A Victorian lady should follow very strict rules. She should concern herself with dress, hand sewing, flower arrangements, and music. She should arrange her life so that she can win a husband with means, and then spend her life running a household and the lives of her family.
But Isabella, Lady Trent, did not fit the mold. From a child, she thirsted for knowledge and was often found in her father's library reading his scientific books. She especially loved anything having to do with dragons. He indulged her curiosity and let her read as she would.
When it came time for her debut season, Isabella found herself one day at an exhibition of three dragons that had been captured. Rather than fainting and acting scared, she engaged a young man who was also visiting in a spirited conversation about dragons and their habits. The young man was Jacob, one of the catches of the season but his mother's despair, as he seemed to have no interest in marrying. Jacob was entranced with Isabella, though, and soon the pair were married.
When Jacob is invited to make up a party going forth to study dragons, he makes a surprising decision. He takes Isabella with him. Together with the other members of the party, they fight privation, dragon attacks, local superstitions, smugglers and danger to provide more scientific knowledge of these creatures that have captivated them both. The dragons are attacking the villagers and the company needs to determine what is happening.
Marie Brennan has written a charming fantasy in the form of Isabella's memoirs. Isabella is strong-willed, intelligent and absolutely irritating to try to control. The book is written so seamlessly that the belief that there are dragons and that they can be studied seems an everyday occurrence. This book is written for fantasy readers.