Thursday, May 9, 2013

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan + Author Spotlight and Giveaway

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release: May 7, 2013
Source: Publisher
Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom–and her deadliest peril.

For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle.

A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love…
Intense suspense and never-ending questioning. Captivating historical aspects and complicated romance. A protagonist who finds the best of friends in the most unlikely of places and a setting saturated with secrets. With these things and more, Maid of Secrets is a dazzling debut that insidiously captures readers' minds and drags them along for a nonstop series of events sure to leave them spinning in the best possible way.

This book's immediate hook is, of course, its Ally Carter-esque plotting that weaves together action and romance. McGowan definitely knows how to encapsulate the confusion that comes from two spies falling from each other and Maid of Secrets shows it, but the best part of their secret subplot is the way it never takes precedence over the mystery storyline. Meg is, first and foremost, a thief turned spy who wants to solve a murder and protect her queen and, perhaps more than anything, return to her old life; to do this she must focus on her job. And her new-found occupation never fails to fill itself with surprises and danger entirely independent from the romance it presents.

Superior still is the way real history plays out against that of the fictional variation, each side affecting the other. The roles real people and events take in the plot and the way the author takes license with their personalities combine the real and the possibly fake masterfully, which makes this novel seem more tangible and true.

As wonderful as the truth in Maid of Secrets is, my absolute favorite aspect of the story is the way it re-imagines actual happenings, the manner in which it presents a situation in which well-known figures are catalysts not only in the events that appear in our history books, but in a new tale sequestered from the general public. Told from the point of view of a thieving, spying maid, someone whose voice would not normally have a place in history's archives, this narrative is authentic in a way that forces readers to reevaluate what they know about history. Yes, this is fiction, but it could have happened. And if the events in this book are possible, who knows what else could have passed that is now lost forever because someone was powerful enough to keep a secret or simply not powerful enough to be heard?

Maid of Secrets is the kind of book that becomes better and better the deeper one looks into it. Readers will be enthralled with the web of deceit and danger, but will also be entangled in their own questions that this novel presents, and that inquisition will stay with them even longer than the thrill produced by the plot. This gorgeous retelling of history is perfect for those looking for entertainment, intrigue, and interesting ideas all in one and its creative brilliance ensures that those who enter its world will leave reluctantly, not forgetting the events in the story as well as the inquiries they spark.

I hope this book's brilliant summary and my effusive review are enough to convince you to read it, but, as this is part of a lovely blog tour, I have a short author spotlight and giveaway to offer some extra motivation.

Jennifer McGowan writes Young Adult romance full of swash and buckle. Her first novel, MAID OF SECRETS, debuts in Spring, 2013 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Age: Royal Secret
Came From: A small town in northern Ohio
Became a Maid of Honor: After bringing her tale of spygirls to the noble city, and winning the favor of the great house of Simon (& Schuster).
Special Skill: Matrix-like reflexes, superior strength, fabulous wit… okay, ah – we’ll get back to you on that.
If you want to learn more, you can find her on twitter or on her website.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
At this point, I am sure you are desperate to pick up a copy of Maid of Secrets, so I highly suggest entering the giveaway and reading the book as soon as possible.

Thank you so much to the amazing Jennifer for writing this story and to the equally fabulous Sel for organizing this tour. Readers, have a superb day and be sure to stay tuned for some upcoming blog birthday festivities and the unveiling of an extremely exciting secret. See you soon!


  1. Fabulously written review, Emily! You really do write masterfully, I'm sure you've done the book justice ;)

    I like how MAID OF SECRETS fits in seamlessly into the history we all know about and surprises us with new explanations.

    Thanks for joining the tour! Glad you enjoyed the book :)


    This sounds like an amazing book! A thieving, spying maid? I'm hooked. And I love how you mentioned that it makes readers reevaluate how history is made and that although this is fiction, it could really happen. I'm a history-loving geek so this made me squeal (along with the fact that you said it was Ally Carter-esque). Great review, I can't wait to read this one!

    1. OH and my favorite historical fiction novel? I have many. I love all my mom's Christian ones, but I also love Grave Mercy!

  3. You've certainly convinced me to pick this one up, Emily! I mean, spies AND historical fiction? Dang, this sounds fantastic! The book seems very plot-oriented, which I love. It also seems like a spine-tingling read, and heart-racing. I love the sound of it, thank you so so much for the review, Emily!

  4. My favorite historical fiction book is Crispin.

  5. Great review, Emily!! I thought the historical setting made the whole spy drama and mystery SO MUCH MORE FASCINATING!! Loved Meg's character and authentic voice too, can't wait for the next book already :)

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story


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