That Inevitable Victorian Thing

That Inevitable Victorian Thing

Book - 2017
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Penguin Putnam
Speculative fiction from the acclaimed bestselling author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear and Star Wars: Ahsoka.
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history. The imperial tradition of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage. But before she does her duty, she'll have one summer of freedom and privacy in a far corner of empire. Posing as a commoner in Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire's greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an extraordinary bond and maybe a one-in-a-million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process.

Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved not by the cost of blood and theft but by the effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a surprising, romantic, and thought-provoking story of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

★ "This witty and romantic story is a must-read.”—SLJ, starred review

★ "Compelling and unique—there's nothing else like it."—Booklist, starred review.

★ "[A] powerful and resonant story of compassion, love, and finding a way to fulfill obligations while maintaining one’s identity."—PW, starred review

Baker & Taylor
Preparing for her arranged marriage and coronation in an alternate-universe near-future where the British Empire never fell, crown princess Victoria-Margaret, a descendent of Victoria I, embarks on a final summer filled with balls and freedom before forging an unusual bond with a geneticist's daughter and a shipping heir. Simultaneous eBook.

& Taylor

In a near-future Toronto where the British Empire never fell, Helena, August, and Margaret are caught off-guard by the discovery of a love so intense they are willing to change the course of the monarchy to keep it.

Publisher: New York : Dutton Books, c2017
ISBN: 9781101994979
Branch Call Number: YA FIC JOH
Characteristics: 326 p. ;,22 cm.


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samcmar Oct 19, 2017

That Inevitable Victorian Thing is an interesting read. It focuses on the idea that colonialism didn't have it's chance to manifest in North America and Europe, and the idea that groups of people regardless of race or religion can live in harmony. While that concept is somewhat very unrealistic, the idealism behind it is quite wonderful in my opinion. I would love to live in a world where racism doesn't exist, where people respect one another. Again, it's not perfect given racism isn't entirely abolished in the story and class issues still exist, but you get a sense of hopefulness from the cast of characters that they want a better world.

I do want to stress that I think a lot of the Canadian content and Ontario pride in this story may go over the heads of non-Canadian readers, as Canada has some impressive rep in this story. As someone who lives in Ontario, I loved reading the maps and Johnston's discussions of the province within the story, and it was fun to see name droppings for people, places and things that are indicative of Ontario. I recognize this is something not everyone is able to appreciate, but I enjoyed it a lot.

This Inevitable Victorian Thing is wonderfully diverse and I loved how well marginalized people are handled. I think Johnston put a lot of care into the world-building and characters, making the world feel like it could be believable. Margaret, Helena, and August are all characters who, despite their flaws, want to change the world for the better, and I appreciated their hopefulness throughout the narrative.

Personally, I loved That Inevitable Victorian Thing. Yes, it is a slow burn, and perhaps a bit too ideal, but I found myself loving the world and the characters. I loved the larger theme of hope, connection and respect that existed throughout the narrative, and the romance in the story is pretty darn darling all things considered. I think there are aspects that will be difficult for some reads to appreciate, but if you've enjoyed Johnston's works in the past, I don't think you'll be disappointed by this book.

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