I’ll be helping the Bedford Middle School in Westport CT by organizing a middle grade/YA group signing on Sunday, December 5th. Come join me!
Archives for September 2010
Nicole at Word for Teens gives Prisoners in the Palace a 9 out of 10!!
PRISONERS IN THE PALACE
How Victoria Became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel
Author: MacColl, Michaela
Review Date: September 15, 2010
Price ( Hardback ): $16.99
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
ISBN ( Hardback ): 978-0-8118-7300-0
Regency romance blends enjoyably with historical fiction, with a plucky heroine for each mode. Newly orphaned Liza is left penniless on the verge of her London Season and is forced to accept the vastly-beneath-her position of maid to the Princess Victoria. There, Liza is embroiled in the real-life historical intrigue that surrounded the princess. Sir John Conroy and Victoria’s mother schemed to keep Victoria dependent, hoping for power during Victoria’s coming reign. In reality, the nearly friendless Victoria overcame their machinations alone. Here she survives with the help of Liza, Liza’s newspaperman beau and a Dickensian street child. As Victoria approaches her 18th birthday and Conroy ramps up his desperate, Machiavellian plots, Liza becomes less self-absorbed and judgmental, willing to fight for Victoria. Suitor Will becomes accordingly more affectionate. Diary entries and letters from Liza and Victoria pepper the narrative (Victoria’s are genuine and feel prissy beside the contemporary prose). The romance between characters with relatively modern sensibilities makes for a pleasurable portal into an historical event which is practically a Gothic novel even without the addition of fiction. (Historical fiction. 12-14)
I’m reading Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber (Simon and Schuster)
Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff (Wendy Lamb/Random House)
and When Molly Was a Harvey Girl by Frances Wood (Kane/Miller).
I’ll post my reviews once they are publised in Historical Novel Review.
Liza is expected to make her debut in 1830s London, but when her parents die suddenly, she is left penniless and must instead enter service. Through fortuitous connections, she gets a position as a lady’s maid to 17-year-old Princess Victoria, who lives with her mother in the neglected and tension-filled Kensington Palace. Liza begrudgingly adjusts to this new role and slowly comes to care for the temperamental, haughty, and pitiable princess even while she rejects lewd advances from Sir John, the household’s powerful secretary. Ultimately, Liza befriends a young boy and a newspaperman (who soon becomes a love interest) in order to confront the public slander surrounding the princess. This novel is full of historical detail, vivid settings, and richly drawn characters, and themes of friendship and romance give the story teen appeal; Liza is a brave yet conflicted young adult with whom readers will identify. The author takes liberties with some historical facts (clarified in an afterword) to create a tale of espionage, romance, grief, and hope.
— Melissa Moore