The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

- India Holton


Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.



There was no possibility of walking to the library that day. Morning rain had blanched the air, and Miss Darlington feared that if Cecilia ventured out she would develop a cough and be dead within the week. Therefore Cecilia was at home, sitting with her aunt in a room ten degrees colder than the streets of London, and reading aloud The Song of Hiawatha by “that American rogue, Mr. Longfellow,” when the strange gentleman knocked at their door.


I am so confused by this book. When I take it apart and look at the separate elements, I should have loved The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels. But when it’s all together, something just didn’t click.

Pirates versus witches, Victorian England, flying houses; there is everything to love about this concept. But something about the never-ending banter, witty innuendos, and double-talk drowns out the narrative and makes it hard to focus. It lends itself to some excellent moments, but it’s a lot to take on for an entire book.

I did really enjoy the chemistry between Cecilia and Ned. Cecilia is going to be an excellent pirate, but she has lived an extremely sheltered life, and almost everything she experiences in The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is new to her. Meanwhile, Ned is a bit of a mystery, but he’s certainly got a lot of personality. The fighting and flirting are fun and the most compelling part of this story.

I’m not ready to give up on this series – the concept is incredibly interesting, and it looks like The League of Gentlewomen Witches focuses a bit more on the witches in this pirate versus witch world. Maybe this slightly different angle will change what didn’t quite work in The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels.



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