A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House) by Kathleen Baldwin

There are several excellent series of books that focus on a school for girls that is a other that it seems. Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls and  Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series are two that come to mind. And now Kathleen Baldwin’s Stranje House series can be added to the list.

This book (A School for Unusual Girls, the first of a promised series) takes place in a time of Napoleon’s exile to Elba. Only it isn’t strictly historical. What-If things were a bit different. How can one person’s action change the entire history as we (think we) know it?

Georgiana Fitzwilliam gets packed away to the Stranje House as punishment for her unlady-like behavior (burning down the barn while trying to create invisible ink, for example) and an interest in science. Stranje House is presented to her parents as a school where torture is the method of behavior modification. Her parents abandon her there, glad to be rid of her.  Georgie is rightfully terrified and wants out. Until she is showed into a laboratory that has been arranged just for her to perfect her invisible ink. And her preconceptions are dislodged. It seems that her special talents (and ink) are a key aid in secretive politics. As are those of the other girls that are at Stranje House. Together they make a formidable team.

A plot to kill King Louis XVIIIof France,  newly returning from exile now that Napoleon is banished to Elbe, must be stopped and Georgie and the other members of the Stranje house seem to be the ones best suited (with their special abilities) to help undertake this task.

My interest was held continually and I only stopped reading last night when I found it difficult to keep awake after a long day of dealing with 2 feet of snow. I finished up as soon as I awoke this morning. Not many books can claim this honor. Looking forward to the next installment, Exile for Dreamers.

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