Title: Landry Park
Author: Bethany Hagen
Narrator: Leslie Bellair
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Format: MP3 CD
Length: 7 hours 50 minutes
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of dystopian fiction, science fiction and historical romance!
Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal
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.
Not too impressed with Leslie Bellair's narration, honestly. It felt very flat, and that made Madeline feel like a very boring character. I kept wishing for more emotion in her reading! Still, she is an easy voice to follow along with. I just wouldn't listen to an audio book from this narrator again.
2/5 - I'd recommend reading this instead.
Here's the thing: I don't like flighty female characters. I have a hard time associating with female protagonists who whine, worry, and change their opinions of things every other chapter. In Landry Park, however, it's hard to fault Madeline for being the way she is. Raised as a gentry girl, in opulence and wealth, she's a product of her environment. To Madeline, her home is everything. Her title, is everything. Every now and then I saw this little spark of rebellion in her, and I'd start to cheer, and then it'd vanish under the promise of everything she had being taken away. Can I blame her? Not really. Did I like her? Not so much.
What saved the book for me were the secondary characters. I loved David, and his dashing personality. I loved Kara, because she was everything Madeline was not. These two really pulled the story along. Nothing would have happened if it wasn't for them. I'm sure Madeline would have been content to stay at home, blind to the suffering of others, and wrapped in decadent dresses. All the pieces of the plot that revolved around her were just so blase. I never truly believed she cared about anything else, much less helping others.
The other issue with Landry Park is that you really have to let go and take everything with a grain of salt. This book takes place in the future, but there are debutantes and a caste system. This is a world of oppression and technology mixed together. I didn't really think about it until the end of the story, but it honestly doesn't make much sense. It's one of those settings you just have to accept, and move on to enjoy the story.
So what did I enjoy about this book, you ask? The secondary characters, definitely. I also liked that, although the romance was a little confusing, it also added such an interesting twist to the story. I knew what was coming well before it did, but I didn't mind. I was too charmed by David, too repulsed by Madeline's father, and too caught up in the mystery surrounding everything to care. When I stopped caring about Madeline, and just let everything else sweep me up, I enjoyed Landry Park.