Book Review: Reputation by Lex Croucher

Posted March 29, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger, Uncategorized / 27 Comments

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by Lex Croucher
Publication Date April 5, 2022
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
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Genres: Fiction / Romance / Historical / Regency, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 320
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl with a dash of Jane Austen, in Reputation, a Regency-era historical romantic comedy with a deliciously feminist twist, from a hilarious new British voice, Lex Croucher.

Abandoned by her parents, bookish and sheltered Georgiana Ellers is spending the summer with her stodgy aunt and uncle at their home in the English countryside. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who delights Georgiana with her disregard for so-called “polite society.”

Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana quickly falls in with Frances and her wealthy, wild, and deeply improper friends, who introduce her to the upper echelons of Regency aristocracy, and a world of drunken debauchery, frivolous spending, and mysterious young men. One, in particular, stands out from the rest: Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in––or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay.

Set against a backdrop of lavish parties, handsome men on horseback––and in a time when one’s reputation was everything––this edgy, hilarious romantic comedy explores sex, consent, belonging, and status through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine that Austen herself would have cheered for.

Reputation by Lex Croucher is an unusual, quirky, and snarky, young adult regency-era romance.  It is Mean Girls, set in Regency England, with both the formal language of the time mixed with some modern language of today.  As I said, it’s very unusual and highly entertaining.  The book also deals with some heavy topics, that young people deal with both in the past and in modern times.  

Georgiana Ellers has moved to the countryside to live with her aunt and uncle after her parents moved to the seaside to help her mother’s health.  Georgiana’s aunt and uncle are very good to her, but they live a boring life, and Georgiana becomes lonely and depressed.  Until she meets vivacious Frances, daughter of Lord and Lady Campbell, and a fast friendship ensues.  Georgiana is introduced to the wealthy friends of Frances and she becomes one of their circle of friends.  

I said before this was a strange book, but it was also fun because it’s so different than what I expected.  The author did an excellent job at highlighting the issues that young people face with peer pressure and the effects of drinking heavily.  This book covers some dark topics as well, heavy drinking, sexual assault, and depression, and doesn’t hold back.  However, the antics of these younger characters will make you laugh, and then cry.  And the issues are handled in a compassionate way.  

I’m not 100% sure what the author was trying to do here.  It’s set in regency times, but the manners and formality of that time are only represented in the older adults.  The younger characters behave and talk in a much more modern way, which I’m not sure is representative of this time period.  But, it would appeal to a younger and more modern audience and I believe this was done on purpose in order to make the characters very relatable.  So, if you’re hoping this book is going to be accurate, based on the time period, this may not be for you.  But, if you can suspend belief and go with it, you’ll find an immersive story with rich characters that are a delight to read.  

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Young Adult books set in historical times. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

UK Cover:

It’s not very different than the UK Cover, which makes me wonder why it’s different at all?

About Lex Croucher

Lex Croucher grew up in Surrey, reading a lot of books and making friends with strangers on the internet, and now lives in London with an elderly cat. REPUTATION (Zaffre/St Martin’s Press, 2021) is Lex’s debut novel, and their debut YA novel GWEN AND ART ARE NOT IN LOVE (Bloomsbury UK/Wednesday Books) is coming in 2023.

What do you think of these covers? Which one do you like best?

27 responses to “Book Review: Reputation by Lex Croucher

  1. Yours is the second review I read that said this is strange book. I enjoy YA historical fiction so might try this. Great review!

  2. Kaceey

    Excellent review Wendy. I’ll be skipping this one though…. YA and historical (time period) books are 2 of my least favorite.💞📚📚

  3. This sounds like a fun read! I love that there’s a dash of Gossip Girl, Jane Austen, and Mean Girls. I’m glad that the story was immersive despite the fact that some aspects of the time period weren’t accurate. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful review!

  4. Jenny+McClinton

    It does seem different, sounds a little confusing though, great review 😊

  5. I listened to the audiobook version of this book and while it had interesting moments, it was a little too YA for this middle-aged woman! Great review Wendy.

  6. This sounds like an interesting take on the era. I agree that the author may have tried to make it more relevant to today’s YA audience with the speech of the younger set. The problem of peer pressure remains through the generations, however.

  7. I’m working my way through this book, as I write this. I think the author is putting modern problems in a past setting – I guess for the outrageousness of it… maybe. I’m going to have to see if I can find any interviews about it. I find the formal language is slowing down my reading speed a bit, but I agree that it’s a very unusual but interesting.