It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
I first heard about the Parasol Protectorate series about five years ago back in college when many people were recommending Soulless in Goodreads groups I was part of. While I never got around to that series (but now totally want to!), when I stumbled upon Etiquette & Espionage I just instinctively knew I wanted to read it.
This book was great fun. The names of the characters are absurd (Bumbersnoot? Dingleproops? Really?) and I frequently found myself chuckling at the language used and the story in general.
I gave this book 3.5 flames because while I greatly enjoyed the absurdity, at times the story dragged and I really wanted to see descriptions of the classes. The book basically said “Yeah they’re becoming great spies!” and didn’t really show any of that happening. The middle of this book was mostly Sophronia sneaking out of her room at night and narrowly avoiding getting caught over and over.
I fully intend on continuing with this series, but it’s not one where I felt the need to immediately run to the bookstore and buy it. (Though I would buy them all for just the covers alone because they are gorgeous!) I’m hoping that we’ll see a bit more action in the second one.
Have you read this series? What did you think?