Courtship and Curses by Marissa Doyle
It is Sophie’s first season, one she has been dreaming of her whole life, but sadly, things are not the way she’d imagined them. A terrible flu episode left her right leg twisted, causing her to limp, but far worse, it claimed the lives of her mother and her baby sister. Sophie’s father’s wealth is bound to attract men, but Sophie would much rather be appreciated for who she is, not taken as a pity case. And as gossip has circulated in society that she is everything from feeble-minded to a hunchback (or possibly both), she fears it will be a bit of a trial for her to attend the parties.
Luckily, almost immediately, she finds both a best friend and a handsome young man! Now if only someone would stop using magic to try to harm members of the War Office, she might actually be able to relax and enjoy herself!
The romance in this is very tame, far more on a par with the first of the series than the second. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit dull, so lacks the spark and wit that will draw an adult or older teen audience to a YA book. It will be best enjoyed by younger teens and tweens who will still find fascination in the “love at first sight” plot.
Despite being the third Leland Sisters book, this novel has only the most slight connection to the others (a few mentions of a James Leland – possibly a brother of the girls in the first two books? My memory is weak in this area). This means it could very well stand alone for a reader who was interested in both magic and fairly tame romance. Also, while I was under the impression going into this that it completed a trilogy, at the end I very much felt that Marissa Doyle was not done – she seemed to be setting up at least one other book, following Sophie’s best friend.
Final verdict – depending on tastes, read #1 and #3, but skip the second racier book with a totally different feel and setting.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – A widow has an interest in a girl’s father. A woman smacks a man’s backside with her fan. A woman has a long lost love. People “like” each other. An older woman once planned to run off with the man she loved. Two girls want to play matchmaker. They speculate about several couples, wanting them to rekindle old romances or fall in love and marry. There’s talk of petticoats. A girl examines her scantily clad figure in the mirror, mentioning her full breasts and wonders what a boy would think of her if he were there. A girl fears falling in love. People speculate that a seduction might take place at the opera, due to the furnishings of an opera box. During an opera performance a man suggests that a woman’s stays be loosened because she keeps fainting. There’s talk of kissing someone senseless. There’s talk of “paying addresses” and offering and of course, marriage. A girl’s beau dropped her due to scandal in her family. A man wants to pay his addresses to a girl. A couple embraces. A man kisses a lady’s hair. A couple talks of marriage. A woman is looking for a husband for her niece. A married man flirts with other women. There’s much talk of finding husbands. A girl speculates that a couple would like to kiss. A hand is kissed. A man grasps a lady’s ankle. A man kisses a lady’s ear.
Profanity –”drat”, “damme,” “”hellhound,” “bitch,” “damned”, “dashit,” “parbleu,” “Bon Dieu,” “good God,” “good Lord,”
Death, Violence and Gore – A girl’s mother and younger sister both died. A woman’s husband has died. There’s talk of hanging Napoleon from a lamppost. There’s also talk of war. A man says that Napoleon should have been smothered by a pillow during the night. There are concerns that someone is trying to kill someone else. A girl says she wanted to box someone’s ears. A falling statue nearly injures some people. A man is thrown from his horse. A man nearly falls from a great height. A girl gives someone a bloody nose. A man dies. A woman falls down the stairs. Someone’s drink is poisoned. A woman is suspected of attempted murder. A girl’s parents have passed away. A man’s father died.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – A woman takes snuff (although it simply says she opened a box and sniffed at it without saying what it is). Someone is sent to fetch wine. A girl drinks wine. Girls talk about drinking champagne. People drink champagne. A parrot says “another tot of gin”. Laudanum is given for pain. Wine is ordered for a party.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.