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Palace of Spies

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  • Posted November 6, 2013

    Margaret ┬┐Peggy┬┐ Fitzroy led a reasonably charmed life until she

    Margaret “Peggy” Fitzroy led a reasonably charmed life until she was kicked out on her keister and forced to delve in the palace of intrigue, suspicion, and ne’er-do-wells, many of whom have buckets of money, or like to pretend that the dowry extends forever in one direction, even if it dried up about fifty years ago. Sebastian Sandford, relegated to a minor role, showed his hands and his petulant attitude and his preponderance for fondling the merchandise before the appointed hour, with nary a care in the world. And Uncle Pierpont showed fangs and horns and bastard tendencies with relative ease, tossing out his niece faster than a banana peel and slamming the door hard enough to rock the foundation. But had he shown more normal tendencies and familial congeniality, PALACE OF SPIES never would have reached the atmosphere, so we can thank him for his complete and utter ridiculousness.

    Peggy had a slight aftertaste, not growing on me until a bit later in the tale, but when she did, I appreciated her and her firecracker ways. She had spunk and charm and held on to certain folks a bit too long and offered up some youthful naiveté in this historical tale. While some mysterious elements lingered, and a dead body or two appeared on scene, I’d say this was more historical with a bit of romance and some rather cryptic moments. The plot had a few dangling points and outliers that wrapped up a bit too nicely and maybe a bit too forcefully, and while research was conducted and historical accuracies appeared to be inflicted upon the story, this wasn’t a heavy read by any means. And it was easily consumable, like popcorn or Pez or candy corn.

    What really popped my balloon faster than a safety pin, though, was the murderer spouting off for no other reason than pure ego. Really? While it was a bit briefer this go round than the previous iteration, it still left me with a dry mouth and a slight headache. Can we move past the egomaniacs and psychotic miscreants and move toward more common ground? I promise we’ll all be happier, and we don’t even have to hold hands.

    I received this book for free through NetGalley.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Posted September 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    YA Historical Intrigue

    Young Adult intrigue in King George’s court! Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel pits a spirited young lady against the deceit and treachery that runs amok at the palace. A plot is foot to steal the throne, and Peggy is to spy on courtly goings on, playing the part of the late “Francesca”, a young woman who, it seems may have died under suspicious circumstances. Who is for the King, who is against him, who can the outspoken Peggy trust?

    Sarah Zettel has done well in creating that historical feel to her work. Adding a mystery and some intrigue for the heroine to sink her teeth into creates some tense moments while never making the solutions obvious! There are moments of witty banter, and even some rather comical moments as we are privy to the thoughts of young Peggy. Does her brain ever stop? How long can she endure some of the people at court? Is she really fooling them into believing she is Francesca?

    For YA historical fiction readers, this should prove an interesting book, not too deep, with characters that sometimes seem to need a little more color, but definitely a trip back in time that moves at a quick pace through the maze of mysteries!

    I received an ARC edition in exchange for my honest review from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group.

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