Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

Title:  Scones and Sensibility
Author:  Lindsay Eland
Publisher:  Egmont USA
Genre: MG
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN:   1606840258
Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful land, a time where a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.

But alas, she was not.

This, however, does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with a summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together… whether they want to be or not. (cover image from & summary from

Overall rating:  7/10 flowers
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Lindsay Eland's debut novel, Scones and Sensibility, is a sweet and sunny addition to the middle grade section.  Polly is twelve year old girl who has fallen head over heels for the romantic fictional worlds of Pride & Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables.  She is consistently melodramatic as she tries her best to emulate the formal speech and mannerisms of those bygone eras.  Unfortunately she becomes so caught up in her delusions about the charm and superiority of those fictional romances, that she ignores the wishes and pleas of everyone around her & charges forward in her matchmaking pursuits.  

What I Liked:
-     As a huge fan of Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery, I could relate to Polly's love for their  wonderful stories and characters.  Polly shares Anne Shirley's daydream-prone, idealistic nature & Emma Woodhouse's interest in matchmaking.  Her longing for candlelit evenings and formal manners is endearing, and her dress twirling & curtsying are charming.   
-     I liked the idea of a twelve year old who is passionate about what she loves and totally unafraid to be herself, even when her style of dress and behavior are not at all popular or conformist.  She is not shy about expressing herself & it is lovely to find a young character who boldly marches to her own drummer.
-     The relaxed, seaside setting is well-realized and made me long for summertime and the carefree days of childhood. 
-     The humorous way Polly sees the world is entertaining.  It is impossible not to laugh at her perspective on internet dating, unromantic teen boys, and her parents' fairytale romance.

What I Wished:
-     Polly's desire to find Austen-worthy suitors for the people she cares about is initially very sweet, but I wished she wasn't quite so comfortable telling lies and quite so prone to stubbornly ignoring her friends' & family's wishes in pursuit of her goals.  After awhile I was surprised anyone trusted her, and the adults' willingness to be directed around by a 12 year old began to feel contrived and unrealistic.  
-     I wished Polly's melodramatic inner dialogue did not slow the pace of the story.  I liked her passion and her confidence, but sometimes it seemed the book was too focused Polly's personality and not focused enough on moving the plot forward. 

Scones and Sensibility is a light and funny book that will appeal to readers who share the main character's love for classic heroines like Anne Shirley and Elizabeth Bennett.  It is a story about an idealistic young girl learning some important lessons about friendship, romance, and becoming a better listener.  I enjoyed Polly's unique point of view and look forward to reading more from debut author  Lindsay Eland.  If you would like to learn more about Scones and Sensibility or about Lindsay Eland's upcoming projects, please check out her website, blog, and twitter.  


Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

Fantastic review! I saw this one earlier and wasn't sure if I'd be interested or not. I am glad I read your take on it.

Violet said...

Thanks, Debbie! There is a lot to love about Polly's Anne & Austen-obsessed personality. I read about half of this book aloud to P (who has been watching the Anne of Green Gables movies on repeat lately) & yesterday I overheard her setting up a tea party with A and saying "Oh no! I burned the raspberry core-gel!" I laughed and asked her about it (assuming it was Anne-inspired cordial), and she said "No, mom. I accidentally burned the raspberries & sugar just like Polly did in Scones & Sensibility." It cracked me up! :)

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