Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud.
When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche, she’s torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can’t refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.
Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it’s too late . . . for them both?
Set during the First World War, this story is of Samantha Donaldson, a young bright Girl Scout who was asked to be an undercover spy for the MI5, through La Dame Blanche (a secret woman-only spy organization), and is sent into the heart of Germany to extract an agent who has info on some deadly weapon. The story is divided into parts, each a phase of her spy life, and each chapter starts with a spy word definition giving an idea of what to expect in that chapter. Her training was fun but a little too easy, if you ask me, even after what we find out in the end. The real challenge for her is to find the agent without knowing who exactly it is.
While Samantha gets into the role of Sophia, a relative to the crown princess, she has to skulk around the palace, evade any suspicions, and protect her heart from the handsome personal guard to the prince, Maxwell. Max is a bit suspicious of her, but mostly he overlooks it. She, meanwhile, has moral conflicts over using someone’s affections for her job. Though only seventeen years old, she shows quite a lot of maturity, and smarts. The brilliance was a little over-exaggerated, when she literally outwits seasoned spies. Like, did they really underestimate her that much? Anyway, the story has some good twists, and the mystery is the kind that would keep you reading, so overall it’s a great spy book.
Received a free galley from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss; this does not influence my opinions or the review.