Palace of Spies
Sixteen-year-old Peggy is an orphan who lives an unsatisfactory life with her aunt and uncle. Through some curious incidents, she is coerced into posing as a lady-in-waiting at the palace of King George I, pretending to be the mysterious Francesca. Life is magnificent for Peggy until she starts to suspect that the girl she is impersonating may have been murdered. And until Peggy figures out what exactly happened to Francesca, she may be doomed to the same fate.
It was interesting to read about a period in history that most historical fiction authors don’t feature in their books.
It’s set in the enchanted but often overlooked period during the reign of the first Hanover Georges, when Jacobites fought to put the Stuart king James II on the throne. Five total restoration efforts were made in favor of the Stuarts (all of them turned out to be unsuccessful). The author did a great job making you feel like you were actually living in the 1700s. What really made it feel like you were in the story was the style of writing used. There was just enough enigmatic (and frankly, confusing) period-style language to make an impact but not enough to take over and make everything unnecessarily complicated. The protagonist’s way of thinking also reflected the time period, which made everything very consistent.
The overall plot did get a bit confusing at times. It was difficult to keep up with who was on what side and who had done what. There are also layers and layers of lies, so even when you think you know a character, it turns out that their loyalties lie completely elsewhere. However, what makes the plot confusing also makes the plot interesting. Because you never knew where anyone’s loyalties lay, you don’t know who to support and root for. Many times, I found that I was encouraging the bad guy! It keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end and keeps you guessing.
Overall, this was a satisfying read. There is just enough of the historical elements that excite you but not enough to completely smother you. It was interesting to read about a period in history that most historical fiction authors don’t feature in their books.
Reviewed by Pranshu A (Teen Board Member) on December 17, 2013