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That Inevitable Victorian Thing
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 never fell and the United States never rose, 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.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"This book, by alternate-history wizard and all-around word genius E. K. Johnston, is both an enchanting modern fairy tale and an un-put-downable, utterly captivating, thoroughly surprising work of speculative fiction. I would be delighted to brush up on my curtsy and join these characters for a tea party or coming-out ball any day of the week."-Robin Talley, New York Times bestselling author; "That Inevitable Victorian Thing is alternate history at its most intricate-woven with Victorian airs and a deeply optimistic vision of the future. I fell in love with E. K. Johnston's world, along with the bright, beautiful characters who call it home." - Ryan Graudin, award-winning author of Wolf By Wolf; "E. K. Johnston's British Empire offers adventure and intrigue balanced with delight and whimsy. Her tale uplifts and entertains, all the while meditating on the legacies of history and a better society that might have been. Joyfully immerse yourself in this gorgeously-wrought world with characters you yearn to have as companions and confidantes, and themes of hope that linger long after you've read the final pages."-New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer; "Compelling and unique-there's nothing else like it."-Booklist, starred review; "Johnston's standalone novel blends light science fiction elements in a near-future setting with the tone and style of a Victorian novel. Chapter headers including maps, society gossip pages, and correspondence serve to expand the detailed world-building and highlight the Empire's deliberate and thoughtful inclusivity (despite realistically damaging colonialism in the Empire's distant past). VERDICT A clever and self-aware novel set in a fascinating world, this witty and romantic story is a must-read."-SLJ, starred review; "[A] powerful and resonant story of compassion, love, and finding a way to fulfill obligations while maintaining one's identity. As with the dragon-infested modern world of Johnston's The Story of Owen, the thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and humor in this alternative Earth are rewarding on multiple levels."-PW, starred review; A thoughtful exploration of class consciousness, genetics, and politics that doesn't lose track of the human story."-Kirkus