Review: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin

Posted May 21, 2015 by Lisa Mandina in / 14 Comments

First, thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan/Tor Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  I must say it had intrigued me from the synopsis, but when I picked it up I had kind of gotten worried it wouldn’t live up to the summary.  However I’m pleased to say that it was a good read, one that was hard to put down to do anything else, even though I did have to go back to work after lunch as well as go to sleep at night.  I was a little worried I might be even somewhat bored with the history, but at the end the author talks about how the history in it is actually a bit of a change from what really happened.  Not that I would have known what was different was changed, as that is not a period in history that I’ve paid a lot of attention to in the past. 

The main character is Miss Georgianna Fitzwilliam.  She has just been shipped away by her parents for setting their barn on fire. And this isn’t the first time that she’s done something so unladylike. The year is 1814 and girls are expected to find a husband.  But Georgianna has never been a normal girl.  In fact she doesn’t care if she finds a man. She is more curious about science things and what she’s read.  Well her parents are embarrassed by her and so they ship her off to this school.  The school that when they take a tour there are girls on a stretching rack, and in a coffin that is filled with nails. And there is blood leaking out of the bottom of the coffin.  Georgianna tries to run when her parents go to sign the papers, and gets lost.  But in getting lost she stumbles upon two men discussing the very thing she was doing that caused her to set the barn on fire.  They are saying how they need her invisible ink, to send messages to save lives.  So now she is really confused.  And when she finds her way back to where Miss Stranje, her parents have left.  And she finds that things may not be as they seem.  She meets the other girls when she is taken to her room.  They are all wondering about her and going through her luggage as they try to figure her out.  All of them have their own “talents” or reasons that they were dropped off at the school. 

She will learn that her invisible ink is needed to try to help keep Napoleon from coming back and taking over again.  And she will have to work with Lord Wyatt to help England.  Of course he is the kind of guy that irks her, while also making her smile.  Working together they will grow to know each other and see what can be done for their country.  We will also learn about the other girls a little, and see the love interest that will probably be the big part of the next book focused on her.  There will be a kidnapping, a race to get the ink formula in the right hands, and a very daring rescue attempt. 

If you’re a fan of books with girls who know what they want to do and are good at, and use their talents to do good, you will enjoy this.  The villains are also interesting, and have definitely real reasons for being the way they are.  I’m excited to read on and see what else these girls will do, as well as what will happen with this alternate history, if they will be able to get things back onto the track as they are today.

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14 responses to “Review: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin

  1. I know very little about this book other than the fact that people seem to love it. Are the girls spies in a sense? My curiosity has definitely been piqued. Glad you enjoyed it Lisa!

    • They are not necessarily spies, although they are learning to be able to help out in cases that they may be used as spies I guess. It is an interesting look at it. If you get a chance you should pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Anonymous

    I knew nothing about this book before seeing it here. I added it to my TBR with a note of your recommendation. I will be sure to let you know when I read it. Thank you for the review.

    • Yeah, it was a bit weird, and you hear a bit more about it in the beginning of the story. But, for the most part, it wasn't really in the story as much as you might have thought at the beginning. You should try it if you get a chance. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Alternate history stuff always intrigues me! For some reason, this book had not been anywhere near my radar, and then I saw another review of it and was curious, and now seeing your review I am even MORE curious! I don't think I have ever read about about 1814 OR Napoleon, this sounds so unique! And I love the line " She has just been shipped away by her parents for setting their barn on fire. And this isn't the first time that she's done something so unladylike." because it makes me chuckle- barn fire setting probably isn't too gentlemanly either 😉 Fabulous review, I definitely want to get this book!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    • I haven't read a lot about that time period either, so it was like a blank canvas for me, and I think that really helped me to enjoy it. Of course as all historical fiction like this usually does for me, I'm now interesting in learning more about that time period. Hope you get around to it soon, and I'll be watching to see if you read it and review it! Thanks for stopping by!

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