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A Sweet Disorder

A Sweet Disorder

3.0 10
by Jacqueline Kolosov

Sixteen-year old Miranda has no idea how much her life is going to change upon hearing the news of her father's death. Left with little dowry to offer, Miranda faces a broken engagement, and is sent to live with her father's cousin, the Count John Hardwood, and his wife whose primary goal is to take her to Court and marry her off to the insufferable Lord Seagrave


Sixteen-year old Miranda has no idea how much her life is going to change upon hearing the news of her father's death. Left with little dowry to offer, Miranda faces a broken engagement, and is sent to live with her father's cousin, the Count John Hardwood, and his wife whose primary goal is to take her to Court and marry her off to the insufferable Lord Seagrave for their own profit.

At Queen Elizabeth's court, Miranda soon learns that a large part of her survival will depend on her knowing who to trust. All the maidens at Court dream of being one of the Queen's ladies in waiting. When Miranda distinguishes herself from the rest with her exquisite sewing and embroidery skills, she gets the attention of the Queen, much to the anger and jealousy of the courtiers, ladies in waiting, and even a trusted "friend."

As Miranda begins to win the Queen's favor, she is given the ultimate test-to recreate Elizabeth's mother's (Ann Boleyn) coronation gown. Miranda knows this is her opportunity to escape the shackles of convention and get out of a marriage to Lord Seagrave and instead establish an independent life at Court as the Queen's seamstress. But how will she reunite with Henry Raleigh, the man to whom she was once promised, and has always loved?

With sophisticated writing, an eye for historically accurate detail, and a flair for suspense, Jacqueline Kolosov re-creates the intrigues of Elizabethan society with a vividness and immediacy that will make teen readers recall the pleasures and tensions of their own lives.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Chris Carlson
At Queen Elizabeth's court, sixteen-year-old Miranda sets out to distinguish herself as a seamstress, hoping to win her independence and thus escape marriage to Lord Seagrave, a wealthy yet decidedly older and unsavory man. Miranda's guardian, the Countess of Turberry, desires this match, viewing it as a way to rid herself of Miranda while gaining financially. As the teen's sewing skills are put to the test by the Queen, Miranda knows she needs help to succeed. With the aid of trusted friends, Miranda creates an exquisite gown for the Queen and wins both her independence and also the affections of the love of her life, Henry Raleigh. Although the story takes place in Elizabethan England, the author provides characters that are believable and act in typical teen fashion, facing dilemmas that are not uncommon to many teens today. There is bullying and jealousy, social conflicts, and girls vying for the attentions of the "popular" boys. Many young adults will be able to identify with Miranda as she deals with her feelings toward her mother and realizes the importance of true friendship and trusting friends. Readers will empathize and then celebrate with her as she faces down obstacles and attains the satisfaction of working towards a realizable goal. With well-chosen words and characters, Kolosov paints a vivid picture of the pageantry, excesses, and social structure of the time, creating a story that should appeal to girls who want stories that are rich with intrigue, historical settings, and romance. Reviewer: Chris Carlson
Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Sewing soothes Miranda Molyneux whose engagement to charming Henry Raleigh is severed after her father's death in 1579. The next year, Miranda prepares for life in the Elizabethan court under the guidance of a relative's wife, but the woman disapproves of Miranda's elegant clothes accentuated with her ornate stitches and designs. In London, despite her mother's warnings about court dynamics, Miranda is vulnerable to the machinations of maidens and their relatives vying for position and status. Miranda encounters the queen's formidable ladies-in-waiting, including Henry's stern sister Charlotte, when she undergoes a sewing trial in an attempt to become a royal seamstress in order to avoid an unwanted marriage to Lord Seagrave, whose misdeeds horrify her. Miranda's life is complicated by her mother's marriage to Lord Grey and her brother Robert's gambling debts. Miranda's first-person narration is supplemented by letters she and her family write each other about the challenges she faces. Themes of romance, greed, jealousy, forgiveness, loyalty, and exile resonate in characters' attitudes, motives, and behaviors as they relate to matrimony among nobility. No author's note is provided to identify historical resources, explain research techniques, or clarify which characters are fictional. Consult John A. Wagner's Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World: Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America (1999) to learn about facts depicted in this novel. Readers might also enjoy Patricia Finney's "Lady Grace Mysteries" series featuring a court maiden's adventures one decade prior to Miranda's arrival. Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Life for Miranda, though not necessarily luxurious, has always been happy. With her father's death abroad, however, she quickly learns that her happiness is of little concern to the adults who control her life. Because there is no money for her dowry, her marriage to Henry Raleigh is called off, and she is sent to live with the parsimonious Countess Turbury far away from her family. The 16-year-old feels a glimmer of hope for something better when the Countess is asked to bring her to Queen Elizabeth I's court. There she befriends several of the other maidens with whom she lives, but petty jealousies and competitiveness over who gets to marry which man threaten her future at court. Miranda, a talented seamstress, desperately hopes that the Queen will not force her to marry the dodgy old man Countess Turbury has chosen for her. Her only hope lies in gaining the monarch's favor, which she hopes to do by faithfully replicating Anne Boleyn's coronation gown so that Queen Elizabeth can wear it during a celebration of her mother's coronation month. This complex novel, similar in theme to Suzanne Crowley's The Stolen One (HarperCollins, 2009), is written with great style and is full of period details. The swift conclusion is its only unsatisfying element.—Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)
1080L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Kolosov is the author of the 2007 YA novel The Red Queen's Daughter. She has also written a volume of poems for adults entitled Vago, as well as books for younger readers, including Grace from China. A professor of creative writing, Jacqueline lives in Texas, where she loves wandering in the canyons and along the playa lakes with her husband, her daughter Sophie, and their beloved Welsh corgi Edward.

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Sweet Disorder 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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iLaugh More than 1 year ago
It's an amazing historical fiction novel, especially if you love the Elizabethian era. 16 year old Miranda is like any other girl her age, but is faced with many life changing events. She is strong, brave, smart, and is very clever. This book is full of emotion and adventure =)
lovegoodlover More than 1 year ago
I was not very fond of this book. I was really disappointed because I loved The Red Queen's Daughter, also written by Jacqueline Kolosov. I had to make myself read this book from the beginning to the end. I also don't think the author made the relationships of the charaters very well. I am very disappointed in this book and would not recommend it to anyone......sorry to sound so depressing:(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Sweet Disorder is about a young girl living in Elizabethan England trying to overcome the dreadful situation her father's untimely death. Although A Sweet Disorder is by no means the worst book I've ever read it certainly doesn't win any points for its unoriginal plot, 2 - dimensional characters and unrealistic "history". The plot - a girl loses her father and must deal with a new guardian who does not understand or respect her talents, her new-found status as a poor girl, and the spurning of a would-be lover. These, not to mention the back-stabbing "friends" and the "true" friends, propel this story in a direction I could see from 30 pages into the story. The characters lack substance and only wish they were in a better situation which they continually whine about. The character of Miranda especially lacks definition neither earning the respect nor the sympathy that is clearly meant to be felt by the reader. Her would-be beau is the picture of Robert Pattinson - high cheek-bones, strong jaw, incredibly desired by every girl around him (in other words, he is Edward Cullen) - with no personality. Finally, Kolosov attempts to bring a world of Elizabethan England to life without the research she should have done about that era. The characters talk as if they exist, not in 1580, but in 2009 and continually make comparisons and references that should not be made. One example is Miranda's reference to "Beowulf" the epic poem written thousands of years ago. A referenced author would know that although "Beowulf" was first created before most other fiction, it was unavailable to the world until long after the death of the Virgin Queen as well as the following generations. The names of the characters themselves should be clues to the inaccuracies presented throughout A Sweet Disorder. Miranda Molyneux, Agnes Sherringham, and Chidiock Kyd are just examples of the ridiculous monikers which Kolosov gave her characters. An author writing about a time in history had best do her research! Don't waste your money or your time with this merely mediocre novel. If you are truly interested in historical fiction, pick up a novel by Phillipa Gregory or the Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman.