'Bridgerton's wild little sister. So much fun!' Sarra Manning, author of London, with Love
by Lex Croucher
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Pub Date 21 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 4 Aug 2022
Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre
22-year-old aspiring writer Edith 'Eddie' Miller and her best friend Rose have always done everything together-climbing trees, throwing grapes at boys, sneaking bottles of wine, practising kissing . . .
Now that they're out in society, Rose is suddenly talking about marriage, and Eddie is horrified.
When Eddie meets charming, renowned poet and rival to Lord Byron, Nash Nicholson, he invites her to his crumbling Gothic estate in the countryside. The entourage of eccentric artists indulging in pure hedonism is exactly what Eddie needs in order to finish her novel and make a name for herself.
But Eddie might discover that trying to keep up with her literary heroes isn't all poems and pleasure . . .
'Ferociously witty and joyously unrepentant, Infamous wraps a rollicking story of regency revelry excess around a heart of queer love and the power of self-authorship' Kat Dunn, author of Dangerous Remedy
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 79 members
"You...have come to rescue me from a fate worse than death"
"What fate is that?"
E-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you NetGalley).
Eddie Miller is a young writer who enjoys spending time with her best friend, Rose Li, and dreaming of being a published author. She wants no part in polite Regency society, and is dismayed when Rose starts to grow up without her. To put off adulthood a little longer (like doing a masters after an undergraduate degree), Eddie, Rose, and a crew of loveable eccentrics abscond to the crumbling gothic Manor owned by romantic poet Nash Nicholson (Eddie's literary hero) for a writing retreat. Drama and hijinks ensue.
I really really enjoyed this book. It starts with Eddie and Rose practicing kissing, which is a brilliant place to start a book. The plot is fast-paced and the reader gets swept up in the excitement of meeting one's hero and going to stay with them. Setting most of the story on an island could have limited the action somewhat, but the author avoids this by drawing on different aspects of the island and utilising the space fully. The characters are lively enough to ensure there is never a dull moment. There were a lot of references to the characters being cold, though, which made me appreciate my Teddy blanket all the more. The ending snuck up on me but the story had a satisfying conclusion, and even the parts that made me want to scream were enjoyable. My suspicions about the plot came true and it was fun to see how those played out.
As well as having a strong plot, INFAMOUS has a cast of diverse and engaging characters. The main character, Eddie, is interesting. She is very set in her ways and believes she knows everything and discovers that she actually doesn't know very much. As I am a similar age to Eddie and Rose, I felt their frustrations about the world and saw my own flaws reflected in some of Eddie's less desirable traits. Rose is Eddie's long-suffering beat friend; she is gentle and kind but isn't afraid to stand up for herself when she has to. Of the other characters, Valentine stood out immediately as one of my favourites, and I also loved Dayo. Juno the dog is a delight and she helped me visualise the scenes; she made everything feel more vivid and alive. Can you tell I'm a dog person?
For better or worse, we see Nash Nicholson through Eddie's eyes. I wondered if he would be similar to Thomas Thorne from Ghosts but the two are complete opposites (and would probably hate eachother). Nash is a vital character; he holds both the keys to the house and the keys to Eddie's future as a writer. Whether Nash is mad, bad, and dangerous to know remains to be seen. (I would have liked to learn a bit more about his relationship with Byron but that's just a personal thing).
The writing in INFAMOUS is strong, insightful, and witty. It manages to feel both Regency and modern, without the dialogue getting too bogged down in flowery Georgian language. The themes also juxtapose modernity with antiquity, and they work so well. There are good explorations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and trauma, although they could maybe have gone a little further.
Lots of quotes stood out to me. I've put one at the start of this reveiw, but my favourite was about London. It made stop and think about how well it sums up my feelings towards this place, and I'll be thinking about it for some time.
This book is perfect for fans of historical fiction, people who like LGBTQ+ fiction, and those who like their drama sprinkled with humour and jokes that always land and make you feel like part of the gang. It was a really fun read and I can't wait to read it again when it's published. Come and scream with me once you've read it!
I was completely absorbed by this book. Croucher has such a fantastic way of writing that really makes her characters feel so alive.
As a writer (or at least hobbyist writer), I really connected with Eddie. I really loved watching her be dragged into a world where she so longed to belong. It was a pleasure to experience her journey!
I absolutely loved Reputation so I had a feeling that I'd love this too, but I wasn't prepared for quite how much I would love it. I know that I will be revisiting this book in the future and I'm already recommending it to friends and family. I'm also hoping to convince the library I work in to buy a copy (fingers crossed).
In Regency England, Eddie Miller is attempting to pen her debut novel. Her best friend Rose is talking of growing up and getting married, while Eddie's attempting to hold onto their days of hiding in a treehouse and practicing kissing together. When she meets her literary hero, Nash Nicholson, at a dinner party, she gets ushered into a world of drunken excess, erratic artists, and crumbling lake houses, much to Rose's chagrin. The lifestyle Eddie thought she desired isn't all it's cracked up to be; she's finally making sense of her book, but the nights are cold, the parties are loud, and her feelings regarding Rose and Nash are only getting more confusing...
While Croucher's sophomore novel is just as witty and heartwarming as their first, the dark elements are even darker (check content warnings!). I genuinely can't wait to force this book upon everybody I've ever met and all of their friends.
*content warning provided by author: drinking, drug use, unhealthy power dynamics, sexual assault, mentions of racism, threat of gun violence, mentions of parental death, mentions of death by drowning.
I loved the characters and the family dynamics in this one, could almost see it as the first in a Bridgerton style series! A really funny and refreshing take on the genre.
Reputation was my favourite book of 2021, so to say the excitement and hype and pressure and fear was high for Infamous, is a bit of an understatement. But I’m so so so happy to say that this is basically everything and more that I could have wanted!!!! Lex has pulled it out of the bloody park (earth?? galaxy??) again with all the awesomeness that I was expecting.
I love Eddie and Rose so much. I mean Eddie was so stupid at certain points that I wanted to scream at her and say duh obviously run to her but it made for a great character arc and I wouldn’t change that obviously. And the setting with the big ass house that’s falling down on a hidden island in a lake and they’re going in winter. The only way to get off is signalling to some dude to take you on his rickety little boat - sounds like the premise for a murder mystery but there’s a dog and partying and throwing things at paintings and getting up to no good and it’s excellent.
I don’t even want to talk about Nash. No. Yuck.
I just loved this, I love Lex’s writing and I feel like I need a reread to immerse myself in it and giggle and cry once again. I adored the epilogue but want about 6 more just so I can stay with Rose and Eddie forever. Or I’ll take an Albert POV because he’s amazing and genuinely one of the best characters and I want to see him happy
I want to scream - excellent, go buy
Lex Croucher has done it again!! Infamous is such a fun regency era novel that blends in a contemporary feel throughout. It's truly brilliant. The characters are fun, the writing is humorous, drama occurs throughout. Lex Croucher is certainly one to be watching out for. Highly recommended!
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