Review: Sixteen Scandals

In this Regency story, newly minted sixteen-year-old Primrose Ainsworth finds herself on a wayward birthday adventure through London with a mysterious hero.

The youngest of four daughters, Primrose Ainsworth is used to getting lost in the shuffle. But when her parents decide to delay her debut into English society, Prim hatches a plan to go rogue on the night of her sixteenth birthday.

Donning a mask, Prim escapes to the infamous Vauxhall Gardens for one wild night. When her cover is nearly blown, a mysterious stranger intercedes, and Prim finds an unexpected partner in mischief . . . and romance. But when it’s revealed her new ally isn’t who he says he is, her one night of fun may last past dawn.

Confession: I was sent an e-arc of this book late last year – I think it was around October or November. However, I just didn’t get round to reading it until now.

I really enjoyed my time reading this novel. It was a fun read and I loved exploring London with Prim on her first wild adventure. Prim as a character was amusing and witty and I loved seeing her navigate the utter chaos that occurs in every event that she goes to.

The books had an insta-love trope and I’m not the fondest of those sorts of books, however I didn’t particularly mind it. In this case, it was more understandable. Prim has been sheltered her entire life, so isn’t too familiar with the world and how it works. She has also been told by her mother that she would have to wait until her older sister gets engaged to be introduced into society and therefore start looking for suitors. So when Prim finds herself having this wild day of freedom on her sixteenth birthday, it is understandable that she is going to fall in love. I think what made this love affair even more scandalous is they were unchaperoned in a time period where chaperones were very important.

Prim’s mother even stresses she is chaperoned when she goes to visit her friend. Which brings me on to Prim’s mother. Prim’s mother was definitely a strong headed woman, however it was clear that she had some favouritism towards her older sisters. We don’t see much of this actually play out, more just her mother voicing her opinions around Prim, which I suppose is evidence enough. Her mother also shows some class prejudice against Prim’s friend Olympia which was distasteful and again fuelled a negative attitude towards the mother. I thought we would see a lot more of Olympia throughout the novel, however she disappears for a huge chunk of it.

The writing style for this novel was quite a nice one. It was one that was quite a matter of fact, which I think is quite common in lighthearted, YA historical fiction. It made it a really easy and quick read for me. I flew through the novel. However, the only issue with this is that it became a little bit forgettable for me. Sure, this could be because I read it so quickly and because I struggle with remembering books; but that still does not change the fact that I cannot remember much about this book despite reading it only yesterday.

I also felt that some of the side characters were a bit cardboard like. Only the main characters felt like filled out characters, which was really just Prim and the love interest. I think this also impacted how much I took away from the story because I had nothing to relate to or hold on to. That is my personal preference as a reader – I like to be able to relate to a character and really feel like I know them and could be friends or enemies with them. And I kind of felt indifferent about all of the characters in this story.

I did still enjoy it though, and I do recommend it if you are looking for a quick, enjoyable read set in the regency period.

Let me know if you have read it, and what you thought of it.

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