Scones and Sensibility, by Lindsay Eland, was published in 2010 by Egmont.
Twelve-year-old Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic age. A time when Elizabeth Bennet walked along the stone halls of Pemberley, arm in arm with her one true love, Mr. Darcy. A time when Anne Shirley gazed out at the wild seas off Prince Edward Island with her bosom friend, Diana, beside her. A time when a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality, and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers. But alas…Polly was born in twenty-first-century New Jersey. This, however does not hinder our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with the summer job of delivering backed goods from her parents’ bakery to the people in her small beach town (how delightfully quaint!), she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. Indeed, Polly is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together…whether they want to be or not.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or groan when Scones and Sensibility began and I read the Austen-adapted language of the writing. I wanted to laugh because it’s exactly what a twelve-year-old probably would sound like if she decided to speak how she thought Jane Austen sounded like, and I wanted to groan because by the end of the third chapter I was heartily sick of the word “Indeed.” I’m not sure if Eland thinks that the book is in good Austen-speak, or if she’s trying to make it sound like a twelve-year-old’s attempt, but it’s grating if it’s the latter and sort of funny but also annoying if it’s the former.
I really wanted to like Scones and Sensibility because at its heart it’s a sweet book about a girl who goes too far in her imagination. It reminded me a lot of Harriet the Spy, to be honest. But I found too many things unbelievable to be able to really enjoy the book.
First, is the bakery located inside Polly’s house, or is it in a different area entirely? I know that some people have salons and things in their house, but a bakery seems like something much more difficult to do. If it’s in their house, why in the world is it in there??
Second, I found it too hard to believe that during a certain part of the book 1.) Polly wouldn’t be able to tell a game of charades was going on and that 2.) even if she couldn’t tell, the adult she went to fetch surely should have! I’m supposed to buy that the neighbor called the police without even checking for herself? And that the police shouted from their cars with a megaphone rather than, you know, approach the house and knock on the door? Please. I was sort of going along with the book until that sensationalized bit of nonsense.
I think the trick is not to take Scones and Sensibility too seriously, because if you do, you’ll probably find the Austen-esque descriptions and language to be more grating than endearing. I liked it inasmuch as it reminded me of Harriet the Spy, but less sensationalized scenes and more things that actually made sense would have been nice.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic
Mr. Nightquist, the kindest, dearest, most well-bred older gentleman in all of New Jersey, was utterly, completely, and sadly alone.
Yet my heart leapt with hope inside me. I would find the perfect match for both Mr. Fisk and dear Mr. Nightquist!
And indeed, though I would not hand my beloved Mr. Nightquist to any woman, I could not help but think of the equally lonely Miss Wiskerton.
Love was truly in the air.