Title: Palace of Spies (Palace of Spies #1)
Author: Sarah Zettel
Pub. Date: November 5, 2013
Source: e-ARC via netgalley
Summary: A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don’t.
Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she’s impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love…
Genre: YA, Mystery, Historical Fiction
After the death of her mother, Margaret – Peggy – Fitzroy was taken in by her uncle and was raised in his estate. Despite their difference in status, Peggy and her cousin Olivia are more like sisters and Peggy knows that when the day comes where Olivia will be married, she’ll be right there by her cousin’s side. Much to her surprise, it’s Peggy who receives a marriage proposal – and after a disaster of a first meeting she’s swiftly forced out of her uncle’s house.
All alone with nothing to her name, Peggy is taken in by Mr. Tinderflint and his associates Mr. Peele and Mrs. Abbott. Under their careful instruction Peggy is transformed into Lady Fran, maid of honor to Princess Caroline. Disguised as Lady Francesca, Peggy will enter the court of King George I at a time when tensions ran thick – loyalties were split between George and James the Pretender. The more time she spends around the other maids the more Peggy begins to have her suspicions about what really caused Francesca’s death.
Palace of Spies was fantastic! I was intrigued when I first heard about the book, so when it was available to Read Now it was a total no-brainer. Peggy’s narration is fun and clever – and more than once I laughed out loud. She thinks for herself during a period when women were ruled by their husbands and fathers. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind (though that tends to come with grave consequences) and she’s an expert cards player.
I’ve read my share of Historical Fiction and while I enjoy the genre, I have to admit I’ve never read anything set during this particular time period! Palace of Spies provided enough background that I wasn’t completely bewildered, but as a history buff, I would never argue with more. Tell me more about King George I! Tell me more about James the Pretender and his claim to the throne! The events at the end of the novel lead me to believe more will come out of this in the next book and quite frankly, I can’t wait.
Guys, the romance in Palace of Spies is definitely worth reading! Yes there’s a love triangle, but don’t forget that the entire court believes Peggy to be Lady Fran. Just because she looks like the girl it doesn’t mean she has the same taste in men. Also, I’m very excited to see how the relationship will play out – there’s a bit of handholding in this novel and that’s only due to sneaking around pitch-black manors. This definitely seems to be a slow burn romance and I absolutely love it.
Unfortunately there’s one scene in particular that could be triggering. It was graphic enough that I certainly raised my eyebrows at the young age group this novel is targeted toward and it didn’t seem to serve much purpose other than showing Peggy’s betrothed is a terrible person (and that could have been accomplished in a number of other ways). Despite this, however, I had such a wonderful time with Palace of Spies and am eagerly awaiting the next!