Cover Image: Scales and Sensibility

Scales and Sensibility

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Member Reviews

I feel like this book was written for me.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book!

This is basically Jane Austen with dragons. Both of which I love. I feel like this might be a new sub-genre of books: historical fantasy romance. This has all the things I love about regency romance novels, with the added bonus of dragons.

The story centers around Elinor and the family that has taken her in after her parents' passing. Dragons are now fashion statements in regency England, and Elinor's cousin treats her dragon terribly. Elinor's decision to run away with the dragon is where the adventure begins. Even though I was expecting a Happily Ever After ending, there were some tense moments at the end that had me questioning everything.

I'm very much looking forward to the learning more about dragons and this world in the sequels, that will center around each of Elinor's two sisters. Highly recommend to all my fellow regency fans!
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This is a hilarious regency rom com! Perfect for fans of fantasy and Jane Austen. Elinor tries to hide her secret powers, but other servants and guests guess what it is and attempt to blackmail her for it. This is a fast-paced and enjoyable read!
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This book was so much fun, and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would!

It is exactly what you would expect from the cover and title - a fun and easily read period in romance, but with dragons. It is not a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, but its own story with some nods towards the Austen canon.

The dragons are freaking adorable too, and the main one is called Sir Jessamyn Carnavoran Artos, which is probably the greatest dragon name I have ever come across. I also really liked the heroine. She was clever, resourceful and pretty fun, and I loved seeing her develop throughout the story along with her dragon!

The romance itself was kind of rushed, I felt like, but then again the story only lasts about a week. I did really like them as friends though, which made me cheer for them as a couple anyway!

My favourite part was the plot though. It was so wild from start to finish with intrigues and funny, over dramatic characters. I felt like a fly in the wall eating popcorn while watching everything unfold.

If you like Austen, period Romance and dragons, I don't see why you wouldn't enjoy this book!
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This was a clever, entertaining book. It was quirky, humorous and fast-paced. It held my interest and I didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
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Scales and Sensibility was a quick and delightful read. It's a short, silly story, perfect for readers who are looking for something light-hearted. Our main character finds herself in a rough spot when she runs away from home, kidnapping her cousin's pet dragon. On the resulting adventure she finds herself wrapped up with a handsome young man, his introverted genius dragon-enthusiast, accidental disguises, and several fancy parties. 
I finished this story in a day, and absolutely recommend it to readers looking for something fun to read.
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Okay so I received this form netgalley for an honest review. 

The play on Jane Austen while adding dragons definitely intrigued me. I love romcom books, but adding these slightly absurd fantasy elements was a treat? But silly and I think could be geared towards a very specific audience. I am still not sure if I am a part of that audience. Since it appears it will be a series I’m interested to see who the next book will be about, whether she will add more mythical creatures, and really curious what the Austen pun will be. 

I feel like this is a love or hate book. Someone will greatly enjoy the cheesy comedy with the use of dragons while others will be immediately turned off. 

I loved Elinor’s personality and I could not have continued without feeling connected to her character. 3.5/5 I’m just not sure this was for me. Title and cover intrigued but not necessarily enough to hold me over. It was well-written regardless and I would recommend giving it a chance.
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As someone who doesn't naturally gravitate towards Regency romance I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. However the book contains dragons so what bona-fide book-lover could resist? Elinor is the destitute relative, living on the good graces of her Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. The problem is only her Aunt really wants here there and she is so brow-beaten by her bombastic and overbearing husband that Elinor's life is far from pleasant.

We pretty much join the story as things come to a head and, unable to bear things any longer, Elinor takes her leave. However she is unable to abandon Sir Jessamyn, her cousin's much traumatised and terribly endearing dragon. Covered in muddy water and penniless, Elinor embarks on a series of bold and daring misadventures which had me thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.

I adored Elinor, she was so very relatable and utterly charming. Her relationship with Sir Jessamyn was so heart warming and watching her battle to do the right thing, despite the odds stacked against her, had me rooting for her every success and happiness. Benedict was just as wonderful a hero, magnificently swoon-some and caring to boot. Even the fact that their relationship was far too insta-love for my tastes couldn't persuade me to lower my rating. The story was just to wonderfully written for me to do anything but give this five stars.

Since the subtitle heralds this as the first book of a new series, I'm hoping we get to meet Rose and Harry, Elinor's sisters. I have a suspicion - or perhaps that should be hope - that one of them may just turn out to be the perfect match for Aubrey, though whether it would be the fellow academic Harry, or the romantic Rose I can not decide. What I do know is that regardless of whom features in the upcoming books I will definitely be reading them!
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I received an ARC from the publisher and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

Scales and Sensibility is a sweet fantasy-historical rom-com, paying homage to Jane Austen. Contrary to what the title suggests, it’s not a direct retelling of one story in particular, but is an homage to Austen’s world and style overall, with some recognizable character archetypes and plot devices…but given a little twist. 

This book is a bit absurd at times, due to the inclusion of the dragons, and there are some comedic elements of a very specific type at the beginning of the book that will either be very amusing or will put you off. I personally liked that it had a whimsical feel, but can understand why others might not expect or care for it. 

I admit I wasn’t super invested in the characters or the romance, and often did want something a bit more substantial, even if I did like the fun, rom-com vibe in general. Elinor is a good character in theory, and I liked seeing her bonding with the dragon, Sir Jessamyn (the fact that that’s the dragon’s name may just be the best part!), but other than that, I just felt like a passive observer in things like blackmail plots and magical machinations. And while I didn’t hate the love interest, I wasn’t drawn to him that strongly either. The somewhat wacky and ridiculous nature of the supporting cast did make up for my lack of investment in the leads, however. 

In spite of its shortcomings, I did enjoy it for what it is, and chock up my issues more with the execution of many “Traditional Regency” style stories of late. I am still interested to read more from Stephanie Burgis and may continue with the series. And if you like both Austen/lighthearted Regency romps and fantasy, you might also enjoy it, perhaps a bit more than I did.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Five Fathoms Press for providing me with an eARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Jane Austen meets Diana Wynne Jones in this delightful mashup of Sense and Sensibility and Howl's Moving Castle. 

Elinor Tregarth is the orphaned poor relation sent to live with her aunt and her dramatic and entitled cousin, Penelope Hathergill assisting her with her debut into society with a nervous dragon on her shoulder. Fed up with the abuse at the hand of her cousin she takes the dragon and all of her worldly possessions and strikes out on her own only to cross paths with Benedict Hawkins and his eccentric friend Cornelius Aubrey. In a twist of fate and the magic of the nervous dragon Sir Jessamyn, Elinor finds her way back into Hathergill Hall.

I was expecting something more akin to Sense and Sensibility and while the spirit of Jane Austen was there along with the name of the heroine, it felt a bit more like Howl's Moving Castle in Fantasy Recency England. I do feel that some of the mannerisms and the focus on dragon droppings in the start of the story did read much younger for  me. I started this book thinking it was going to be a bit more adult since it's in the romance category on the website but it did read a bit more young adult in a way like there was a series of unfortunate events.

Still it was pretty entertaining even if it wasn't what I was expecting or looking for. The characters do grab you in a way and take you along on this journey. If you're looking for something a little more enchanting playful with Howl's Moving Castle vibes, this is totally worth a read.
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I received a free eArc of this work in exchange for an honest review; thanks to Net Galley and Five Fathoms Press for the opportunity.

I love a good Regency-ish fantasy story, and it’s always fun to check out the twists on Jane Austin retellings. This one includes a very plucky and resourceful heroine, dragons, a mystery, willful deception, unexpected blackmail, villainous cads, and a quite delightful bit of romance. It’s an excellently fun comfort read and I am very excited to read more in the series.

The overall tone of the book is not sad or serious- there are definitely some dramatic and tense moments, but overall it’s a marvelous adventure and feels true to the tone of Austin’s works. The world-building is well done, it feels familiar in a Bridgerton-ish way, but and fans of Patricia Wrede’s Sorcery and Cecelia series or Charlie Holmberg’s works will absolutely adore this set up. There are a few moments that stretch credulity a bit, but you are led so gently through them that you forgive the author for the necessary movements for the sake of story and plot.

The relationships are well done and character actions and rationalizations are established authentically. The voice of the protagonist is very clearly defined and makes sense for the character. I like Elinor and her cohort of associates and love how the dragons were used and introduced. 

I had a great time reading this one and I’d be delighted to read this one again, as well as any others about the Tregarth sisters and hopefully their dragons (or other mythological beasts).
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I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a lovely twist on a classic. If you like historical romance and fun fantasy stories, this is a great combination. 

If you read the Heartstone series and enjoyed it, this is similar - an updated version of the classic tale with a fair bit of fantasy thrown in.  Though this is based on the classic, the three sisters lose both their parents and each live separately with different family members. Unlike the original, there is no brother and issue of familial assistance; in this case it’s a fraud scheme that took the family money. I look forward to seeing many of these characters again in the next novel, for the next sister’s story!!
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I love a Regency Romance and devoured Georgette Heyer in my teen years.  I was intrigued by the description of this book and I can wholeheartedly recommend if you are looking for a romance to submerge yourself in.   The author captures Heyers regency flair and deftly integrates dragons into the story as a natural element - in this case a status symbol of the haute ton.
Elinor Tregarths parents are tragically killed, leaving her and her sisters penniless and dependant on the kindness of relatives.   Each sister is sent to a different relative and Elinor joins her aunts family at Hathergill Hall, and is very much the poor relation (read unpaid higher level servant).  
After 6 months with her pampered and indulged cousin Penelope, her indifferent Aunt and domineering Uncle, Elinor snaps when her cousin causes her dragon (Sir Jessamy) so much anxiety he is constantly sick.  Her outburst leads to her eviction from the hall and via various means headlong into a ditch,  then into the strong arms of Benedict Hawkins.
Bright, frothy and full of Heyeresque plot twists this was a joy to read and I look forward to further books in this series.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for access to this ARC, all views are my own.
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it was truly delightful, most enjoyable, lovely idea about dragons (view spoiler) and can't wait to meet the other 2 sisters. lovely characters, very interesting story and since it's a burgis' book super enjoyable story telling. (less)
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Thank you to Netgalley and author Stephanie Burgis for an eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

I loved loved loved every page of this book from beginning to end! I'm a fantasy lover at heart but also a huge fan of regency era novels, so when I saw that this book had both.....SOLD!

The story follows Elinor Tregarth, a poor young lady forced to live with her uncaring, spoiled cousin Penelope after the financial ruin and untimely death of her parents. Separated from her two younger sisters, Elinor does her best to be the doting and attentive cousin Penelope demands her to be, but after her continued mistreatment and bearing witness to the unkind treatment Penelope has towards her pet dragon (YES I said dragon! Because this is the era of rediscovered dragonkind where every fashionable lady simply must have one as their latest shoulder riding accessory), Elinor at last reaches a breaking point and flees the only home she has left to set out on her own, her cousin's stolen dragon as her only companion.

But a chance encounter with a marriage seeking gentleman leads her right back to where she started and Elinor must find out how truly resourceful she can be to keep her secrets hidden. With a little luck and a little magic from her fairytale friend she might find that some wishes really do come true.

Full of laughs, love and magic, Scales and Sensibility was a truly delightful read from start to finish and I so look forward to what the rest of the series will bring.

Expected publish date October 4, 2021!
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I love me some Regency/Victorian romance.  I love me some Jane Austen, including Jane Austen fan fiction.  I love me some fantasy/magical fiction.  So when I randomly saw a tweet from Stephanie Burgis asking for advance readers for her upcoming novel, “Scales and Sensibility,” and including an image of the gorgeous cover showing a pert lady in period dress with a small dragon on her shoulder, I had a very good feeling about this book!

And I’m here to tell you, the novel exceeded my expectations.  Lots of humor, very well-drawn characters, a plot that has interesting twists and turns and yet does not rely on characters making illogical choices or not clearing up simple misunderstandings.  The central attraction/romance does arise very swiftly but the author handles it well.  This was a book that I rushed back to whenever I had a minute in my day, and I was sad there was no more when I finished it.

Two minor plot points, both early on, did bother me a bit, enough to briefly jar me out of the book’s spell.  (Small spoilers follow, but both are from very early in the book, and don’t give away as many details  as even the book’s promo blurb does).

The first occurs when the heroine decides to run away, and she packs “all” her clean clothes into a valise.  Now I realize that she doesn’t own much, and I’m no historical clothing expert, but wouldn’t the dresses of the period, not to mention the undergarments, have been both heavy and bulky?  It made me wonder how large this valise would have to be, and whether Elinor would have been able to carry it while walking over a long distance (all the while also carrying a dragon on her shoulder!)

The second little niggly plot point was when a carriage, drawn by four snorting horses, sweeps up behind Elinor and one of the horses’ shoulders hits Elinor, knocking her into the ditch.  My issue with this is I can’t believe Elinor would not have heard a carriage behind her, being pulled at some speed by four big horses.  She should have had plenty of time to get out of the way.  I could have accepted that she slipped into the ditch while actively trying to avoid the carriage, but the passage reads as if Elinor is oblivious to the existence of the carriage until the horse strikes against her.

Other than these little nit-picks, I found the book completely charming and  delightful.  Stephanie Burgis is a new author to me, but I look forward to reading her other works.  And I am beyond happy that she plans more in this series.  I found her treatment of dragon-owning in the context of the society of Regency England both thought-provoking and highly amusing.
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The book started badly for me. The first chapter centred around dragon poo, The 2nd dripped with manure and the 3rd threatened to feature dragon poo again. I know this is light entertainment, but I felt a little insulted to be given the same humour treatment as a 3 years old. I almost closed the book, rather dumbfounded, but seeing the glowing reviews I pushed a little further. I don’t usually read romance so that wasn’t what really interested me - but I love fantasy and I love regency novels which is why I picked up the book despite the cover. The Sense and Sensibility-like title made me curious.
The book does get much better, playing with the mistaken identity/blackmail/escalating stakes kind of plot. Truthfully it reminded me a lot of the Jeeves books my grandmother loves.  And that was fun and did redeem the start for me. This is very light reading, perfect for summer but I do think the first few chapters are a disservice to the novel.
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Elinor Tregarth is a practical young woman. After the deaths of her parents — and the discovery that their modest savings had been lost to con artists — Elinor and her sisters went their separate ways, each going to live with a different set of relatives. Elinor was determined to make the best of her situation … even if that meant being silent and putting up with her temperamental cousin Penelope and her bullying uncle. But when Penelope’s abusive behavior threatens the life of a young dragon, Elinor has enough. With no plan other than to get as far away as quickly as possible, she escapes, dragon in one hand, suitcase in the other. But when she is literally knocked into a ditch by a passing carriage, she makes the acquaintance of Benedict Hawkins, an impoverished land-owner whose own family fortune was lost to the same con artists. One misunderstanding leads to another and, the next thing Elinor knows, she has made a wish … and her dragon has granted it … because dragons really are magic ….

Stephanie Burgis is one of my favorite authors. Her Harwood Spellbook series is great escapist fare; perfect for a rainy afternoon or after a day of relentless bad news. As such, I was excited when I found an advance copy of Scales and Sensibility on netgalley. I snatched it up and read it immediately.

This book is so much fun! It’s a frothy confection of dragons, magic, high fashion, and unrequited love. Plus vexing relatives, thieves, lies, snooping servants, and blackmail. Elinor is a wonderful protagonist. A loyal sister and loving daughter, she misses her family terribly. She shows her true nature to the reader immediately when she comes to the defense of a helpless dragon, thereby incurring the wrath of her cousin and risking her precarious position in a household that doesn’t really want her. She cannot abide cruelty and injustice.

Benedict Hawkins is a good match for her. He actually has a brain in his handsome head, and is determined to fulfill his responsibilities as a land-owner; he has brothers, nieces, and tenant farmers and villagers who all risk eviction and poverty if he can’t raise the funds to save his ancestral estate. While he hopes to marry someone he likes and can make happy, he’s willing to wed someone even as awful as Penelope to fulfill his duty.

Then there’s the dragon, Sir Jessamyn. A beautiful creature the size of a cat, his wings were clipped to turn him into a fashion accessory. Since the discovery of dragons in South America only about a decade earlier, they have become the feature of high society. Everyone assumes they are dumb animals, remnants of a species that once flourished around the world and inspired fairy tales. But they are most definitely not magic, because magic isn’t real …. Except, as Elinor discovers, it is. And it is a gift that dragons share only rarely, and only with humans who treat them with love and affection.

Scales and Sensibility is the first in a brand new series; at least two more books will follow, each centered around one of Elinor’s sisters. I can’t wait to read them.

Highly recommended to fans of Burgis’ other books, as well as fans of the Stariel series by AJ Lancaster, Burning Bright by Melissa McShane, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher, and the Manners and Monsters series by Tilly Wallace.
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Scales and Sensibility was a delight to read!
When I saw that Ms Burgis was publishing a regency romance with dragons, I immediately knew that I needed to read the book. Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, and fantasy books are 90% of my reading material, so it seemed a perfect match.

Elinor Tregarth is a bright and resourceful protagonist that is easy to root for. Even though a series of tragedies have befallen her, she tries to do the best she can in every situation. After she no longer can endure the bullying in Hathergill Hall, she takes her cousin’s dragon Sir Jessamyn (how cute is that name?) and runs away. I loved seeing her transformation into an assertive and confident woman.

Sir Jessamyn was adorable, his behaviour reminded me of a mischievous cat that is always trying to get more food. The idea of making dragons an accessory for wealthy ladies was creative and well thought through. I’m curious how the behaviour towards dragons will develop in the future.
The hero and fortune-hunter Benedict Hawkins was a perfect match for Elinor. Both are caring individuals that put their family in the first place.
The dragon academic Aubrey was my favourite character as I love chaotic, asocial characters who prefer reading over social gatherings. I really hope we get to see him as a romantic lead in future books!

The magic in the book was simple, but it worked in the book’s favour as the focus in on the relationships between characters.

I would have preferred to have more romantic moments with Elinor and Benedict, hopefully they make an appearance in the future books as side characters.

I would recommend this book to people who like:

Fantasy books with romance as one of the main plots
Jane Austen retellings
Otome isekai novels
The dragons as pets trope
My rating: 8/10

I would like to thank Ms Burgis and NetGalley for the free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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4 stars

So. Damn. FUN. Oh my goodness.

Puppy-like, macaw-sized dragons inserted into the world of Jane Austen. What more could you want? A lighthearted romance, the story rests upon the novelty of the dragons (both to readers and to English society) and a comedy of manners surrounding a young woman’s coming-out in society. It’s just as fun as it sounds.

I will say, at times I found our heroine, Elinor, a touch slow on the uptake; that said, I was overall sympathetic to her, and rooting for her success. All the drama did wrap up a bit too neatly and conveniently, straining credulity, but then, this isn’t a story that invites you to take it too seriously. And I know, without a doubt, that I will be picking up the next in the series just as soon as it makes itself available. The other two Tregarth sisters sound utterly delightful, and like very different sorts of heroines from Elinor, so perhaps I shall like their stories even more; I certainly hope they come with even more revelations and new discoveries about dragonkind.
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In this homage to Jane Austen, Elinor Tregarth has been living with her mother's family as the poor relation and is treated as such after losing her parents. Elinor and her sisters have been distributed out to their relatives in different places. Elinor got shackled with a most mentally disconnected aunt, a rather unpleasant uncle and his family. She is at the beck and call of the odious, Penelope, whose fashion accessory happens to be a small, young dragon whom her feckless cousin mistreats. Elinor flees with the dragon after a series of upheavals running into, literally, Benedict Hawkins and his dragon scholar friend, Cornelius Aubrey. Benedict is planning to court the very beautiful Penelope because he needs her considerable wealth.

After Elinor unwittingly makes a wish on the magical dragon, she assumes the guise of Mrs. Delacy; a very well know woman of means who rules the upper crust and commands great respect. Penelope is being introduced to the marriage market and having the lofty trend maker Mrs. Delacy at her country home for a party is a major boost to her societal level. Penelope is due to begin her season in London shortly so this first affair is a sort of introduction to the local society.

The subterfuge goes on for quite a large portion of the book while Elinor tries to keep up the pretense and wrangle her cousin, Penelope’s, obnoxious father who could ruin everything and all the assorted players in the charade. Elinor has some very strong feelings for Benedict; however, she believes he is destined to marry Penelope in order to help protect his family whose fortune had been lost. Benedict eventually begins to suspect that all is not as it seems with Mrs. DeLacy.

This comedy of errors and Masques, which were popular during the period, is an interesting take on an alternative universe 1817 Regency England. As the author states, this story is not a retelling so do not expect the narrative to follow along with Jane Austen’s original book. This rom-com will interest those who enjoy period pieces and fantasy combined. This book is first in the Regency Dragons series; the subsequent ones look to follow Elinor’s other two sisters.
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