Publication Date: February 4th 2014
Source: RazorBill Canada
Rating: 4/5 Stars
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Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams 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.
Landry Park was definitely not what I was expecting. Nowadays, when someone thinks of a Dystopian genre, they think along the lines of The Hunger Games or Divergent. Hagen’s dystopian society was built off of a class system, with the Gentry being at the top and the Rootless being at the bottom. While the society wasn’t perfect by any means, the reader only has glimpses into the underbelly of the poorer side of life in Kansas City, focusing more on Madeline Landry’s privileged life as a Gentry, filled with lavish gowns, balls, food and an aristocratic upbringing. As Madeline progresses throughout the story, witnessing more and more of how poorly treated the Rootless are at the hands of her father, she begins to question everything she thought she knew.
I really loved the world building in Landry Park. Hagen consistently built upon her world throughout the entire novel, and it really brought me further into the story and the life that Madeline had lived up until this point. Hagen created a life and legacy out of Landry Park, the home Madeline has grown up idolizing. The ideals and values placed upon the house and the future heir were incredibly difficult to deal with as a reader, because it meant Madeline struggled with defining who she was outside of Landry Park.
And that’s where the love interest, David Dana comes in. I had some real problems with David throughout the book. He frustrated me and pissed me off, and I felt no connection between him and Madeline. I’m disappointed in the love story aspect of Landry Park because I like swoony scenes and kisses. Another thing that frustrated me was that I figured out the secrets in the book way before Madeline and it just frustrated me that this supposedly really smart girl couldn’t see what was very obvious.
Aside from that, Landry Park was an incredibly interesting story about a society in turmoil, a class system that was being held up by some incredibly poor moral’s, and a girl who was struggling between having a “comfortable life and a comfortable conscience” (p.363 of the arc). Overall, I really enjoyed it!