Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Debut recommendation & giveaway! LANDRY PARK by Bethany Hagen

Bethany Hagen's debut, LANDRY PARK, is a dystopian pitched as "Downton Abbey meets The Selection," but I would edit that to say that  "Downton Abbey meets FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS" is way more accurate.

The two books share the same quality of being set in a dystopian future but having the feel of a historical — FDSTS is a retelling of Austen's PERSUASION, and Bethany Hagen is a huge Austen/Bronte fan.

So what's LANDRY PARK about?

In future U.S., after a bunch of wars, society is split into the haves (the Gentry) and the have-nots (the Rootless).

The Gentry force the Rootless to handle nuclear charges that supply all the energy to homes and cities. (AKA, long work days, no benefits ... plus the added perks of poverty, cancer, and an early grave — and they'd better act grateful to the Gentry for their lot in life.)

LANDRY PARK's main character is the future Queen of the Haves — Madeline Landry, the descendant of the guy who invented the portable nuclear power and saved what was left of the U.S.

It's Austen-esque in the class awareness, and how the Gentry's job is basically to throw parties at luxurious estates, get married to another member of the Gentry, and further the line of rich people. But Madeline wants to get a college education first, which is a big no-no, considering her priority should be marriage and babies.

The conflict centers on the rumblings of war and rebellion, and how Madeline is slowly discovering that her family isn't as noble as history says, and that maybe she should feel bad about the way the Rootless are treated (literally, they're not classified as human beings).

You'd think Madeline wouldn't be a sympathetic character, but Hagen does an excellent job showing that, despite how Madeline is initially a spoiled, sheltered, entitled product of her environment, she also has the potential for growth and a desire to learn about the world outside the confines of Landry Park.

I really liked that, throughout the novel, Hagen allowed a push-pull of conflicting desires in Madeline — following the family tradition offers her an easy life of luxury that's all she's ever known, and Madeline is not so noble and selfless that she's 100% willing to give all that up without a second thought. To me, that added a layer of authenticity (as much as I wanted to scream, "Open your eyes!"), and it makes her character transformation all the more satisfying.

And, as with any Austen novel, there's romance! David Dana is the Gentry's Golden Boy, but as Madeline gets to know him, she begins to suspect that there's more to him than meets the eye. She soon is pulled deeper and deeper into the plight of the Rootless and the true Landry legacy.

Overall, LANDRY PARK is a well-written debut that kept my interest, and it had a satisfying ending that clearly leads to a sequel. (Why, of COURSE it's a trilogy! But this is one I'm looking forward to!)

Sound good? Go read it!

LANDRY PARK is available now, and we have one ARC to give away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I am embarrassed to admit that I have no idea which Austen character I am most like. I have read some of the books, but it was quite some time ago, as required high school reading, so I am sure I mostly skimmed. Oops!

  2. Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    Elizabeth Bennett! Though I wouldn't fall for Darcy :)

    Thank you:)


Thanks so much for reading our blog, and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment! We read every one, and we try to respond to all of them via email/comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...