Monday, May 2, 2011
Book Review ~ A Spy in the House
By Y.S. Lee
Published By Candlewick
Summary: Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.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: The setting is what makes this book. If you were to place The Agency in modern times it would not be as interesting. That being said I found Mary to be a strong, self-reliant female in a time when that was unheard of. The relationship between her and James, whether they were getting in each others ways or working together, was humorous and at times romantic pairing. There were also some very unlikeable characters in this story, more than usual. I found myself cringing at the behavior of the family Mary was working for. Some may have been acceptable of a family of this stature and in this time period but it was still cringe worthy.
The action was well paced and made for an enjoyable read from beginning to end. The conclusion of what was happening with the ships/sailors was a satisfying end to the story. It answered many questions while leaving enough for you to want to read the next book. I look forward to finding out more about Mary's own past as well as what kind of trouble she can cause in the future.