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Children's LiteratureLady Grace Cavendish, Maid of Honor to Queen Elizabeth I, has just begun a new daybook after filling one with her adventures reported in the first "Lady Grace" mystery, Assassins. The day, she says, is dull, but tomorrow promises excitement with a visit with Queen to the docks at Tilbury. Little does she dream what that courtly visit will lead to. After they return to the palace, one of the Maids of Honor disappears. Lady Grace intercepts a note that says the missing Maid is eloping with Sir Francis Drake but Grace senses something is not quite right. She does not think anyone will believe her suspicions, so with the help of her friend, the court acrobat Masou, she disguises herself as a boy and ends up aboard Sir Francis Drake's ship. Despite a series of misadventures she manages to set things right. The book, rich in Elizabethan ambience, includes a glossary notes about ships and sailing, historical background and a tantalizing excerpt from the third "Lady Grace" mystery, Conspiracy. Lady Grace is an enchanting heroine whose adventures will appeal as much to adults as young readers. Ms. Finney, who records Lady Grace's story, earned a History BA Honors degree from Oxford. Her first novel, published when she was 18, won the David Higham Award for best first novel. She has published several other books set in Elizabethan times along with other historical and contemporary stories. The attractively produced hardcover book is a pleasure to read and a bargain, as well. 2004, Delacorte Press, Ages 9 up.
—Janet Crane Barley