Book Review: The Season by Sarah MacLean 

 March 19, 2023

By  Turn The Page

‘Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued — in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex’s heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year’s season begins!’

Sometimes a girl just wants to sit down with a cheesy period romance. The Season is a predictable read, but a fun one nonetheless and I enjoyed the added element of a murder mystery in this regency romp.

Alex was your typical sassy (and at times – spoilt) heroine, who dislikes ball gowns and all the activities a young lady of that time should enjoy – but who, once you put in said hated ball gown (I think she’s kidding herself here – for a girl who professes to not care about such things – she spends an awful lot of the time thinking and talking about hair and gowns), transforms into the stunning beauty it was always obvious she was – and well, you’ve seen it all before.

I liked Alex, Ella and Vi well enough – it was nice (if unrealistic), to read about not only one, but three, girls with their own talents and desires beyond marriage and society – although Alex’s determination to stay unwed flies out the window fairly quickly (as soon as she sees a certain someone’s broad shoulders in a suit). At times I felt they were rude, naive and silly and more often than not it felt like three 21st century girls had just been plonked into regency london, but it was nice to read about a heroine with a social life and support group outside the main love interest. As out-of-place as they were, I would have liked to have seen more of the three together (MacLean – can I tempt you to write a sequel or two, one each for Ella and Vi perhaps?).

Gavin was just as you’d expect – ridiculously handsome, charming, rich, and the two of them had the beginnings of a teasing, flirtatious banter which, sadly, never quite got there. Rather than being a new mysterious stranger in Alex’s life (with the required reputation of being a rake), Gavin is an old and close friend – a refreshing change in a YA romance. I would argue that more background between the two main characters was needed, to better establish their relationship. Gavin is also supposedly in mourning for his father – though we don’t really see much of that either.

Did it make me roll my eyes? Well yes – more than once. Cliche? Certainly. There was a rather pantomime-like villain whose identity was obvious from the start, characters who were all far too modern and liberal to be believed, I’m still not quite sure how Alex managed to overcome the bad guy holding a gun at the end and the romance was sweet, if a little lacking. For all that, The Season is an enjoyable period romance (personally – it’s far too chaste, though perfect for a YA audience). If you’re a fan of the genre and a younger reader then I would recommend you give it a go.