A couple of years ago, I read Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl. I loved everything about this YA regency story, so when I saw that there was a sequel, I was excited to read it. I borrowed A School for Brides from the library, and just finished reading it yesterday.
This is not a true sequel because the protagonists from Keeping the Castle are relegated to minor roles, but we return to the village of Lesser Hoo in Yorkshire. The premise is that the unmarried stepsister from Keeping the Castle has opened a school for girls. Ostensibly, these young women are to be instructed in deportment and introduced into eligible young men, but there’s one problem: Lesser Hoo is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no eligible young men.
But one day, that changes when a young man stumbles out of a bush- quite literally. While this young gentleman is recuperating in Lesser Hoo, he is soon joined by some of his friends- much to the delight of the young ladies. It seems as though proper society has finally come to Lesser Hoo, but conflict arises in the form of several suspicious characters whose motives are most certainly sinister. Throw in a stolen necklace, a handsome young footman, and the worst sheepdog in the world, and you’ve got a story!
I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience, but I was a little disappointed that A School for Brides didn’t quite capture the charm of Keeping the Castle. It was a little difficult to tell the young women apart. Each had a unique personality, but they tended to blend together; the same can be said for the young gentlemen.
That said, I would still absolutely recommend A School for Brides. I would suggest that readers start with Keeping the Castle to gain a full picture of all that Lesser Hoo has to offer. A School for Brides is a wry and witty novel written for young adult audiences, but older fans of the regency period might enjoy this as well. I am not bothered by mature content, but I am sure that there are many who would appreciate that this novel keeps to regency era standards of propriety.