I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Alys Murray
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Published: August 19, 2019
This book is perfect for those that like: elite secret societies, stories of forgiveness, and swoony dance scenes.
You might not like this book if you aren’t into: messy heroines who don’t always do the right thing, abusive situations, or the song, Danny Boy.
Samantha Dubarry, an American, grew up in the foster care system, only to discover that she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat. Desperate to prove she belongs, she vows to join an all-male secret society that both her father and brother are members of– the Animos Society. And she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to become a member, including possibly destroying the one good thing that has happened to her– Daniel Best.
Rich man/poor man love stories are one of my favorite tropes– I blame the movie Pretty and Pink. I was obsessed with this movie as a teen and wanted to be Andie more than anything in the world. I LIVED for the prom confrontation between Andie and Blane at his locker. She knew he was avoiding her to save his reputation and that he was going to lie to her, but she faced him anyways. When she punched that locker while yelling, “WHAT ABOUT PROM”? The way Blane looks at her, agonized, wanting to choose her, but just stands there? My teenage heart consumed that painful scene over and over again because it was TOO MUCH and yet, SO GOOD.
Y’ALL. I felt all of those Pretty in Pink feelings again, like it was the very first time, while reading Society Girl. Except in this story, it’s the woman who’s playing all the games.
Samantha Dubarry was kind of the worst. And I LOVED it. It’s so rare to read a female character who is given the freedom to not be perfect. Whose character flaws aren’t just that she’s clumsy. Or that she makes one mistake, by accident of course, and spends the rest of the book defending her True Intentions. Nah. Samantha knew she was being awful, but she made her choice and was going to see it through, no matter the consequences. She treated everyone, herself included, terribly and the more she acted this way, the closer she came to achieving her goal.
Daniel Best on the other hand was literally the BEST. He believes that Samantha’s The One he’s been waiting for all these years, even if he can’t quite figure her out. Daniel’s absolutely certain that if he can just shower Samantha with love, romance, and dancing, it’ll be the key that unlocks her heart. That and writing the perfect love song. He’s nothing but a gentleman with her and is so trusting and full of hope.
Which makes their Pretty in Pink locker scene that much worse. But we know It’s coming. That It has to. That the entire story won’t be worth telling unless It happens so these characters can learn and grow. And yet, even with the giant blinking runway lights guiding you to the Big Moment, it’s still so exquisitely painful.
This is why I love Alys Murray’s writing. She crafts situations that feel real and gives her characters motivations and decisions that make sense. Both Samantha and Daniel are acting in ways that they truly believe are best for them. They are both willing to do almost anything to get what they want, even if we the reader can see that they are making HUGE mistakes. Alys lets them make those mistakes and takes us through to the other side. Samantha and Daniel’s love story is everything you remember young love to be– uncertain but so swoony and lovely. And with a bit of revenge.