Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster May 7th 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Series: YES OMG YES!!
Other Books From Author: None, it’s Jennifer’s debut
Source: Publisher for Blog Tour
Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom–and her deadliest peril. For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle.A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love…
I honestly wasn’t sure about this book when I picked it up. I had never read historical fiction before this and it scared me a little to be reading about dark, moldy places (aka castles) with dark, moldy people (aka stuck-up Dukes). But hey, there’re spies and a hot Spanish dude so… GET ON WITH IT!
Maid of Secrets was awesome. Really awesome, in fact. I won’t say it was an all-time favourite but it certainly made a good case for historical fiction and I’m foreseeing myself gobbling up this genre! It was one of the most mysterious, action-packed books I’ve read in while that left me on the edge of my seat and dying for a sequel. One of those books where you planned to sit down and read for only an hour but you suddenly realize it’s dark out and the pages are thinning fast on your right hand. Seriously?? Did time just accelerate? It is that INTENSE!!
The build-up of mystery was thick with tension. It didn’t help that I was reading this at 11pm, alone in my room, and reminding myself that a faceless man will NOT jump out of the shadows and cut off my ears. There was this cinematic quality to the whole setting that felt like a horror scene where it is eerily quiet, and you tread carefully along the deserted lane, palms-sweating, heart-pounding and knowing full well that the murderous creature is lurking near. AND THEN THE MONSTER ATTACKS YOU FROM BEHIND. *SHRIEKS* I’m being melodramatc, but I know that this will turn out great in the movies. I had suspicions of some characters, but from all the twists and turns I never figured out much truth till the end! The whole Elizabethan Court was also set up realistically and it was not difficult for me to transit into the deceptions of a royal court! Really interesting actually, royal gossips.
Beyond the thrilling mysteries, I felt like I got to know each character, especially the main character and I could emphatise with her situations. I really UNDERSTOOD Meg’s struggles and dilemmas and if I were Meg, that’s exactly what I would do too. We also see how she adapts from being the apple of her Grandfather’s eye, to a secret spy who had to consider every step or she’ll be dead. I was impressed by Meg’s thieving skills but it may appear too convenient to just let Meg steal something, and it’s Case Solved. The love triangle wasn’t necessary either since “the other guy” appeared for less than 5% of the story. Meg and “certain Spanish Count” was cute though, it was so much fun watching them outwit each other!
Complete with secret tunnels, murderous mysteries and witty characters, Maid of Secrets is a fabulous start to a series I cannot wait to get into, and I’ll be strongly recommending this to anyone who needs a good dose of spy-ception!
Have you read this one? Are you planning to read it? Amazing historical fiction to recommend?