Reviews /

A Season for Scandal

Authored by Laura Wood
Published by Scholastic

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Having not read the first in the series, The Agency For Scandal, before I was sent this to review, I was a little concerned that I’d miss something. Well, clearly I had because this was so good I have ordered the first in the series. Centred around stories about the Aviary, A Season for Scandal seems to stand alone from its predecessor and doesn’t appear to need the first book in the series to make sense of it.

Marigold Bloom is a young businesswoman recently jilted by her fiancée for being ‘too much’ – well it’s easy to see that he was too little because Mari Bloom is superb. What a great character to have come across. Wood is on to a winning concept here – mystery, romance and late nineteenth century clothing. Mari’s independent spirit will be a real winner for readers.

When Marigold is propositioned by an unsavoury man, she is put in touch with the Aviary and Mrs Finch. Recruited to this important group of strong women, Mari joins them in rooting out corruption and mistreatment of women. She goes undercover with Oliver Lockhart to help him find his sister, who was lost years before in a terrible accident.

Set between London, Yorkshire and Paris, Wood has created a strong sense of place. Busy London is beautifully contrasted with quiet Yorkshire, where Marigold is able to breathe and reflect on her busy life but also her future. Mari’s first long ride on a train and her trip to Paris show her to be bursting for both adventure and independence. Her lust for life is inspiring and engaging.

Wood has also created a strong sense of time. Well researched and well presented, 1890s London sings. Marigold’s life is one of hope, wishes and dreams of many young women of this interesting time. Touching on women’s rights and the violence of inequalities, Wood locates this brilliant adventure in a realistic, historically appropriate, setting.

Sparks fly in more ways than one in this charming mystery romance for slightly older teens. It is a satisfying and joyful read. Pacy, well drawn and with plenty of tension, A Season for Scandal is a great read. I’m looking forward to many more in this series.