08 March 2012

Review- A Spy in the House

Title: A Spy in the House
Author: Y.S. Lee
Series: The Agency #1
Publisher: Candlewick
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

My thoughts:

Historical fictions involving some kind of mystery are always appealing and super fun for me to read. In modern times, solving a mystery usually involves some sort of high skilled computer work, fancy gadgets and overcoming expensive alarm systems. Even though those are fun to read as well, I’m always going to be partial to the cloak and dagger type of mysteries.

In the beginning of this novel we meet Mary Quinn as a young girl who is about to be hanged for thievery. She is given a second chance and is sent to live at a school for girls and given an education in the hopes that she can make something of herself by the time she reaches the age of eighteen. Fast-forward five or six years, Mary has become a teacher at the school for girls but finds herself unsatisfied in her position. That is when she is given the chance to become a part of the Agency, a female detective agency.

Mary is a very strong main character whose survival instinct is very intense. She’s not like most young ladies in that century who have fragile sensibilities and faint every time they have a fright. She’s on a mission and she won’t let anyone get in her way.

I absolutely loved James who becomes somewhat of a love interest for Mary. He is very much her equal and blew me out of the waters with his mysterious way of finding information and almost one-upping Mary. I liked that it was more mystery than romance and even by the end their relationship is still in the very early stages.

A Spy in the House really was a fun read. It was intriguing and held me at the edge of my seat while throwing in bits of comedy and romance. I think it’s going to be a very interesting series!


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