24 November 2011

Review: A spy in the house - YS Lee

published 2009
historical fiction
read an excerpt
bought my copy

London, 1853: Mary Quinn is only 12 years old and was just sentenced to be hanged because of thievery. But she is rescued by a mysterious woman that offers her a place at a good school. For the first time since her parents died Mary is hopeful and excited for life. 
London, 1858: Mary is now 17 and has finished school. Now she is searching for a profession that could bring her satisfaction and joy. When the head teachers of her school make her an unusual offer to work for them as something like a private investigator / spy in their Agency, Mary grabs this exciting chance immediately. 
Mary is willing to work hard to prove herself to her former teachers. And the first case she is sent to investigate is her chance to prove her worth. Will Mary be able to solve the case and will she be able to become the perfect spy?
"A spy in the house" was everything I hoped for. It's written in an engaging writing style, the story is mostly light-hearted with some serious undertones, the main female characters are strong and likable, and I had so much fun while reading the book.

Normally the 1850s are not my favourite time for a book to play in, but YS Lee managed to make the setting very interesting. The story and reading about life at that time never got boring. Mary is a great and fascinating heroine, how she used the chance her teachers gave her was admirable. I loved that Mary was so witty and learning more about her and her heritage was fascinating.

There is no romance for Mary in this book and for once I'm happy about it, a love story wouldn't have fit to the story. But there is a young man introduced that may play a role in Mary's private life later in the series. I'm hopeful that we will see more of Mary and the very interesting James.

The investigation was interesting and I enjoyed that Mary took the initiative to find out more about what was going on. The book made me smile and laugh a lot, when I was finished with the story I was satisfied and happy. I will definitely go on with the series. I'm excited to read more about Mary and The Agency.

The Uk cover is ok, but not as pretty and fitting as the US cover (of course I own the Uk version). The US cover looks so elegant and beautiful, it's IMO perfect. 

final appraisal
"A spy in the house" is a great start in The Agency series. The book is very entertaining and the strong, likable female characters make me excited for more. I'm happy to have finally started with this engagingly written series, I can never get enough of books that are so entertaining and that make me smile a lot.

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