Title: Landry Park (Landry Park #1)
Author: Bethany Hagen
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal.In a fragmented future United States rules by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dress 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.
You compare something to Downton Abbey, you can be sure I will want to read it. I'm not going to lie, that's mainly what made me want to read Bethany Hagen's Landry Park. And though I wasn't convinced at first, I still really enjoyed this story.
Madeline Landry has always known what her future would look like: she would marry by the time she was 21, and when the time came, she would take over the running of Landry Park. But that's not the future Madeline wants; she wants to go to the university, despite what her father says. When she gets a glimpse into the life of those below her in society, Madeline begins to question everything she has ever been told about her family and her world. The more she questions, the more Madeline finds herself drawn to the mysterious David Dana, until the two find themselves getting involved in a revolution. Through it all, Madeline has to decide if she wants to continue to protect her family, or finally allow herself to follow her heart.
I'm not going to lie, I wasn't convinced at all when I first started reading Bethany Hagen's Landry Park. In hindsight, that probably had to do with the fact that a lot had to be explained before we could get to the good part of the story. And it's true, once all the explaining was done, I found myself enjoying the story a lot more. The concept as a whole really intrigued me. This was a story about a futuristic society, but at the same time there were many times when I felt like I was reading a story set in the early 20th century. If it wasn't for mentions of technology, I would actually forget that this was taking place in the future and not the past. At the same time, this really made me think. What happened that eventually led to Madeline's society sounded like something that could happen to us in the not-too-distant future. Ultimately, that was a large part of what kept me reading. That, and the mystery that Madeline was working to solve over the course of the story. So really, my curiosity kind of got the best of me when it comes to Landry Park.
As much as I had trouble getting into the story, I connected with Madeline right away. I saw a lot of myself in her and for that reason, I was rooting for her from page one onwards. I was hoping she would get to go to the university, I was hoping she would get what she wanted and deserved when it came to David. And I wasted Madeline to find a way to break out of the life she was stuck in, even if, on the surface, that life looked pretty good. As much as I connected with madeline and wanted her to get the guy, I found David to be a little infuriating. Sure, in the long run his behaviour all made sense, but at first he really annoyed me. I just couldn't figure him out and didn't know what to make of him. One minute he acted like there was nothing he wanted more than Madeline, and the next he acted like a complete and total jerk. Now that I know what it was all about, though, I'm willing to forgive David for some of his behaviour, and I actually really liked him. I'll have to read the next book in order to see if David continues to be the David I actually like and want Madeline to be with.
Once I got past the initial explanation of the world, I really enjoyed Bethany Hagen's Landry Park. This is a story that really made me think about what our future could become and I loved that aspect of the story. I can't wait to see where Bethany Hagen will take the story next.