Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pg. 99: Sophie Gee's "The Scandal of the Season"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Sophie Gee's The Scandal of the Season.

About the book, from the author's website:
The Scandal of the Season is the story of the real-life seduction of the beautiful, clever Arabella Fermor by the charming, enigmatic nobleman Robert Petre, seventh Baron of Ingatestone. A true story, covered up in its day because it threatened to cause a sensation. It was the tale that gave rise to Alexander Pope’s bestselling poem “The Rape of the Lock,” the era’s most celebrated entertainment.

The novel plays out against the backdrop of eighteenth-century London: teeming street-life; glorious buildings, newly restored after the Great Fire; the River Thames, the artery of England’s trade and commerce; splendid parks and gardens; magnificent townhouses; and Hampton Court itself — Queen Anne’s palace.

The novel is an erotic, witty drama about the City and the Court in early eighteenth-century England — a time of Jacobite plots and Popish fears that threatened to erupt in political violence. A time when marriage was a market and sex was a temptation fraught with dangers. A sexy modern love-story — set in 1711.

Among the praise for The Scandal of the Season:
“A seduction reminiscent of Dangerous Liaisons, with the crackling historical mystery of An Instance of the Fingerpost. The Scandal of the Season captures the breezy poetic romance of Shakespeare in Love, recast to star Alexander Pope."
Ian Caldwell, coauthor of The Rule of Four

“Sophie Gee's dazzling, sophisticated novel is a clever re-imagining of Alexander Pope's famous poem and a wildly entertaining tale in its own right. The romance and adventure of The Scandal of the Season will seduce readers from the first page.”
—Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana

"With passion and flair, The Scandal of the Season animates an intriguing period of literary history, fleshed out in fluid, intricate and seductive writing. Every reader will enjoy the wit and subtlety in the novel's dangerous and delicate balance of eighteenth century customs and transgressions. What a first impression! Sophie Gee's debut novel signals her unique expertise and a great career ahead."
—Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow

"With The Scandal of the Season, Sophie Gee gives us that rarest of pleasures: a tale at once intelligent and frothy, richly edifying and compulsively readable. Combining her eye for details with her flair for narrative suspense, Gee recreates the glamour, intrigue and treachery of Alexander Pope's London: a captivating world that I was sad to leave when I reached the book's final page."
—Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution

“Gee’s lively, highly literate debut explores the historical figures and events
satirized in Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock.” Delightfully gossipy, psychologically insightful and historically fascinating.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Gee's shrewd debut, an erudite period piece filled with outrageous flirtation, social maneuvering and contests of wit … is sprinkled with literary cameos and jokes English lit majors will appreciate, while crackling verbal one-upmanship and crude double entendres should keep the hoi polloi turning pages. Gee's take on the Paris Hilton–like figures who pranced through London 300 years ago manages to be simultaneously tabloid bawdy and academy proper.”
Publishers Weekly

“Drawn with an arch tone and acute observational gifts worthy of the best traditions of social satire, the book is a deeply entertaining and illuminating read.”
Sydney Morning Herald

Read an excerpt from The Scandal of the Season and learn more about the novel at Sophie Gee's website.

Sophie Gee is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Princeton.

The Page 99 Test: The Scandal of the Season.

--Marshal Zeringue