Gemma Doyle is furious with her mother. They may have the same untamed red hair and deep green eyes, but in Libba Bray’s historical novel A Great and Terrible Beauty they are completely at odds with each other. It’s Gemma’s 16th birthday, and try as she may, she is making no headway whatsoever with getting what she really wants for a present—a ticket back to Merrie Olde England where she can make her debut in society and meet some nice, eligible young men. But her mother won’t budge. Gemma’s to stay with her parents in India. And then something terrible happens. She gets her wish… at a horrifying cost.
Sent across the sea and plunked down at young ladies’ finishing school to get that final polish before the London social season, Gemma finds her roommate Ann dull and somewhat pathetic but she discovers the mean girls’ clique is no more enchanting. At least, not at first.
Pippa, an astounding beauty, is impossible to ignore, but it’s Felicity, the wild daughter of an admiral, who is the ring-leader. They insist they want Gemma to join their group. Of course, first she’ll have to pass an initiation. However, the cruel mischief the girls have in mind for the new girl is nothing compared to what will come. Each of them has a secret and a secret wish, but only Gemma’s will open the door to a magical world of delight and danger.
For Gemma has been followed half-way around the world by the same forces that destroyed her mother—and by a mysterious young man named Kartik who is determined to stop her from opening that door.