Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scones and Sensibility

Author: Lindsay Eland

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 320
Reading Level: Ages 9 to 12 years

As a big Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables fan, I was immediately intrigued by the description of Lindsay Eland’s Scones and Sensibility and wanted to read it. Eland tells the story of 12 year old Polly who is a hopeless romantic and the quintessential present day embodiment of a Jane Austen character. Polly’s parents own a local bakery and during her summer break they ask her to deliver baked goods to local businesses and customers. Since Polly can’t get out of this job, she begins to see this as an opportunity to do some matchmaking. The targets of her matchmaking are her sixteen year old sister, Clementine; her best friend’s father; and a local widower and the town’s curmudgeon. With Polly on the job of Cupid, the fun begins.

In starting the story, I was impressed at how well Eland was able to capture the language and rhythm of an Austen novel or the voice of Anne (Green Gables). When reading Polly’s dialogue, I could easily imagine that I was reading Austen or L.M. Montgomery. However, I was surprised that after awhile, Polly's constant use of this manner of speech was somewhat exasperating. Though Polly slips into modern vernacular on occasion, she remains true to the language of her literary idols. Surprisingly her parents, and neighbors seem to accept this archaic dialect from Polly and it isn’t until almost the end that her sister and best friend really express their frustration with her speech and of course her behavior.

Unfortunately, Polly’s speech wasn't the only thing that wore on me but her interfering and meddling in the lives of other felt a little excessive. I found that somewhere in the middle of the book I wanted to shake Polly and tell her to “listen” and “wake up”. I gave Polly’s sister, Clementine and her best friend, Fran kudos for accepting Polly’s eccentric manner as well as they did. However at this point in the story, I was pretty committed to seeing what happened with all of her matchmaking, and I kept reading. My persistence was rewarded with some of the best scenes of the book, and I found myself laughing out loud in several places. When I came to the conclusion, I felt that Eland had done a nice job of wrapping up the story and helping Polly learn some important life lessons.

I can imagine middle grade girls who do love Anne of Green Gables or Elizabeth Bennett thoroughly enjoying Polly’s story. Though this book may have a specific niche – pre-teen or early teen girls who are fans of 19th century romance novels, I plan on sharing it with my students. I would like to gather their thoughts about the book since many of them are not familiar with the stories that this novel ties into. I am hoping that as they read the story it may prompt them to seek out one of the stories referred to in the novel.

Overall, Scones and Sensibility is an enjoyable read and a solid debut novel by Lindsay Eland and I look forward to future offerings from this author.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and wonderful reading in 2010,
- Aly


  1. I'll have to add this to the list of books to read with my daughters when they are older... maybe get it for my mid grade cousin now - she's about the right age and I only HOPE she knows who Anne (with an e) and Elizabeth Bennet are!

  2. And I have to say this book has one of the best covers of the year!