2022
So, I do enjoy a good regency romance, and so this book was all the way up my alley. It follows Elinor Tregarth, who is living with her aunt, uncle, and spoiled cousin after the death of her parents. Elinor’s cousin, Penelope is a spoiled girl who is about to have her debut, and having a dragon of one’s own as a pet is the most fashionable thing, only Penelope doesn’t treat her dragon Sir Jessamyn very well. Or Elinor, for that matter. So, it’s entirely an accident when Elinor storms out of the house with Sir Jessamyn in tow. Shenanigans ensue after that.

I read this book in one sitting. I enjoyed it so much. Elinor is a fantastic character, who I cheered for from the very beginning. It may partially be that Penelope is written to just be the most irritating brat, but I wanted absolutely everything good for Elinor just for having to live with the girl. The romance was cute, the dragon-magic plotline was cute. All together I thought this was cute. So, I give Scales and Sensibility an 8.5/10 stars
Profile Image for Stephanie.
707 reviews78 followers
September 28, 2021
Extremely fun and what it says on the tin: Jane Austen + dragons.

This book comes out next week so get hype!
Profile Image for S.M..
Author 5 books17 followers
July 14, 2022
3.5 stars. Sweet, not stressful, and a gentle read. The mystery isn't much of one, but it's made up for by the near-comical amounts of blackmail.
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