*Quick Note: I have changed my rating system to a five star basis because it is honestly so much easier and I hope everyone will be able to understand it better!
Title: Maid of Secrets
Author: Jennifer McGowan
Age Group: Middle schoolers and above
Rating: 3/5 stars
Synopsis: “Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.
Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth. Meg’s mission tests every talent she possesses, even her loyalty to her fellow Maids. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?” (Amazon.com).
Reading the synopsis of this book sounded like something that would’ve happened in my favorite TV show Reign. Ooh drama, intrigue, romance, and plots galore!! I would definitely recommend this book to people who like historical fiction mysteries!
Obviously, I really enjoyed this book! I think the mystery was well executed and did a wonderful job of keeping me guessing. The final ‘aha!’ moment was also so dramatic and I think that that was the perfect mood. I felt really invested in what was happening, like I was really there. This is due to the writers descriptions that felt so accurate and real to me while I was reading.
When I started the book, though, I actually didn’t see this great use of language during the first few chapters. I can remember many English teachers talking about writing over the years and one thing they would say: ‘Show don’t tell.’ In the case of this text, I think the beginning would’ve been so much more engaging if more of the protagonist’s background had been shown instead of her narrating everything about her life to the reader. I felt like I was being overloaded with all the information, but not really seeing how it all fit together as a whole. Looking back on the plot, I think this method of telling us everything also made the start of the story seem to go way too fast. Suddenly we were diving into Meg being a spy and getting caught up in court drama, but I didn’t feel like I knew her at all yet. The rough beginning wasn’t super deterring, however, and it definitely got better as I kept reading!
Okay, yes this is a mystery and yes this is YA. It makes sense there would be some sort of dashing young courtier trying to sweep the queen’s spies of their feet, right? The love interest in this book was mysterious and charming, and the perfect guy for Meg. However, I think that the mystery mostly overshadowed the romance. I don’t mind having lots of interesting clues to think about, but the romance in the fray could’ve been either more stated or less stated. What I mean by that is I think the story would’ve been a little more intriguing if this courtier was left to develop more in the next book, or if the romance was given a little more time so it did’t seem so rushed.
I highly enjoyed this book and feel very satisfied with how it ended. Hope you are all doing well this summer!
Happy Reading 2018–Let’s fly together!