Title: Landry Park (Landry Park #1)
Author: Bethany Hagen
Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Acquired Via: Publisher
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal
Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.
Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.
There's not really much better than receiving the occasional, surprise finished copy of a book in the mail from a publisher. The new paperback of Landry Park was so shiny and pretty that I had to, of course, move it to the top of my reading pile. I had been interested in the novel when it first released in hardcover last year, but time did not allow for me to read it. I jumped at the chance this time.
Landry Park is about Madeline Landry becoming aware of the suffering that sustains the lifestyle which she enjoys. Her United States is a few hundred years in the future, and the Eastern Empire has taken the part of the country west of the Rockies. The society is maintained by nuclear energy, which is handled by the Rootless, who fought the Uprisen after the war. The world-building is solid and makes good sense, and I wish there had been a lot more of it. The majority of the novel surrounded the relationships between the characters.
On one hand, there's not really a love triangle, though it seems that way through the first half of Landry Park. Then things seem to escalate a bit to soap opera proportions with a variety of love interests. (OK, maybe there weren't that many, but it seemed so at times.) There were scandals and secret loves left and right, and I would have probably loved it, if it had been my thing. Even though scandalous, jealous romance isn't my cup of tea, I didn't hate anything. Well, I dislike David, but that's just because he wouldn't just be honest. Anywho, leaving that alone because spoilers.
I do want to say that "period"-seeming novels set in another time are a lot of fun to read. Landry Park is no exception to this. Instead of relying on coal or gas like Victorian or Antebellum times, nuclear energy was the king. And it was just as dangerous, if not more so, to come by, and the "slaves" and working class suffered from just as much deadly work environments and social injustices.
The only problem that I had with the novel is that it started to drag a little in the middle. There is a little bit of angst and a lot of Madeline trying to solve the mystery surrounding Cara Westoff's attack. It doesn't really pick back up until Jude enters the picture. I like him a lot for some reason.
If you are a fan of dystopias or period romances, Landry Park is a great crossover novel that bridges the two genres. It was a lot of fun to read, and I can't wait until Jubilee Manor
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About Bethany Hagen
I have a basement full of books and a computer full of writing. I love drinking coffee and doing karate with my husband (usually not at the same time.) I've been a model for a painter, stung by a sting-ray, stuck in a coma, and I used to dress up as a 1904 schoolmarm, but I got paid for it, so it's not weird. Currently the day job is in a library, so every once in a while I throw a temper tantrum about the Dewey Decimal system.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.