Karen Engelmann's The Stockholm Octavo is a curious nugget.
- Is it historical fiction?
- Is it a fantasy?
- Is it a mystery?
- Is it a novel of political intrigue?
- Is it a rags-to-riches novel?
- Is it a feminist novel? An anti-feminist novel?
Well, yes, yes, yes to all of the above. It's rather a little bit of everything.
But, somewhat like going to the casino buffet and wishing they'd spent a little bit more time making the chicken good instead of providing chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and turkey, The Stockholm Octavo tries to accomplish a lot, perhaps rather more than one ought to attempt in a single book.
Still, it's extremely enjoyable, and you certainly will never have thought so much about the role of ladies's fans in elegant society as you will when reading it.
You might consider pairing it with A Place of Greater Safety for your what-was-the-experience-like-for-people-in-Europe-during-the-French-Revolution double-header.
If you do happen to read The Stockholm Octavo, drop me a line; tell me what you think!