Reputation by Lex Croucher

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that girls just want to have fun.’

Mean Girls meets Pride and Prejudice in Lex Croucher’s fresh, sharp, charming debut.

Abandoned by her parents in favour of a sea view, middle class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull dinner party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy socialite and enchanting member of the in-crowd. Through Frances and her friends, Georgiana is introduced to a new world of wild parties, drunken debauchery, and the sparkling upper echelons of Regency society. But high society isn't all it's cracked up to be, and the price of entry might be more than Georgiana is willing to pay.

Croucher breathes fresh life into Regency era romance. More than the rom-com it is marketed as, Reputation is a clever, witty, well written book that draws you in with charming comedy, only to slowly strip back layers of exploration on heavier themes. Croucher handles the more serious topics well, blending them with the lightness, and the result is a book that reflects compassion and cruelty, friendship and betrayal, love and how that love can lead us back to hurtful habits. It examines not only women’s place in society, but the intersection of identity; how Frances’ position is impacted not only by her gender, but her sexuality and race. It even goes further to dare ask how the patriarchal society not only limits and impacts the women, but also the men present in the story, and manages to balance a sense of humour while probing into such topics.

An incredibly ambitious debut that Croucher has pulled off masterfully, this book was a genuine delight to read.

Submitted by Shannen