A Calamity Of Mannerings by Joanna Nadin
Published by UCLan

WITH the highly anticipated Netflix release of Queen Charlotte, a spin-off to the wildly successful Bridgerton, the romance series set in an equally dreamy and witty interpretation of Regency Britain, teenage readers will be on the lookout for something with a similar appeal.

A Calamity Of Mannerings is this and so much more, with a unique charm of its own to keep you hooked and laughing throughout.

Modern readers expect to be able to relate to characters while gaining an understanding of the political and social issues affecting people at the time. With a teenage girl at the heart of this story, it is impossible to ignore the progress that has been made with women’s rights since 1924, the year the story takes place, and without weighing down its lightheartedness, Nadin does not attempt to ignore it.

The honesty of the prominent quote “It is a curse to be born a girl…” allows the perfect balance of being swept away by historical fashion and romance alongside a solid exploration of the hardships facing the characters.

In 1924, Panth Mannering is 16 and has decided to keep a journal to document, what is already in January, the most eventful year of her life.

Following the recent death of her father, the once wealthy household has been left in disarray, with only her sisters and mother left.

In having to pass their home to their male cousin, Valentine, and move in with their grandma, the Mannerings are facing unimaginable change.

While Panth’s bright and constantly amusing younger sister Marigold attends to her various pets, including ever-breeding rabbits and a sheep, her older sister Aster is often melancholy, particularly at the prospect of marriage. Though Panth refuses to admit it, she longs to know the depths of romance, passion and joy she reads about in novels, and a part of her would not mind getting married at all.

With little experience around men, except childhood best friend Freddy Spencer, who even if she were to consider (which she most certainly wouldn’t!) spends too much time away studying at Cambridge.

As the months pass by with the loss of her father and childhood home in the back of her mind, and occasionally in the forefront, Panth becomes acquainted with the possibilities of adulthood, and a handsome American named Buck Buchanan.

The format of a diary is one which makes the reader feel instantly and greatly connected to the narrator. Where with some protagonists, this comes across as self-centred, in Panth’s case, it is something entirely more endearing.

With quick wit, romance and explorations of class and high society, it has a great deal to offer. Where solidarity, not only between women, but in sisters and mothers who try (if clumsily) to help each other at every turn, is concerned, A Calamity Of Mannerings sets a beautiful example.