cover image Queen Bee

Queen Bee

Amalie Howard. Joy Revolution, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-48350-3

A humiliated teenage heiress concocts a witty revenge plan in this Regency romance with The Count of Monte Cristo vibes. After 15-year-old Ela’s best friend Poppy spreads a salacious rumor involving Ela and a vicar’s nephew, Ela is sent by her father to the Hinley Seminary for Girls in Cumbria, England, where she is subjected to rigid rules and harsh punishments. Graduated and now 18, Ela devises a plot to infiltrate London’s elite. Disguising herself as an enigmatic heiress named Lyra, Ela befriends Poppy and endeavors to do everything she can to destroy the teen’s social standing, which includes seducing Lord Keston Osborn, Ela’s first crush. As Ela’s ploy unfolds, she must reckon with the lengths to which she’ll go—and the people she could lose—for revenge. Employing alternating chapters from before Ela’s disgrace and after her reemergence as Lyra, Howard (the Daring Dukes series) cultivates a lively, romantic jaunt that examines themes of forgiveness and morality while highlighting women’s lack of autonomy in a restrictive society. A cathartic and enjoyable read for fans of high-society intrigue and drama. Characters are of African, East Asian, and South Asian descent. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)