Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School Series Book 2)
by Gail Carriger
Review by Gayle Surrette
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B00BAXFGPU
Date: 05 November 2013
Curtsiers & Conspiracies is the second book of the Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger. I hadn't read the first book in the series, but I had read The Parasol Protectorate series so was familiar with the universe in which the stories take place. I believe if you've read any of the previous books you could follow along quite well. (Note: I've since started reading the first book in the series and if you start with that one, you'll be filled in on how things work in this world along with the main character.)
Sophronia Temminnick is beginning her second year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. She's settled in at the school now that she's learned that she's being trained as a spy as well as learning how to run a household. She's also learning that dress matters, that there are a lot of things that she thought was just silly fashion, but is, in actuality, deadly serious -- or could be the death of her if she doesn't pay attention.
She's learned to act as a lady should but she's managing to do it on her own terms. She's made friends with the sooties in the boiler room, especially one particular sootie. She's also figured out how to get around the school and eavesdrop on the teachers. Sophronia is beginning to suspect that there's more going on with the proposed trip the students are taking to London than they're being told. She intends to find out what's going on before it's too late.
The story is engaging with characters that are intriguing, witty, frustrating, sly, and secretive all at once. This is not so much a comedy of manners as it is a full out thrilling adventure story that, because of everyone being so darn polite, seems to be moving slowly until you get a feel for the danger that lurks at the edges.