Sunday, March 23, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: LANDRY PARK (Landry Park, #1) by Bethany Hagen

Title: Landry Park
Series: Landry Park, #1
Author: Bethany Hagen
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Genres: YA, Dystopia, Sci-fi
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 4/5


In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.


Refreshingly unique, Landry Park combines the historical and the futuristic into a beguiling tale of romance, changing values, and rebellion. All Madeline ever wanted was to go to university rather than getting married and running the Landry estate. David Dana, bringing with him a realization of the oppression of the rootless, is about to change Madeline's life as well as her future ambitions. Enter Jude MacAvery to complicate matters even more and bring about a carefully crafted love triangle.

The author skillfully places a typical Victorian romance in a dystopian futuristic setting. Think ball gowns, lady's maids and debutants in a world that is mainly run by nuclear power; a world which is divided into classes with the lowest class, the rootless, getting a very raw and dangerous deal. 

The characters in Landry Park are well crafted and complex enough to make the book really interesting. Madeline, the main character, has a balanced variety of weaknesses and strengths to make her a truly realistic female lead. She struggles with her values and ambitions and must make choices despite her prejudiced gentry upbringing.

David Dana, on the other hand, is a total enigma. Right up to the end I couldn't really decide whether he was a hero, a rebel, or simply a weakling. As for handsome, gallant Captain Jude MacAvery completely astonished me in the end.

Starting with an attack on Cara, one of the gentry’s girls, Landry Park is full of scenes of action, violence, tragedy and nail-biting suspense. Towards the end of the book several mysteries are cleared up while new mysteries are created which, hopefully, will be cleared up in the sequel. Suitable for readers of all ages, I highly recommend Landry Park as a beautiful tale of romance, human values, and a great deal to keep the reader's adrenalin flowing.



I'm a born and bred Kansas Citian, meaning I can tolerate jazz for brief amounts of time and I'm offended by dry rub barbecue. I grew up reading Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur. When I’m not working at the library or running around with the kids and the husband, I’m writing or thinking about writing.

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