Sixteen-year-old Catherine Vernon has been stranded in London for the summer-no friends, no ex-boyfriend Adam the Scum (good riddance!), and absolutely nothing to do but blog about her misery to her friends back home. Desperate for something-anything-to do in London while her (s)mother's off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her-and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close. But where Katherine has the whirls of the society, the parties and the gossip over who is engaged to who, Cat's only got some really excellent English chocolate. Then she meets William Percival-the uber-hot descendant of Katherine-and things start looking up . . .I wanted to read this book based solely on the title. I didn’t know anything else about it going in--especially since the back of the book was completely unhelpful. So I was a bit surprised to find that the book is from two perspectives: Cat, who’s spending the summer in modern-day London, and Katherine, who lives in Regency-era London.
I personally found Cat to be excessively whiney. I mean, she gets to spend an entire summer in LONDON, for pete’s sake, and all she does for the first half of the book is whine about it and refuse to leave the apartment except to go buy chocolate. I wanted to kick her or something. She does eventually leave her cave and explore London, but it’s only because she wants to spend time with a boy. I pretty much lost all respect for her after that. Cat does have some freakin’ awesome friends: Elizabeth, Consuelo, and Imogene. They are trés trés chic and glamorous, and I’m not actually sure why they befriend Cat. But I’m glad that they do since it means they get to be in the book. I would be all in favor those girls getting their own novels.
I liked Katherine’s story a little better than Cat's. Katherine acts pretty shallow as well, but you can tell she’s just trying to conform to her father’s and society’s expectations for women--and at least you can see that deep down there are hints of depth to her. Her romance was fairly uninspiring though. For most of the book, she thinks she’s in love with this poet guy who you can tell is a complete douche, and it isn’t until the veeeeeery end that she gets her act together and realizes there’s a better guy out there. I did really like Nicholas, though. I wish we got to see him more in the book, because he had way more potential than most of the other characters.
Overall, this is a quick, fun read as long as you can suppress your desire to do bodily harm to the heroines. I know they’re young, but they’re just so . . . silly and immature. But at least I don’t feel like it was a waste of my time to read it, which puts it ahead of some other books I’ve read recently.