Do You Like Your Spies…Historical?

Completely by happenstance, it seems that I have disappeared into a wormhole that has taken me back to times, both real and imaginary, where female spies rule. This niche of YA fiction has really been a delight to discover. I do hope that other authors consider creating more worlds like these.

Palace of Spies by Sarah ZettelThe first book that I came across was Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel. This book was published in November of 2013 and is hard to ignore with its intriguing cover of big hair, hot pink and magnifying glass. A series, whose second book, Dangerous Deceptions, comes out in a couple of weeks, the story takes place in England during the reign of King George I. Peggy is an orphan who lives with her uncle’s family. Forced into an engagement to a man who turns out to be less than honorable, she is helped out by a mysterious man who wants her to work for him as a spy in the King’s court. A lady-in-waiting has died, and Peggy must take her place to determine what exactly has happened.

I loved the historical aspect of it especially. The detail in the descriptions of the clothing, wigs, makeup, manners and relationships seemed to be really detailed and accurate. The mystery and how it gets solved will satisfy the detective in you.

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel  was published November 5, 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library via eBook.

Rating: 3

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Historical Action/Adventure Spy Romance

I was asked to read and review Maid of Deception, by Jennifer McGowan. This is the second book in the Maids of Honor series, and while also taking place in England, this story happens during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. I was assured that each book in the series can stand on its own, and though I am not yet finished with the first book, I can see that it is true. The Maids are a secret group of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting who are trained in the art of spying and information gathering. There is a lot of intrigue in the court, and Queen Elizabeth herself can be a bit of a pain. Even though they all work for the crown, they never know who they can trust. This book focuses on Beatrice Knowles, her ability to gather information from smitten males and how she must gather information from one man in particular.

You can tell immediately that there was a lot of research that went into this novel; everything seemed historically accurate, and while I enjoyed the book, sometimes that accuracy made the story a little dry. However, the occurrences of this are few and far between.

Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan

Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan was published August 26, 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library.

Rating: 3

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Historical Action/Adventure Spy Romance

After finishing those two books, I was pleasantly surprised by the silliness and steampunk aspects of Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies, the first two books in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Sophronia Temminnick drives her family crazy, what with her constant climbing and spying and getting her dresses all dirty. So when her parents have had enough and send her off to a girls’ finishing school, Sophronia is in despair. Her school has no fixed address, since it is aboard a cluster of hot air balloons, so she is immediately interested. It is when she discovers that this is a school for spies that she knows she is in the right place. Then the fun begins, from outwitting the robotic maids to exploring the vessel to making friends…and enemies. The only thing she’s unclear about is which category to put boys in.

I really enjoyed this book. Though it is easy for the inventiveness of the names and the steampunk world that Sophronia inhabits to be annoying and too much, Ms. Carriger finds a way to make them not so. I was worried in that first chapter by one of the first characters, with mention of a Mrs. Barnaclegoose (I did shudder at it), but after that, the names were funny without going overboard. Not quite Dickens, but what are you going to do?

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger  was published February 5, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library. It was an eBook!

Rating: 3

Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade Science Fiction Fantasy Paranormal Historical Action/Adventure Spy Romance

So if you enjoyed Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series or the Also Known As series by Robin Benway, you may enjoy these spies from a different era.

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