Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history. The imperial tradition of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage. But before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer of freedom and privacy in a far corner of empire. Posing as a commoner in Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an extraordinary bond and maybe a one-in-a-million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process.
Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a surprising, romantic, and thought-provoking story of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.
- Speculative sci-fi? I’m in. I love time-slip. Although this isn’t pure time-slip, it addresses the same concerns. The history of the world could have gone infinite numbers of ways, and there are thousands of key moments which could have resulted in a catastrophically different world. If that doesn’t grip you, what will? If Johnston has done a good job, the novel will make us think differently about an aspect of modern life.
- Debutante balls and tea parties make great settings to explore tensions and differences – from social inequality to gender relations. To clarify, August is male. That’s two female leads and one male. I’m hoping for some strong female characters in a society I imagine is less tolerant of women than the present Western world. (In this scenario, does suffrage ever occur?)
- In the current political climate, where certain politicians sell empire and British ‘supremacy’ as the halcyon dream, the novel’s concept should be interesting. Does the world look as rosy as some would have us believe?
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by EK Johnston
Dutton Books for Young Readers