Review: Palace of Spies

Palace of Spies
Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she’s impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love…

Peggy is a spy-in-training. She is put in place of one of the Crown Princesses’ maids of honor, a dead girl whom she has to impersonate. At first glance, I thought this would be a light mystery-filled account of a teenager in the English court, but as I read further, the mystery and intrigue got very serious. I won’t deny it is also light-hearted at times, with Peggy’s sassy commentary a good contrast against the dangerous waters she is in. She is a fearless heroine, ahead of her times, and smart to boot. After a near sexual assault by her ‘betrothed’, she goes and accepts the offer to become a spy, and take the place of a dead girl.

The plot was fast-paced and our brave heroine certainly got into enough scrapes to qualify for an entertaining read. She doesn’t always get it right, which accounts for more trouble. That, and her newfound love for poker sticks makes for a formidable girl. She feels that her predecessor didn’t succumb to natural causes and does her own investigation of it. Surrounded by other mystery sub plots, as well as the fact that she has to pretend to be someone else, she has her hands full. I loved the storytelling style, particularly the witty chapter titles. One thing that made me scoff with disbelief was how no one suspected her, save one person who wasn’t even close to Francesca. Other than that, this was a delight to read.

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