Book Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Title: Maid of Secrets
Series: Jennifer McGowan
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group:
Young Adult
Genre Type: Historical, Mystery, Romance
Publication Date:
May 7th 2013
:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardback
416 pages
For Review

Why You May Like The Book:
Jennifer McGowan's debut book Maid of Secrets is a delightful new addition to the young adult genre, and is set apart from the rest of the crowd with it's lavish historical setting and intriguing mystery. Set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth's court, and featuring a strong female lead character, Maid of Secrets should please fans of historical romantic fiction as well as fans of spy thrillers. For those of you who are on the look out for a new series featuring a bold new heroine, the daring Meg in Maids of Secrets will delight and captivate you.

My Thoughts: I thought Maid of Secrets was not only fantastic, but also a wonderful change of pace. It was great to have not only a lead female character, but a whole cast of secondary female characters, all in the historical setting of Queen Elizabeth's court.

The Setting: What is so nice about Maid of Secrets is that although it is a historical/thriller at heart, the book never gets too bogged down with too many period details. The pace was fast enough to keep me happily turning the pages. The descriptions are fantastic, and leave you feeling as if you're were also a part of Queen Elizabeth's court.  I found the court intrigue and politics fascinating as well as the mystery.

My Book Summary:
Maid of Secrets takes place in England in 1559. Young Meg, who just happens to be not only an orphan, but a fabulous pick-pocketer, travels with the Golden Rose acting troupe taking turns acting on stage as well as lifting anything she can fit into her pockets among London's unsuspecting citizens. When one act of theft goes wrong, she is pressed into a secretive royal service and trained to be one of the Maids of Honor, an all-female guard entrusted to keep Queen Elizabeth safe from danger. Megs loyalty to her queen as well as her friendship to her fellow Maids of Honor will be tested  when the Spanish Court arrives bringing with it political intrigue and hidden threats to Queen Elizabeth. As Meg uses her unique skills to try and discover who is behind the threats to the Queen, she realizes it just may be the same dashing Spanish Courtier she has lost her heart to.

The Characters: I have to say that the female characters really did shine in Maid of Secrets. Of course Meg was my favorite, with her quick-wittiness and humor she easily won me over. A true heroine to root for. Jane, Beatrice, Sophia and Anna were all great secondary characters, each having their own "specialty" as spies for the Queen, making the Maids of Honor a very interesting group. Then there was of course the majestic Queen Elizabeth herself, often just behind the  scenes, setting the stage for the courtly intrigue. And of course there was Rafe, the daring and handsome Spanish Courtier who had some secrets of his own. I thought he was a perfect fit as romantic interest for Meg.

The Romance: I really enjoyed the romance that was in Maid of Secrets, and I liked how it never overshadowed the mystery aspect of the story, but rather complimented it.

Swoon Level: Crush.

Swoon Quote: "The touch of his mouth was a sparking flint strike, and suddenly heat flooded through me like mead drunk too fast, burning its way through my body and lifting me along a current of excitement and urgency unlike anything I'd ever felt before. I was kissing Rafe!"

What I Liked: I really enjoyed reading Maid of Secrets and I thought Jennifer McGowan did a fabulouse job combining the lush historical setting of Elizabethan Court with an intriguing thriller. The large female cast of characters was great to see in a young adult book, and that the focus was on loyalty and friendship instead of romance was a nice change of pace.

What I Had A Hard Time With: Warning! Put your thinking caps on. On a personal note- I will tell you that the Maid of Secrets had plenty of plot twists, and sometimes I did have a bit of trouble keeping up with all the political intrigue, especially in the beginning of the story.

The Ending: Jennifer McGowan does a great job giving just enough closure to Maid of Secrets to keep the reader happy, but leaves the door open for the next installment. I can't wait to find out more about Meg and the mystery behind who she really is.

My Rating: 4 Stars. I really liked it!

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