I am not sure what it is with grabbing the second book in a series but I seem to have turned it into somewhat of a talent! I have delved into this world before with the Parasol Protectorate series. Gail Carriger has a real talent to create an enthralling steampunk world full of vampires, werewolves and spys. Curtsies & Conspiracies does not disappoint in any way. From the Finishing School series this is “Book the Second”, I actually came across this book from a rather entertaining website: Finishing School (HERE) where you learn “The Fine Art of Finishing Others”. Which of course means I completely did not make the connection between the adult series and this young adult one until the book came in from the library.
We follow Sophronia as she goes about her first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies where all things ladylike including spying and seat planning are taught from a dirigible! A school trip is more than simply visiting London… after all the entire school is afloat! There is conspiracy and intrigue, petticoats and suspiciously mechanical purses topped with fine lace.
What I love about the characters is that all the tiers of society are represented… the gentile ladies, the sooties in the boiler room (Soap), even those connected to the suspicious and unknown Picklemen. There are classes and clandestine meetings, adventure and balls and tea, flirtation with death as well as noble boys. There are characters connected to the adult series and the same basic conflicts of the main group. I love that I did not feel like I was reading a story that was really only for young adults. It was easy to lose yourself in the plot and enjoy the adventure.