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The Glittering Court Series, Book 1
Cover of The Glittering Court Series, Book 1
The Glittering Court Series, Book 1
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A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLERThe Selection meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author...
A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLERThe Selection meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author...
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  • A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
    The Selection
    meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author Richelle Mead.
    "Brilliant and original, Mead's new series starts off with a bang and will leave readers on the edge of their seats until the very end."
    School Library Journal

    For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they've only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

    After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she's falling in love with him.

    Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide's ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn't leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else's property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

Excerpts-

  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2016 Richelle Mead

    The Glittering Court

    Chapter 1

    I'd never planned on stealing someone else's life.

    Really, at a glance, you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with my old life. I was young and healthy. I liked to think I was clever. I belonged to one of the noblest families in Osfrid, one that could trace its bloodline back to the country's founders. Sure, my title might have been more prestigious if my family's fortune hadn't evaporated, but that was easily fixed. All I had to do was marry well.

    And that was where my problems started.

    Most noblemen admired a descendant of Rupert, First Earl of Rothford, great hero of Osfrid. Centuries ago, he'd helped wrest this land from savages, thus forming the great nation we enjoyed today. But few noblemen admired my lack of resources, especially in these times. Other families were fighting their own financial crises, and a pretty face with an exalted title no longer held the appeal it once might have.

    I needed a miracle, and I needed one fast. "Darling, a miracle's happened."

    I'd been staring at the ballroom's velvet-embossed wallpaper as dark thoughts swirled in my head. Blinking, I returned my attention to the noisy party and focused on my grandmother's approach. Though her face was lined and her hair pure white, people always remarked on what a handsome woman Lady Alice Witmore was. I agreed, though I couldn't help but notice she'd seemed to age more in the years since my parents had died. But just now, her face was alight in a way I hadn't seen in some time.

    "How, Grandmama?"

    "We have an offer. An offer. He's everything we've hoped for. Young. A substantial fortune. His family line's as prestigious as yours."

    That last one caught me by surprise. The blessed Rupert's line was tough to match. "Are you sure?"

    "Certainly. He's your . . . cousin."

    It wasn't often that words failed me. For a moment, all I could think of was my cousin Peter. He was twice my age—and married. By the rules of descent, he would be the one to inherit the Rothford title if I died without children. Whenever he was in town, he'd stop by and ask how I was feeling.

    "Which one?" I asked at last, relaxing slightly. The term "cousin" was sometimes used loosely, and if you looked far enough in the family trees, half the Osfridian nobility was related to the other half. She could be referring to any number of men.

    "Lionel Belshire, Baron of Ashby."

    I shook my head. He was no one I knew.

    She linked my arm with hers and drew me toward the opposite side of the ballroom, winding our way through some of the city's most powerful people. They were swathed in silks and velvets, adorned with pearls and gems. Above us, crystal chandeliers covered the entire ceiling, like our hosts were trying to outdo the stars. Such was life among Osfro's nobility.

    "His grandmother and I were both ladies in the Duchess of Samford's coterie, back in the old days. He's only a baron." Grandmama leaned her head toward me to speak more quietly. I noted the pearl-studded cap she wore, in good shape but unfashionable for at least two years. She spent our money on clothing me. "But his blood is still good. His line comes from one of Rupert's lesser sons, though there was some scandal that Rupert might not actually have been his father. His mother was noble, though, so either way, we're covered."

    I was still trying to process that when we came to a halt in front of a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked Harlington Green. A young man stood with a woman my grandmother's age,...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 25, 2016
    A 17-year-old countess trades Elizabethan luxury for frontier life in this absorbing fantasy. Lady Elizabeth Witmore is intrigued when Cedric Thorn arrives at her home, recruiting for the Glittering Court. After maidservant Ada is offered a place in the court but is hesitant to leave, Lady Witmore poses as Ada for the chance to make a new life on the frontier of Adoria, across the Sunset Sea. There’s a catch: in the Glittering Court, she will be groomed to marry a man of “new nobility” who is able to pay a price for her hand, but when she falls for Cedric, the future looks even more uncertain. Writing from “Ada’s” sharp-witted perspective, Mead (Soundless) delivers an enjoyable fish-out-of-water tale that plays gritty frontier adventure against the finery of the Glittering Court. The uncomfortable notion of “ladies for sale” is balanced by Ada’s indomitable spirit, and although the worldbuilding is somewhat scant, Ada’s friendships with roommates Tamsin and Mira are well-realized, and themes of religious freedom and racism are woven smoothly into the exciting narrative. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2016
    A runaway countess escapes an arranged marriage through a business that brings brides to the most eligible bachelors of the New World of Adoria. The Countess of Rothford descends from one of Osfrid's noblest bloodlines, but her family's financial desperation leads her grandmother to arrange a marriage for her with a dull, itchy noble whose own grandmother can't wait to control her life. Opportunity knocks when Ada, a former attendant, is selected for the Glittering Court, an intensive finishing school that furnishes brides to the New World's new elites. Ada doesn't want to go, so the countess goes instead, taking both the name Adelaide and Ada's place. Fish-out-of-water Adelaide's an expert at the niceties the school teaches yet comically incompetent at basic commoner skills; if she fails to fit in, she'll be discovered and sent back home. She befriends her roommates, ambitious Tamsin and Sirminican refugee Mira (who stands out among the evidently white, English-cognate Osfridians and suffers for it), and is helped by the Glittering Court owner's handsome son, who knows her secret but has a dangerous one of his own. Soon, the girls are sent to Adoria, the frontier where Adelaide has a chance of marrying for money--or love. The story, genially narrated by Adelaide, offers few surprises, but it goes down easy, abetted by worldbuilding that borrows freely from both Regency- and frontier-novel tropes without questioning either very hard. A historical-hodgepodge guilty pleasure. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2016

    Gr 8 Up-When the young Countess of Rothford is forced into an unwanted marriage with a despicable distant relative, she runs away and decides to leave the beautiful country of Osfrid behind in search of a new life. She follows a dashing student named Cedric to a place called the Glittering Court, where his family trains ordinary girls to act like nobility, ships them overseas to the New World, and profits from their marriage contracts to up-and-coming young men. It's there that she assumes the identity of her maid, Adelaide Bailey, and does her best to blend in with the other girls. But as she falls in love with Cedric and becomes tangled in a web of secrets and lies, she is cast out of the Glittering Court and forced into a radically different life working the land in search of the gold they desperately need to start a better life together. With a full cast of bold and original characters, Mead does a superb job of building a world that teens will be excited to enter into and disappointed to leave. The plot is intricately woven, and the ending promises future installments from other characters' points of view. VERDICT Brilliant and original, Mead's new series starts off with a bang and will leave readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.-Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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