Reputation audiobook and book review

Reputation by Lex Croucher
336 pages
publishes April 5th, 2022

Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl with a dash of Jane Austen, in this Regency-era historical romantic comedy with a deliciously feminist twist.

narrated by Bessie Carter (Prudence Featherington in Bridgerton)

Abandoned by her parents, middle-class Georgiana Ellers is spending the summer with her stodgy aunt and uncle at their home in the English countryside. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who delights Georgiana with her disregard for so-called “polite society.”

Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana quickly falls in with Frances and her wealthy, wild, and deeply improper friends, who introduce her to the upper echelons of Regency aristocracy, and a world of drunken debauchery, frivolous spending, and mysterious young men. One, in particular, stands out from the rest: Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in––or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay.

Set against a backdrop of lavish parties, handsome men on horseback––and in a time when one’s reputation was everything––this edgy, hilarious romantic comedy explores sex, consent, belonging, and status through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine that Austen herself would have cheered for.

Literally everyone in this book is kind of an asshole, which is, eh. I enjoyed the romance subplot a lot. I don’t watch Bridgerton or engage with a lot of Regency stuff, so I have no opinion on any of that; I thought the audiobook narrator was very good. I read about half of this via audiobook and then finished it via ebook, both of which I got from NetGalley, and I think they’re both good ways to experience the book! The narrator isn’t so incredible that you MUST read it via audiobook (UNLESS maybe you are a really intense Bridgerton fan).

Three stars because I would toss all of the characters into a lake. And not in an interesting or fun way.

Bookshop link. Storygraph link.

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