Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

4.2 45
by Michaela MacColl, Chronicle Books Staff
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may

…  See more details below

Overview

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?

Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this riveting novel is as rich in historical detail as Catherine, Called Birdy, and as sizzling with intrigue as The Luxe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With the tragic death of her parents, Liza Hastings's life is upended in an instant. Gone is her money, her security, her hopes of coming out this season, and her station in life as a lady. Liza is a young woman left alone in 19th-century London, a precarious position at best. With no other options before her, Liza lands a position as a maid--at Kensington Palace--to none other than Princess Victoria, the future queen of England. In this debut, MacColl offers a whip-smart, spunky protagonist and a worthy heroine to root for--Liza's prospects may have plummeted, but her spirits never do. And though Princess Victoria can be spoiled and distressingly unaware of how her whims can make or break someone's livelihood, MacColl weaves enough goodness into Victoria that she never becomes a caricature. Court intrigue abounds as Victoria's advisers scheme to usurp her power upon the king's death, and Liza fights for Victoria's rights as much as for her own station. Enter Will Fulton as a dashing romantic interest for Liza, and this delightful story is complete. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Liza's riches-to-rags-to-almost-riches story and her development into a young woman of high moral purpose, and Victoria's growth from a docile teen into a queen who would define an era, make this a great read."—School Library Journal, Starred Review"

a whip-smart, spunky protagonist and a worthy heroine to root for. delightful"-Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Eleanor Heldrich
This entertaining historical novel for young adults opens in England in 1837. A young American visiting in London with her parents to make her social debut suddenly finds herself alone in a hotel room, both parents killed in an accident; and, as she learns in a letter from their lawyer, she is penniless as well. However, an appointment has been made for her with the Royal Princess at Kensington Palace. At least she will experience this one last pleasure, but when she arrives dressed in her finest clothes, she finds to her shock that she is not expected as a guest. The appointment was to interview for a position as personal maid to Princess Victoria! It only takes a moment for her to realize a job is exactly what she needs, and, fortunately a maid close to her own age is what the Princess Royal would like to have. It is a time of intrigue for the Royal residents of the dilapidated Kensington Palace. The old king is dying at Buckingham Palace and his niece, Princess Victoria, is next in line to become the Queen of England. The author has placed Liza and other fictional characters, none of them royal, into this exciting setting, and through them the reader experiences hunger and cold, romance and violence, protocol and decadence, broadsheets and rumors, good and evil, rude servitude and attendance at a royal ball. The author has done an excellent job of mixing the real and imaginary characters in such a way that the reader never confuses the two. In a brief section called "Author's Note" at the end, MacColl provides a brief but accurate history of that period for her readers. Prisoners in the Palace is a Junior Library Guild selection. Reviewer: Eleanor Heldrich
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Through the eyes of her maid, readers get to know Princess Victoria during the year before she becomes queen. Down on her luck when the deaths of her parents leave her penniless and debt ridden, Liza finds employment at Kensington Palace. She quickly learns that Victoria is a virtual prisoner of her scheming mother and her mother's lover, who seek to control the future queen through a regency. Liza initially thinks only of ways to gain favor and influence, and, ultimately, money, from Victoria, but she gradually comes to feel compassion for the lonely and ill-treated 17-year-old. The emotional growth of both young women is the heart of the story, and it unfolds naturally because of a riveting plot full of conspiracy, sexual abuse of servants, treachery, and a great love story. There are references to prostitution, abortion, apparent suicide, and murder, but they are not gratuitous. Liza's riches-to-rags-to-almost-riches story and her development into a young woman of high moral purpose, and Victoria's growth from a docile teen into a queen who would define an era, make this a great read.—Corinne Henning-Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811873000
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
10/13/2010
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
1,239,070
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Michaela MacColl studied multi-disciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and three extremely large cats in Connecticut. This is her first book.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >