Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

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

Amazon | Goodreads | @Jenn_McGowan |

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?


22 thoughts on “Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

  1. Alicia, you’ve got me CONVINCED. I need this book in my hands like RIGHT NOW OHCRAAY. I’m not the biggest historical fiction fan out there but this one seems like a real gem. And mystery with it?! I remember reading your other post about this book last week (or two weeks ago?) and I was intrigued. The mystery seriously sounds intense and I’m so happy that you were able to connect with the main character so well! Fantastic review, Alicia! :)

    • I wasn’t sure about reading historical fiction either but my best friend, Sel, was organizing the tour and she STRONGLY RECOMMENDED this to me so I gave it a go! Trust me, the mystery and Elizabethan setting will make you wanting for more :) Meg is a brilliant character!

    • I used to think I’ll dislike historical fiction since uhh I’m terrible at history but that really doesn’t matter xD Do read this, the mystery won’t disappoint!!

  2. AWESOME REVIEW!! I never took notice of this book at first because that cover looks… Quite awful. Now I’m ready to pick it up, solely for the action-packed cinematic quality that worked so well for you :)

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my blog, Alicia!

    • HAHAHA yeah that cover does look weird, I thought it was some murder conspiracy thingum but it really isn’t!! Jennifer McGowan writes really well, the whole time I was imaging all that action happening RIGHT BEFORE ME and it was emotionally overwhelming at some points. Really loved those moments!! Thank you for dropping by Summer Next Top Story too ^-^

      • Sounds amazing! I like to visualise settings and characters as I read them, I’m having my eye out for this one.

      • Same here! I love books which let me see the scenes right before me, and suck me into the scene to feel like part of the story :)

  3. So I just got this one this week. I’m kind of excited to read this one after reading you review!

    I really haven’t heard much about it, so I wasn’t sure about it… but I just added it to my calendar to review… kind of excited now!

    • If you love action and mystery and all that stuff, I’m sure you’ll love this. Maid of Secrets felt like the olden version of some spy action movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed that thrilling ride :) Hope you’ll enjoy it!!

  4. Um, yes the music in the trailer was so unfitting. I had honestly looked over this book because I hate the cover so much, but after reading your review it sounds kinda awesome! I love spies, castles, and mystery. I’ll be sure to add this one to my TBR =)

    • The cover threw me off too, but well, I’ll have to stop judging books by their covers xD I love spies and mystery, the castle setting felt like an awesome bonus!! Hope you’ll get to read and enjoy it soon!

  5. LOL I love the part where you had to convince yourself at 11 PM about the faceless man! Creepy! I always have trouble finding stories that actually give me the creeps so I am happy to hear that this is one. Fabulous review!

    • I won’t want to give anything away but SQUEEEE!!! The creep factor worked really well with the story and I find myself morbidly fascinated by it haha ;)

    • Thank you!! Hopefully Maid of Secrets will get you back on track with historical fiction! I’m getting lots of recommendations for historical fiction and I’m eager to try them out, especially Grave Mercy :)

  6. Haha I love being attacked from behind by monsters! I love it when the book creeps you out so much at night….course that doesn’t help your dreams any! I don’t normally read historicals but this one does sound good. I have Grave Mercy! haven’t gotten to it yet.

    • EEEPS!! I like horror in small doses, and sometimes horror gives me a boost of high so that I can finish up my essays at midnight haha. I’ve heard great things about Grave Mercy too, I think you should give these historical fiction a try :)

  7. Pingback: May In Rewind 2013 | Summer Next Top Story

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