Sophronia Temminnick in all her intelligencer glory.
The Finishing School series is set in the same world as The Parasol Protectorate
, only 25 years earlier, and features a finishing academy located in a giant caterpillar-like dirigible floating over Dartmoor in which young ladies are taught to ... finish
everything and everyone, as needed. There is steampunk etiquette! There is well-dressed espionage! There is Victorian fake food! There is a flying mechanical sausage dog named Bumbersnoot! The first book, Etiquette & Espionage
, released Feb 5, 2013, was an instant New York Times Bestseller.
The series concerns an unconventional young girl, Sophronia Temminnick, who is sent to a finishing school by her mother after an incident at home. At first despondent, Sophronia changes her mind when she realizes that they do not just teach manners at Mademoiselle Geraldine's, but espionage. Quite delighted, she stays on and embarks on many adventures.
Currently there are three books in the series and one yet unpublished:
- Etiquette & Espionage
- Curtsies & Conspiracies
- Waistcoats & Weaponry
- Manners & Mutiny
- Action Fashionista: The majority of the Mademoiselle Geraldine's girls.
- Action Girl: Sophronia, Sighead, Monique, Lady Linette and many others in the school.
- Afraid of Blood: Dimity, to the extreme.
- Alpha Bitch: Monique de Pelouse full stop.
- Academy of Adventure: Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School. It's even located in an airship.
- Alliterative Title: Every book in the series so far.
- Big Friendly Dog: Captain Niall ties his hat to his head so it wont fall off when he transforms in his werewolf form for this very purpose. On their first meeting the provincial Sophronia is quite frightened at first but then she sees the hat and recognizes the Captain.
- Bitch Alert: Monique's introduction scene. Sophronia has a feeling that she is being sneered at, and she is right.
- Big Eater: Pillover was quite delighted at how nicer the food was at Mademoiselle Geraldine's compared to Bunson's.
- Black Widow: Preshea desperately wants to become one. She already is plotting how to best kill her first husband.
- Blue Blood: Most of the girls in the school are gentry if not nobility outright. The Bunson boys play it straighter, having the sons and heirs of noblemen in their ranks. Felix, a Viscount and heir to a Dukedoom is the main example.
- Book On The Head: Used during poise classes, as can be seen in the trailer of the second book.
- Damsel in Distress: Dimity in the second book, several times.
- Dances and Balls: It is Victorian England. One coming out ball for a debutante on each book so far.
- Dark Action Girl: Monique de Pelouse. Her minion Preshea seems to be heading toward it as well.
- Fainting: The girls get lessons on how to faint properly, gracefully and avoid injury while doing so. Dimity faints every time she sees blood.
- Fantastic Racism: The Bunson boys and graduates tend to really hate vampires and werewolves. But mostly vampires. One particular vampire becomes the victim of a hate crime.
- Fille Fatale: Preshea.
- Flirting Under Fire: Sophronia and Felix when the former is dealing with wannabe kidnappers.
- Fore Shadowing: In the first book when Professor Braithewope (a vampire) wants to know what Sophronia was thinking during their first class, and she tells him she was wondering about him and his tether to the airship. She further muses out loud about wondering what would happen to him if he fell off the airship and outside the range of his tether and whether or not he will die. In book two, he DOES fall out of the airship from an extreme height, his tether snaps, and the combination of the fall and snap leaves him near-dead. And it's at least partially Sophronia's fault. He is still bedridden by the end of the book, and his ultimate fate will presumably be explored in the further installments.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Vieve, her aunt. Most of the boys at Bunson's Politecnic Institute.
- Girly Bruiser: Both Sophronia and Monique.
- Green Eyes: Sophronia has them.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: The main reason of Felix, Lord Mersey's attraction to Sophronia. She is the only young lady that ignores and scorns him due to him being the heir to a duke.
- Lady of War: What all the students aspire to become.
- Little Miss Badass: Vieve.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Mademoiselle Geraldine has no idea that her own school is a training ground for spies and assassins, and keeping it that way is part of the curriculum.
- Master Poisoner: Sister Mattie, who teaches the girls to be the same.
- The Millstone: Dimity tends to faint on every action scene.
- Mr. Fanservice: Captain Nial is almost always in some state of undress.
- More Deadly Than The Male: The Mademoiselle Geraldine's girls are far more useful in a a conflict than the Bunson boys. The girls are specifically taught to finish just about anyone and anything.
- Mundane Utility: The mechanimal Bumbersnoot, who can fly and be used to smuggle the occasional MacGuffin, also makes a lovely legwarmer.
- Non-Idle Rich: Many of the students are wealthy to various degrees and they are all learning to become spies.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Only the females, called vampire queens can turn humans. And all vampires are bound by their tethers to their territories.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: All of them go batshit insane on the full moons and they are all required to serve in the military.
- Perfect Poison: Foxglove seems to be in this universe. Likely due to the lack of sufficient advancements in medicine.
- Proper Lady: What Dimity and Agatha would rather be. Alas family legacy demands otherwise. Sophronia's sisters and mother.
- Samus Is a Girl: The little boy Vieve is revealed to be little girl Genevieve.
- Silk Hiding Steel: The girls are not just taught espionage and assassination, but etiquette and ladylike graces as well.
- Shrinking Violet: Agatha, much to the consternation of her parents.
- Stern Teacher: Professor Lefoux.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: The sootie Soap, full name Phineas B. Crow. Lord Felix and Captain Nial.
- Team Pet: The mechanimal Bumbersnoot. Not only cute but he also is very useful to Sophronia.
- Teen Super Spy: Sophronia is well in her way to become one.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Sophronia and Dimity, but Sophronia has her girly side too. A better example would be Sighead contrasted to all the other girls in her dormitory.
- Tsundere: Dimity toward Lord Dingleproops. Also Sophronia toward Lord Felix.
- Uptown Girl: Soap aka Phineas B. Crow the sootie has an intense attraction to Sophronia who is the daughter of landed gentry.
- When She Smiles: Sophronia has quite a lovely smile.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Monique has icy blonde hair and is quite selfish and ruthless.
- World of Action Girls: Mademoiselle Geraldine's seems to churn them out by the hundreds.
- Wrench Wench: Genevieve Lefoux, aged about 10 and going by Vieve. Also her aunt, Professor Lefoux.