Review: Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
Lindsay Eland's website here.

Author Interview here.
Publisher: EgmontUSA (December 22, 2009)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful land, a time where a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.
But alas, she was not.
This, however, does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with a summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together…whether they want to be or not


My Thoughts: Scones and Sensibility was a cute read, with 12-year old Polly Madassa stuck in the Jane Austen/Anne of Green Gables period of romance and biting wit. One summer, she gets assigned the job of delivering pastries and that opens up her eyes to the lack of romance in her community. Of course, she does the only thing any romantic would do - matchmaking. But when things don't go according to plan, what will Polly do? The results: raging havoc, split relationships, and a fun and interesting summer.

I'm going to switch it up a bit and start with my 11-year old sister's review of the book:

"I'm not that into Jane Austen books, so... I don't really like the language they spoke in back then. I wish that they would tell us a little more about Polly's sister, Clementine. I want to know a little bit more about Clementine and her boyfriend, Clint's, relationship. I would recommend this book to people who like more classical books because people who don't may think that the plot is a little too slow. I wish that the plot could have moved a little faster, myself. I don't think I would recommend the book to my friends since they don't really like the time period."

Rating: 3 stars

Ouch, harsh. I know it's pretty broad, but I think my sister brought up the basic points that I wanted to mention so I'll just elaborate on them. First and foremost, language. The whole book is from Polly's POV, and she not only talks circa Jane Austen, but she also perceives things that way as well. So if you're going to be annoyed constantly hearing "my bosom friend," I strongly recommend you do NOT read this book. Personally, even though I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, I thought the language was bit over the top; a few, rare areas seemed cheesy and didn't help my connection (or lack of) to Polly. Just to get it out there, if I encountered a girl on the street who spoke like Polly, I'd think "weird" instead of romantic. My favorite moments were the lapses Polly made when she was extremely stressed, sad, or scared, when it felt like Polly was stripping away this image of being a 18th-19th century lady to a real, relatable, teenage girl.

Moving on to Polly. Before I say my opinion on her character, I want to point out that I probably have a biased view because we're so different. Where she's optimistic and idealistic, I'm pragmatic and introverted, and that might be part of the reason I found Polly immature for her age and a little annoying. I tend to keep to myself, but when Polly repeatedly gets called out and scolded for matchmaking, she says "okay, I'll stop," turns around, convinces herself that she's doing the right thing, and makes the same mistake again! What I really wanted to do was scream and be like "can't you see what you're doing?!" The plot is basically that cycle: Polly tries to do matchmaking, makes a mistake, feels bad, tries matchmaking again, rinse-and-repeat. It's part of the story, but I just wished Polly would actually listen for once rather than form others' opinions for them. And she has some shallow perceptions (her gentlemen qualifications) and this innocence that made me think she should be 8 rather than 12. Sorry Polly, but seriously.

Now that I'm done pointing out my major problems with Scones and Sensibility, I think I can move on to a more positive note. I thought Lindsay Eland's idea of having a girl who, yes, probably should have been born in the 18-19th century was cute and original. Original as in the concept of having Polly speak and act according to that time period, and it was interesting seeing how that kind of personality worked in today's world. I have to admit that I'm that kind of girl myself, who wishes she lived circa Jane Austen for my own Mr. Darcy, and though I'm not willing to take that desire and manifest it like Polly does, it was sweet to see her sort of act out a fantasy I used to have for myself. Scones and Sensibility teaches some good lessons about family and listening to others, and I was happy with the Polly's development from a naive young girl to one who can respect others and their views. In the end, all's well that end's well, and Scones and Sensibility left me with a smile on my face. :)

Romance: Other than matchmaking, rare. Of course, there's matchmaking, and then there's Polly own little romance. It doesn't get very far and you barely even get mention of the boy, but it's still there and it was cute to see how Polly's opinion of him changed over the course of the book. Not much here, but it was still sweet and added a bit to the story.
Cover: 4.0
Writing: 3.5
Characters: 3.0
Plot: 3.0

Bottom Line: Technically, Scones and Sensibility was adorable: the concepts, the ideas, the jokes. Even if I didn't like all the aspects of the book, I sill loved Lindsay Eland's direction with this book and will definitely be keeping my eyes out for her books in the future! I'd recommend Scones and Sensibility to fans of Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables and some other fellow romantics out there, because it's fairly true to the time period - if it's in a good or bad way is up for you to decide. So while Scones and Sensibility might not have been that perfect pastry for me, it might be that one delicious, crispy pastry you've been dying to devour.

**Notes: The main reason I gave this book to my sister to try is because she falls in the intended age range. Think of it as an experiment to see how she would react to the language used. My conclusion from her response is that while Scones and Sensibility's characters and plot are suited to 9-12 year olds (age range on Amazon), I'm not sure girls that age will be extremely receptive to the constant use of Jane Austen-esque language. Perhaps more suited to the young at heart.