Book Project Review: The Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee
London, 1711. As the rich, young offspring of the city’s most fashionable families fill their days with masquerade balls and clandestine court-ships, Arabella Fermor and Robert, Lord Petre, lead the pursuit of pleasure. Beautiful and vain, Arabella is a clever coquette with a large circle of beaus. Lord Petre, seventh Baron of Ingatestone, is a man-about-town with his choice of mistresses. Drawn together by an overpowering attraction, the two begin an illicit affair. Alexander Pope, sickly and nearly penniless, is peripheral by birth, yet his uncommon wit and ambition gain him unlikely entrance into high society. Once there, privy to every nuance and drama, he is a ruthless observer. He longs for the success that will cement his place in society; all he needs is one poem grand enough to make his reputation. As the forbidden passion between Arabella and Lord Petre deepens, an intrigue of a darker nature threatens to overtake them. Fortunes change and reputations — even lives — are imperiled. In the aftermath, Pope discovers the idea for a daring poem that will catapult him to fame and fortune.
I read this back in March right before I spent a month reading books that I needed to catch up on at work. I wish I jotted some notes down when I finished this though cause I am starting to forget what I would have written!
This book was truly a wonderful literary historical fiction experience. I read The Rape of the Lock in my senior year of college, so I was glad the author included the entire poem at the end so I read that first to refresh my memory. I loved the author’s language in it. It was so rich and it really set the mood for the events that were happening. The characters were practically jumping off the page; I never had any picture of Alexander Pope in my mind, but now I do thanks to this book. Although there was one or two sex scenes I could have done without. For some reason, they just felt a bit odd and out of place for some reason, even though it wouldn’t have been odd for the characters to be in those scenes. Does that make any sense?
I did, however, enjoy how Alexander Pope was really the observer in all this cause at first I thought that the author might insert himself somehow into these circumstances. But no, Pope was the every diligent poet who just happened to be privy to these events. This book actually helped me understand the poem just that much more. And I think that for anyone who hasn’t even read the poem, this book is a very rewarding read.
So in order to distract you from my lack of words about this book, look at these different covers! (I really like the black and white one.)
(Large Print, UK, UK, US Hardcover)