A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House Series #1)

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House Series #1)

by Kathleen Baldwin

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Overview

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

A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure “completely original and totally engrossing.”

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts….

A School for Unusual Girls is a great next read for fans of Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series and Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765376008
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 05/19/2015
Series: Stranje House Series , #1
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL680L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

KATHLEEN BALDWIN has written several award-winning traditional Regency romances for adults, including Lady Fiasco, winner of Cataromance’s Best Traditional Regency, and Mistaken Kiss, a Holt Medallion Finalist. A School for Unusual Girls is her first book for teens. She lives in Texas with her family.

Read an Excerpt

A School for Unusual Girls

A Stranje House Novel


By Kathleen Baldwin

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen Baldwin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7600-8



CHAPTER 1

BANISHED


~London, April 17, 1814~


"What if Sir Isaac Newton's parents had packed him off to a school to reform his manners?" I smoothed my traveling skirts and risked a glance at my parents. They sat across from me, stone-faced and icy as the millpond in winter. Father did not so much as blink in my direction. But then, he seldom does. I tried again. "And if the rumors are true, not just any school—a prison."

"Do be quiet, Georgiana." With fingers gloved in mourning black, my mother massaged her forehead.

Our coach slowed and rolled to a complete standstill, waylaid by crowds spilling into Bishopsgate Street. All of London celebrated Napoleon's abdication of the French throne and his imprisonment on the isle of Elba. Rich and poor danced in the streets, raising tankards of ale, belting out military songs, roasting bread and cheese over makeshift fires. Each loud toast, every bellowed stanza, even the smell of feasting sickened me and reopened wounds of grief for the brother I'd lost two years ago in this wretched war. Their jubilation made my journey into exile all the more dismal.

Father cursed our snail-like progress through town and drummed impatient fingers against his thigh. We'd been traveling from our estate in Middlesex, north of London, since early morning. Mother closed her eyes as if in slumber, a ploy to evade my petitions. She couldn't possibly be sleeping, not while holding her spine in such an erect fashion. She refused herself the luxury of leaning back against the seat for fear of crumpling the feathers on her bonnet.

Somehow, some way, I had to convince them to turn back. "You do realize this journey is a needless expense. I have no more use for a schoolroom. I'm sixteen, and since I have already been out in society—"

Mother snapped to attention. "Oh, yes, Georgiana, I'm well aware of the fact that you have already been out in society. Indeed, I shall never forget Lady Frampton's card party."

I sighed, knowing exactly what she would say next.

"You cheated."

"I didn't. It was a simple matter of mathematics," I explained for the fortieth time. "I merely kept track of the number of cards played in each suit. How else did you expect me to win?"

"I did not expect you to win," she said in clipped tones. The feathers on her bonnet quivered as she clenched her jaw before continuing. "I expected you to behave like a proper young lady, not a seasoned gambler."

"Counting cards isn't considered cheating," I said quietly.

"It is when you win at every hand." She glared at me and even in the dim light of the carriage I noted a rise in her color. "And now, given your latest debacle—" She stopped. Her gaze flicked sideways to my father, gauging his expression. I would've thought it impossible for him to turn any stonier, but he did. Her voice knotted so tight she practically hissed, "I doubt I shall ever be allowed to show my face in Lady Frampton's company again, or for that matter in polite society anywhere."

Trumped. She'd slapped down the Queen of Ruination card, Georgiana Fitzwilliam, the destroyer. I drew back the curtain and stared out the window. A man with a drunken grin tipped his hat and waved a gin bottle, as if inviting us to join the celebration. He tugged a charwoman into a riotous jig and twirled away.

Lucky fellow.

"Bothersome peasants." My mother huffed and adjusted the cuff of her traveling coat. Peasant was her favorite condemnation. She followed it with a haughty sniff, as if breathing peasant air made her nose itch. A roar of laughter rocked the crowd outside entertained by a man on stilts dressed as General Wellington kicking a straw dummy of Napoleon.

"Confound it." Father grumbled and consulted his pocket watch. "At this pace we won't get there 'til dark. All this ruckus over that pompous little Corsican. Fools. Anyone with any sense knows Bonaparte was done for a month ago."

Without weighing the consequences, I spoke my fears aloud. "One can never be certain with Napoleon, can they? He may have abdicated the throne, but he kept his title."

"Emperor. Bah! Devil take him. Emperor of what? The sticks and stones on Elba." Father bristled and puffed up as if he might explode. "General Wellington should've shot the blighter when he had the chance. Bonaparte is too arrogant by half. The man doesn't know when to give up. Let that be a lesson to you, Georgie." He shook a finger at me as if I were in league with the infamous emperor. "Know when to give up, young lady. If you did, we wouldn't be stuck here in the middle of all this rabble waiting to get across London Bridge."

Never mind that during the last ten years Napoleon Bonaparte had embroiled all of Europe in a terrible war—today I was the villain.

But I forgave my father's burst of temper and heartily wished I'd kept my mouth shut. His anger was understandable. My brother Robert died in a skirmish with Napoleon's troops shortly before the Battle of Salamanca. Reminders of the war surrounded us. Perhaps if we had been the ones burning Napoleon in effigy it would have been liberating. Although it had been more than two years, each redcoat soldier who sauntered past, each raucous guffaw jarred our coach as if we'd been blasted by the same cannonball that killed Robbie.

My father would never admit to a weakness such as grief. I didn't have that luxury. Gravity could not explain the weight that crushed my chest whenever I thought of Robbie's death. He had been the best and kindest of my brothers. We were closest in age. I hardly knew my two oldest brothers; they'd been away at Cambridge and had no interest in making my acquaintance. Robbie, alone, had genuinely liked me. He never looked at me as if I was an ugly mouse that had crawled out from under the rug. I missed how he would scruff my unruly red hair and challenge me to a chess game, or tell me about books he'd read, or places he'd visited.

Napoleon stole him from us.

If we'd been home, Father would've stomped out of the house and gone hunting with his beloved hounds. Some hapless hare would've paid the price of his wrath. Instead, this laborious journey to haul me off to Stranje House kept him pinned up with painful reminders. Unfortunately, Napoleon wasn't present to shoulder his share of the blame. Father furrowed his great hairy eyebrows at me, the troublesome runt in his litter.

If only I'd had the good grace to be born a boy. What use is a daughter? How many times had I heard him ask this? And answer. Useless baggage. Three sons had been sufficient. Even after Robbie's death, Father still had his heir and a spare. I was simply a nuisance, a miscalculation.

The leather seats creaked as I shifted under his condemning frown. He'd never bestowed upon me more than a passing interest. Until now. Now I'd finally done something to merit his attention. Not as I'd hoped, not as I'd wished, but I had finally won his notice. He squinted at me as if I was the cause of all this uproar.

I swallowed hard. "We could turn back and make the journey another day."

My father growled in response and thumped the ceiling with his walking stick alerting our coachman. "Blast it all, man! Get this rig rolling."

"Make way," the coachman shouted at the throng and cracked his whip. Our coach lumbered slowly forward. With each turn of the wheel, my hope of a reprieve sank lower and lower. Before we crossed the bridge, I took one last look at the crowds milling on boardwalks and cobblestones, reveling and jostling one another. One last glimpse of freedom as I sat confined in gloomy silence on my way to be imprisoned at Stranje House and beaten into submission.

With a weary huff my mother exhaled. "For heaven's sake, Georgiana, stop gawking at the rabble and sit up like a proper young lady."

I straightened, prepared to sit this way forever if she would reconsider. She sniffed and pretended to sleep again.

We passed the outskirts of London with the sun high above us, a dull brass coin unable to burn through the thick haze of coal soot and smoke that hung over the city. We traveled south for hours, stopping only once at a posting inn in Tunbridge Wells to change the horses and eat. As evening approached, the sky turned a mournful gray and the faded pink horizon reminded me of dead roses. Except for Father's occasional snoring, we traveled in stiff, suffocating silence. Two hours past nightfall, we turned off the main road onto a bumpy gravel drive and stopped.

Sliding down the window glass, I leaned out to have a closer look and inhaled the sharp salty tang of sea air. The coachman clambered down and opened a creaking iron gate. A rusty placard proclaimed the old manor as STRANJE HOUSE, but I knew better. This wasn't a house. Or a school.

This was to be my cage.

"It must be well after eight. Surely, it's too late to impose upon them tonight. We could stop at an inn and come back tomorrow."

Father hoisted his jaw to an implacable angle. "No. Best to get it over and done with tonight."

"The headmistress is expecting us." Mother straightened her bonnet and sat with even greater dignity.

Our coachman coaxed the team through the entrance and clanged the gate shut behind us. The horses shied at the sound of barking in the distance, not normal barking—howls and yips. Seconds later, dogs raced from the shadows. It might have been two, two dozen, or two hundred. Impossible to tell. They seemed to be everywhere at once, silent except for their ferocious breathing. One of them pounced at the coachman's boot as he scrambled to his perch.

I jerked back from my window as one of the creatures leaped up against the coach door. Black as night, except for yellow eyes and moon-white teeth, the monstrous animal peered in at me as if curious. I couldn't breathe, couldn't move, could do naught but stare back. Our coachman swore, cracked his whip, and the horses sprang forward. The beast's massive paws slipped from my window. With a sharp yip, he fell away from the coach. These were no ordinary dogs.

"Wolves." I slammed the window glass up and secured the latch.

"Nonsense," my mother said, but scooted farther from the door. "Everyone knows there are no more wolves in England. They were all killed off during King Henry's reign."

"Might've missed one or two," my father muttered, peering out his window at our shadowy entourage.

Whatever they were, these black demons would devour us the minute we stepped out of the coach. "Turn back. Please. I don't need this school." I hated the fear creeping into my voice.

Mother laced her fingers primly in her lap and glanced away. I cast my pride to the wind and bleated like a lamb before slaughter. "I'll do exactly as you ask. I promise. Best manners. Everything. I'll even intentionally lose at cards. I give you my word."

They paid me no heed.

Stranje House loomed larger by the second. Our coach bumped along faster than it had all day, the coachman ran the team full out in an effort to outpace the wolves. My heart galloped along with the horses. Faster and faster we rumbled up the drive, until the speed of it made me sick to my stomach.

The sprawling Elizabethan manor crouched on scraggly unkempt grounds. Dead trees stood among the living, stripped of bark by the salt air they stretched white skeletal hands toward the dark sky. The roof formed a black silhouette against the waning moonlight. Sharp peaks jutted up like jagged scales on a dragon's back. Fog and mist blew up from the sea and swirled around the boney beast.

Gripping the seat, I turned to my parents. "You can't mean to leave me in this decrepit old mausoleum? You can't." They refused to meet my frantic gaze. "Father?"

"Hound's tooth, Georgie! Leave off."

My heart banged against my ribs like a trapped bat. No reprieve. No pardon. No mercy.

Where could I turn for help? If Robbie were alive, he wouldn't let them do this. My stuffy older brothers would applaud locking me away. Geoffrey, the oldest, had written to say, "She's an embarrassment to the family. About time she was taught some manners." I doubt Edward remembers I even exist. Thus, I would be banished to this bleak heap of stones, this monstrous cage surrounded by hellhounds.

All too soon, the coach rolled to a stop in front of the dragon's dark gaping mouth. I couldn't breathe. I wanted to scream, to shriek like a cat being thrown into a river to drown.

Only I didn't. I sank back against the seat and gasped for air.

From my window, I watched as an elderly butler with all the warmth of a grave digger emerged from the house and issued a sharp staccato whistle. The wolves immediately took off and ran to the trees at the edge of the old house. But I saw them pacing, watching us hungrily from the shadows.

To my dismay, our coach door opened and a footman lowered the steps. I hung back as long as possible. My parents were almost to the house when, on wobbly legs, I climbed out and followed them inside, past the grizzled butler, and up a wooden staircase. Every step carried me farther from my home, farther from freedom. Each riser seemed taller than the last, harder to climb, and my feet heavier, until at last, the silent butler ushered us into the headmistress's cramped dimly lit study.

We sat before her enormous desk on small uncomfortable chairs, my parents in the forefront, me in the back. Towering bookshelves lined the walls. More books sat in haphazard piles on the floor, stacked like druid burial stones.

Concentrating on anything, except my fate, I focused on the titles of books piled nearest my chair. A translation of Beowulf lay atop a collection of John Donne's sermons, a human anatomy book, and Lord Byron's scandalous vampire tale, The Giaour. A most unsettling assortment. I stopped reading and could scarcely keep from biting my lip to the point of drawing blood.

The headmistress, Miss Emma Stranje, sat behind her desk, mute, assessing me with unsettling hawk eyes. In the flickering light of the oil lamp, I couldn't tell her age. She looked youthful one minute, and ancient the next. She might've been pretty once, if it weren't for her shrewd measuring expression. She'd pulled her wavy brown hair back into a severe chignon knot, but stray wisps escaped their moorings giving her a feral catlike appearance.

I tried not to cower under her predatory gaze. If this woman intended to be my jailer, I needed to stand my ground now or I would never fight my way out from under her thumb.

My mother cleared her throat and started in, "You know why we are here. As we explained in our letters—"

"It was an accident!" I blurted, and immediately regretted it. The words sounded defensive, not strong and reasoned as I had intended.

Mother pinched her lips and sat perfectly straight, primly picking lint off her gloves as if my outburst caused the bothersome flecks to appear. She sighed. I could almost hear her oft repeated complaint, "Why is Georgiana not the meek biddable daughter I deserve?"

Miss Stranje arched one imperious eyebrow, silently demanding the rest of the explanation, waiting, unnerving me with every tick of the clock. My mind turned to mush. How much explanation should I give? If I told her the plain truth she'd know too much about my unacceptable pursuits. If I said too little I'd sound like an arsonist. In the ensuing silence, she tapped one slender finger against the dark walnut of her desk. The sound echoed through the room—a magistrate's gavel, consigning me to life in her prison. "You accidentally set fire to your father's stables?"

My father growled low in his throat and shifted angrily on the delicate Hepplewhite chair.

"Yes," I mumbled, knowing the fire wasn't the whole reason I was here, merely the final straw, a razor-sharp spearlike straw. Unfortunately, there were several dozen pointy spears in my parents' quiver of what's-wrong-with-Georgiana.

If only they understood. If only the world cared about something beyond my ability to pour tea and walk with a mincing step. I decided to tell Miss Stranje at least part of the truth. "It was a scientific experiment gone awry. Had I been successful—"

"Successful?" roared my father. He twisted on the flimsy chair, putting considerable stress on the rear legs as he leaned in my direction, numbering my sins on his fingers. "You nearly roasted my prize hunters alive! Every last horse—scared senseless. Burned the bleedin' stables to the ground. To the ground! Nothing left but a heap of blackened stone. Our house and fields would've gone up next if the tenants and neighbors hadn't come running to help. That ruddy blaze would've taken their homes and crops, too. Successful? You almost reduced half of High Cross Greene to ash."

Every word a lashing, I nodded and kept my face to the floor, knowing he wasn't done.

"As it was, you scorched more than half of Squire Thurgood's apple orchard. I'll be paying dearly for those lost apples over the next three years, I can tell you that. And what about my hounds!" He paused for breath and clamped his teeth together so tight that veins bulged at his temples and his whole head trembled with repressed rage.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin. Copyright © 2015 Kathleen Baldwin. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
ONE Banished,
TWO Secrets,
THREE Lunatics and Thieves,
FOUR Night Creepers,
FIVE Escape,
SIX My Studies,
SEVEN Ashes,
EIGHT Apparitions,
NINE Battles in the Drawing Room,
TEN Seeing Red,
ELEVEN She Knows,
TWELVE Case of the Accidental Spy,
THIRTEEN Caught,
FOURTEEN Experimenting,
FIFTEEN Kiss Farewell,
SIXTEEN Failure and Success, Those Two Imposters,
SEVENTEEN The Cassandra Complexity,
EIGHTEEN Hare and Hounds,
NINETEEN Cuts Like a Knife,
TWENTY You Will Need Me,
TWENTY-ONE Strangers in a Strange Land,
TWENTY-TWO Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men,
TWENTY-THREE Troubling Distractions,
TWENTY-FOUR Fly or Die Trying,
TWENTY-FIVE Saying Good-bye to the Devil,
Afterword,
Acknowledgments,
Excerpt from Exile for Dreamers,
Reading and Activity Guide to A School for Unusual Girls,
About the Author,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews

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A School for Unusual Girls 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
TheBumbleGirl1 More than 1 year ago
A captivating, fast-paced and historically accurate, A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS delivers an original story of what may have happened during one of Europe's most historical moments... It is 1814, during the time of Napoleon's exile... war has wreaked havoc throughout Europe, and everyone has endured some sort of loss.  The Stranje House has a reputation for reforming rebellious and disorderly young ladies into top-notch marriageable young woman by using extreme measures of punishments. However, we soon realize that much of what is presumed about the house and its inhabitants is a ruse and that there is much more to what is happening behind its closed doors.  Georgie is not what her parents desire and demand her to be; according to them she is eccentric, reckless and an embarrassment to them and their family name. What we soon learn from Georgie is that she is an independent young woman that is ahead of her time. She is smart, brave and fearsome; although somewhat quirky and clumsy too (which makes her more favorable and relatable). But nothing, not even her wild unruly red hair, can stop her from always asking questions, studying the world around her and looking for ways to conduct science experiments. She is desperate to develop a solution that could have saved her brother's life, who was killed during the ongoing war. Although the results won't bring back her brother, it would bring her solace to avenge his death with it. The other girls at the house all have their peculiarities as well. Each one has a specific ability almost to a supernatural state, but believable... it is quite a mystery as to how and why these girls have been brought to stay at the Stranje House. They are all quite poised and knowledgable. However, in the end, they are a curious bunch that have managed to live harmoniously and supportive of each other.  And then there is Sebastian as known as Lord Wyatt; he is charming and brilliant... the banter between him and Georgie was amusing. And I very much enjoyed watching their love/hate relationship bloom into more. The story is fast-paced, so their relationship develops just as quickly. But done well and tasteful. And I do hope that we do get to see more of them in the next book... even though we are already spoiled by knowing that the next book will be told from a different point-of-view. I highly recommend this book to those who absolutely love historical fiction, to those who love mysteries with spies running about... and, to those who love contemporary reads that have a classic flair with accurate details and well-developed characters set in an awe inspiring period of time! *A hardcover copy was sent to me from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can not wait to read more about the young ladiesbat Stranje House!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really liked the book. Characters are intriguing and lovable . Fun to read!
LizabellBookNerd More than 1 year ago
I'm in love with the Stranje House already and all of the girls. Georgie is so adorable! I love her intelligence, determination, and whit. Kathleen Baldwin knows how to write characters you adore. And have I mentioned I'm in love with Sebastian. What a great male character; she knows how to write an interesting male character that you want more of. And she even writes fun, comically scenes which is really hard to do (and have them work). Some scenes had me laughing out loud! Fun, adventure, love, and spies, what more could you ask for??? BIG YES! I'm hooked!
LizabellBookNerd More than 1 year ago
I'm in love with the Stranje House already and all of the girls. Georgie is so adorable! I love her intelligence, determination, and whit. Kathleen Baldwin knows how to write characters you adore. And have I mentioned I'm in love with Sebastian. What a great male character; she knows how to write an interesting male character that you want more of. And she even writes fun, comically scenes which is really hard to do (and have them work). Some scenes had me laughing out loud! Fun, adventure, love, and spies, what more could you ask for??? BIG YES! I'm hooked!
TiffanyRoseReads More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book! A smart, fun, spirited Georgie is a lovable character and Sebastian is just dreamy. I enjoyed seeing how all of the twists and turns play out amongst all of the characters. FUN READ!!
TiffanyRoseReads More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book! A smart, fun, spirited Georgie is a lovable character and Sebastian is just dreamy. I enjoyed seeing how all of the twists and turns play out amongst all of the characters. FUN READ!!
ReviewerRachel More than 1 year ago
Aw. I’m usually not a big regency fan (I still can’t get myself to watch an entire episode of Downton Abbey. I just. can’t. do. It.) But I generally enjoy historical fiction. I so so so wanted to give this one five stars, but there were reasons I had to hold back on that. Sigh for being reasonable. I’ll admit, some of the harsher reviews for this book are correct. Our lovely Georgie does have her faults. One is that she finds herself in unfavorable positions frequently. And is often noticed, and sometimes rescued by Sebastian. A few times you could even call her naïve. However, I don’t think this is bad storytelling. One thing that is stressed, is that Georgie is impulsive. I don’t think she’s stupid. I think she’s restless, and even though she knows that her ideas have flaws, and that they’ll probably end badly, she can’t help but try. She’s got an itch that tells her SHE MUST TRY IT. If for no other reason than she can’t think of a better way to do it. Another thing I took into consideration, is that her naiveté is a product of her upbringing. Girls growing up in this era were often sheltered, until they themselves grew curious about the world around them – and found the power/chance to understand it themselves. I feel like that lends to Georgie’s confusion when it came to the school. The biggest reason I docked half a star, was because of the slow start. It did have a very slow start indeed. The inciting incident doesn’t happen for quite a while. BUT I felt like that ending was worth it. In fact, the ending took a bit of an unexpected turn. I don’t know much about my French/English history, but it DID have an alternate story than the one we know. For me, this promises a bright and bold sequel. The novels that ask the question, what if? Are my favorites. Seeing Sebastian and Georgie’s slow burn relationship was also sweet. (Again, another mark of the era.) I’m a complete SAP for wounded heroes. Seriously, It’s like catnip…it’s geeknip… for me anyways. The next installment will be Tess’s story. Although the sneak peek suggests that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Georgie and Sebastian. I can’t wait to read it!
HeIIoJennyReviews More than 1 year ago
As with almost all other Historical Fiction, A School for Unusual Girls is a book where you either love it or you don't. There is no in between. I have recently found a love for Historical Fiction but I have come across a few books that I did not like one bit. Luckily, I loved this book. Georgiana was perfect. She was smart and funny and didn't let things like ballgowns and gossip change her. I loved that she didn't let society define her. She knew the things she enjoyed weren't normal for a young woman but she did them anyway. She didn't let herself believe that she would ever be loved or sought after which was a little sad. Everyone deserves to be loved. Sebastian was a tough case at first. I could tell he felt some attraction towards Georgiana but the way she talked about herself made it seem like she was this hideous ogre that no man could ever find attractive. He teased her and was a complete jackwagon for most of the book but no matter what time period it is you can always tell that is how a guy treats a girl he likes. The other girls in the book were so awesome. The different personalities and things they could do were pretty extraordinary and that is what led to them being put in Stranje House. One of my favorite things about the girls would have to be the rat thing. I know many people have rats as pets but I could never picture them being the way they were in the book. It was actually kind of cute. The School was meant to be this scary torturous place and that was definitely what I was expecting but that IS NOT what I got. Miss Stranje was not what I expected her to be at all. She was described as some sort of mistress of pain. Not that I didn't enjoy what really happened but I would love to read a book where the synopsis played out exactly as it sounded like it would for this book. The entire book takes place during the war in Europe. Georgiana lost someone very dear to her in the war and ever since she has been trying to come up with this special 'weapon' that can be used to make sure no one else dies the same way, or at least that is what she hopes for. She has to perfect this 'weapon' ASAP and hundreds of lives depend on it. I cannot wait for the next book! I need to know what happens. I know this is such a vague review but I do not want to spoil any of it. It is so amazing and you can never really guess whats going on. Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars. To check out this review and others like it please go to hellojennyreviews.blogspot.com.