Full of sparkling regency scenes and light, witty banter, Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan is perfect for fans of Bridgerton.
Primrose Ainsworth can hardly wait to turn sixteen. The youngest of four daughters, she’s spent all of her evenings sitting at home. Meanwhile, her sisters attend every party in high-society London, trying to meet wealthy husbands. Primrose longs to join them, but on the morning of her birthday, her mother delivers shattering news: she will not be coming out this year. Her older sister must find a husband first, which may take years, as she is uninterested in marriage.
Devastated, Prim turns to her best friend Olympia, who suggests that they sneak out for one wild night. Feeling daring, she agrees. That night after her family leaves, she dons one of Olympia’s low cut gowns and they head to Vauxhall. Disguised by a mask, Prim hopes to avoid detection. But almost immediately, she and Olympia are separated, and she nearly blows her cover. She’s not complaining, though, because she’s just run into Jacob, a handsome, charming lord. He protects her from the dangers of Vauxhall as they both try to find their friends.
After spending so much time sheltered from society, Prim has barely spoken to a man. She makes a few blunders, but Jacob is easy to talk to. In fact, he’s perfect. Incredibly sweet, charming, and swoonworthy. She falls in love immediately, but reminds herself that nothing can ever happen between them. His station is too far above hers. Tonight is the only night they will ever spend together.
…so why not make it memorable, right?
Most of this novel takes place in one night, and follows Prim and Jacob as they wander Vauxhall and have adventures. I found this pacing to be much too fast. As a trope, I don’t enjoy instalove. Even though these two were cute together, I didn’t see them grow as characters or get to know each other beyond surface level. After their night ends, the rest of the plot resolves quite easily in just a few days. It felt like there wasn’t enough conflict to move this story along, and the conflict there was tied up too neatly.
In general, I found the characters to be flat and one-dimensional. Prim’s mother is a cold, cruel villain with no redeeming qualities, while the rest of the family does nothing. Olympia and Jacob are both incredibly endearing, although their characters ultimately do not get much depth. I have mixed feelings about Prim—she sometimes irritated me, but charmed me at other times.
Overall, this was a fun and easy read! It seems intended for the younger side of the YA spectrum. It’s a less steamy version of Bridgerton, full of drama and gorgeous dresses. A quick read, it delivers a sweet romance and some good laughs. Readers new to the genre especially will love it!