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That inevitable Victorian thing
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Speculative fiction from the acclaimed bestselling author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear and Star Wars: Ahsoka .

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history. The imperial tradition of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage. But before she does her duty, she'll have one summer of freedom and privacy in a far corner of empire. Posing as a commoner in Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire's greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an extraordinary bond and maybe a one-in-a-million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process.

Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved not by the cost of blood and theft but by the effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a surprising, romantic, and thought-provoking story of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

★ "This witty and romantic story is a must-read."-- SLJ, starred review

★ "Compelling and unique--there's nothing else like it."-- Booklist , starred review.

★ "[A] powerful and resonant story of compassion, love, and finding a way to fulfill obligations while maintaining one's identity."-- PW, starred review
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Years from now, Victoria-Margaret will be the next Queen and continue the work her ancestor Victoria I started two centuries earlier: to strengthen the British Empire for all of its people, and promote genetic diversity and inter-Empire politics with an advantageous marriage. First, the crown princess will have a summer of freedom for her debut season in Toronto. Although her brown skin, epicanthic fold, and freckles make her easily recognizable as the current Queen's daughter, Margaret is able to disguise herself with the help of her natural hair and a civilian alias. Helena Marcus is looking forward to a quiet debut in New London and making her unspoken understanding with August Callaghan official. August wants nothing more, but hopes to delay their official engagement until he can see himself clear of the American pirates plaguing his Canadian and Hong Kong Chinese family's lumber business. When her mother's position as a placement geneticist brings Helena to the far more prestigious Toronto debut scene, she and Margaret strike up an immediate and easy friendship with a hint of flirtation. Spending the summer up north at the Marcus cottage near Lake Muskoka allows Margaret to see more of the Empire and to find her own place among the raucous Callaghan family. Helena's chemistry with both Margaret and August crackles despite being couched in Victorian manners and conventions. As Margaret, Helena, and August grow closer and learn more of one another's secrets, they realize they may be poised to help get everything they've long wanted. Johnston's standalone novel blends light science fiction elements in a near-future setting with the tone and style of a Victorian novel. Chapter headers including maps, society gossip pages, and correspondence serve to expand the detailed world-building and highlight the Empire's deliberate and thoughtful inclusivity (despite realistically damaging colonialism in the Empire's distant past). VERDICT A clever and self-aware novel set in a fascinating world, this witty and romantic story is a must-read.-Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Genre-hopping Johnston (Exit, Pursued by a Bear, 2016) takes a peek into a future where the British Empire never fell. The descendants of Queen Victoria still rule, and Victoria-Margaret, Crown Princess of the Empire, has always been pragmatic about her future. Genetic-matchmaking technology (the Church-sanctioned Computer) will find her an advantageous match, but first Margaret has bargained for one summer of freedom. Posing as commoner Margaret Sandwich, she travels to Toronto, part of the Empire, to spend the summer with people she will one day rule. There she meets Helena Marcus, the quiet, practical daughter of geneticists; she, like Margaret, has always known her future. Despite what the Computer says, Helena plans to marry her childhood friend August heir to a shipping company and currently dealing with American pirates and live a simple life. But Margaret and Helena develop an unexpected connection, and suddenly their predictable futures might be changeable after all. This slice of speculative summer is an extraordinary feat of world building; Johnston neatly avoids the trap of revisionist history and takes care to acknowledge the effects that this new world would have on countries and cultures beyond Great Britain (most notably China and the First Nations). Within this world, characters soar: Helena and Margaret's budding romance is sweet, and the trio's struggles with their respective futures sincere. Compelling and unique there's nothing else like it.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
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