A Spy in the House (The Agency Series #1)

A Spy in the House (The Agency Series #1)

by Y. S. Lee

NOOK Book(eBook)

$1.99 $7.99 Save 75% Current price is $1.99, Original price is $7.99. You Save 75%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763651824
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 10/26/2010
Series: The Agency , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 479
Lexile: HL680L (what's this?)
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

Y.S. Lee has a Ph.D. in Victorian literature and culture and says her research inspired her to write Book One of The Agency trilogy. “Women’s choices were grim in those days, even for the clever,” she says. “The Agency is a totally unrealistic, completely fictitious antidote to the fate that would otherwise swallow a girl like Mary Quinn.” Y. S. Lee lives in Ontario, Canada.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A Spy in the House (The Agency Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was amazing book that suprises and keeps you in supsense. I loved it and would recommend to ages 12 and older.
Ranousha More than 1 year ago
What I loved: The story was unique and thrilling. The writing style was great! The characters are interesting and not boring at all. Even the maids had a place in this story. The suspense amazing. It was interesting and fun to see the Victorian era in general and in London specifically. The few last chapters were breath taking. I had to stop myself from sneaking on the next page. I wasn&rsquo;t 100% successful >_<&rdquo;. It was set in London! What&rsquo;s not to like?! What I disliked I would be crazy if I hated one thing about this book. Conclusion: If you&rsquo;re looking for a wonderful YA thriller and mystery, this is your book. You won&rsquo;t regret it at all even if you don&rsquo;t enjoy stories set in the Victorian era. I should thank Y. S. Lee for writing such great books, I&rsquo;m definitely a big fan of yours Open-mouthed smile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Mary Quinn/Lang book and i enjoyed James as well. A wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(:
acornucopiaoflove More than 1 year ago
In A Spy in the House, Lee tells a story filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance. Mary, a girl who was saved from a death sentence, has been educated at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. At the school she's given the education of a wealthy girl, and is encouraged to work in a field she enjoys. The idea of a school that educated girls regardless of their social class, or connections, was an aspect I enjoyed. Not only that, but the school existed to give the women some independence. In a time when the role of women was primarily in the home, it was refreshing to read about a group of women who acknowledged that they deserved more options than being a wife/mistress/governess. It also made me appreciate the educational opportunities that I've been given. The writing was another big part of why I enjoyed this book. In my opinion, a good mystery needs an interesting setting, strong characters, and should make you question the motives of those characters. A Spy in the House contained all of these characteristics, and more. The description of Victorian London, made me feel as though I was there, stuck in warm weather made worse by the smell of the polluted Thames. Throughout the book, I also questioned the motives of each character. Each time a new piece of information was discovered by Mary, I attempted to figure out how the story would end. Of course, I was completely wrong. I really enjoyed reading about Mary. In the early chapters of the book, the reader finds out why Mary was sentenced to death by hanging. We also see how Mary's education has helped her to grow, and become stronger, and more sure of herself. I particularly liked that she was looking for a work that she found fulfilling. She had attempted many of the jobs that were acceptable for women, but she wanted something more from her work. It takes a lot of courage to go from a job that you know, to something that's completely foreign. Mary was also kind to her young maid, Cass. This was a characteristic that was uncommon in the wealthy women in the book. Cass reminded me a lot of Mary at the start of the book. Cass was a bit unsure of herself, and given the right opportunities, had the potential to be very clever, much like Mary had been. There were a few times when I thought that the plot could have moved a bit faster, but aside from that I really enjoyed this book. It's another great 2010 debut, and I look forward to the sequel, The Body at the Tower, which is being released this August.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Mary Quinn used to be a thief. In fact, she was rescued from certain death by hanging and brought secretly to a special school for girls. Here, she worked hard to change her station in life. Now, she's a young lady without a job and doesn't know where to turn next. Fortunately, her advisers at the school let her in on a secret. They have a spy agency where she'd be a perfect fit. They help out Scotland Yard and gather information. With her former skills, Mary would be perfect for the agency. Plus, they have a position in mind for her, after she undergoes training. Mary emerges and makes her way as a paid ladies companion to Angelica Thorold, a spoiled girl. Mary's duty, besides her job, will be to gather any intelligence on Angelica's father and his business in regards to smuggling items. Miss Thorold doesn't take to Mary. The two of them attempt to work out their differences in a variety of ways while Mary snoops about the house. When she finds nothing, she goes investigating at Mr. Thorold's business when she's caught, not by security, but by a man with similar concerns. He offers up a partnership where they share information each uncovers. Mary reluctantly agrees, but with time running out, will she risk too much and find her identity discovered? I read this mostly in one sitting and then wanted the next book immediately. I love both spy novels and the Victorian England era, and combining the two equals pure magical entertainment. A great feisty heroine, lots of danger, plenty of mysteries to untangle, and a little romance creates a wonderfully perfect first edition to a new series.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Mary Quinn is twelve-years-old when she is arrested for theft and sentenced to hang in London in 1853. Rescued from the gallows, Mary receives an extraordinary offer of an education and proper upbringing at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Hidden behind the cover of a finishing school, The Agency works as an all-female investigative unit. Five years later, with her training nearly complete, Mary is offered her first assignment working undercover as a lady's companion. Stationed in a rich merchant's home, Mary is tasked with helping along the investigation into missing cargo ships. As Mary delves deeper into her investigation she soon discovers that everyone in the household is hiding something in A Spy in the House (2010) by Y. S. Lee. A Spy in the House is Lee's first novel. It is also the start of The Agency series (and consequently sometimes referred to as The Agency--by me at least). Lee presents a well-researched, thoroughly engrossing mystery here. A Spy in the House evokes the gritty and glamorous parts of 1850s London with pitch-perfect descriptions. The dialog also feels true to the period with no jarring, obviously modern, turns of phrase. The story is filled with twists and also some very smart observations about race, feminism and what being a woman with agency might have looked like in 1850s London. Although the ending is a bit rushed there is still an ideal balance between closure and hints of what to expect in future installments. The resolution is quite surprising in a way that is especially satisfying for a Victorian mystery. Mary is a capable, pragmatic heroine who is as smart as she is endearing. With just a hint of romantic flirtation that is realistic and witty (and decidedly lacking in instant love), A Spy in the House ¿is a delightful story with scads of appeal. Possible Pairings: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers with illustrations by Kelly Murphy, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
rockstar1232 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Y.S. Lee's A Spy in the House was a very exciting read. What really made the book wonderful though was the setting. The book takes place in London, 1858, which is a nice place and time for a mystery. I don't usually enjoy historic fiction stories; mostly because they take place during world war 2 or back when there were slaves; which is very annoying after time. So to have a break from slaves and Nazis is really nice. Any way, although this book is set in a cool time and place, it also lacks detail. The story doesn't mention any specific details about the buildings and clothing; which would've been nice, were not there. This actually makes it harder to visualize the setting of the story, but the setting was still fairly good. So overall this book is is very well written and has a wonderful setting, even though it could've used more description. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read mystery books and/or historic fiction.
peace98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Y.S. Lee's The Agency: A Spy In the House surprised me with its suspenseful tale and its supposedly dainty Victorian main character with a spunky attitude. The story takes place in the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria ruled over England in the 19th century. Since we live in the 21st century and in Toronto, there's too much to contrast. But, the sewer system invented in the Victorian era is one of the really important hygiene systems we use today. I can sometimes visualize the setting when I close my eyes. The author needs to use more descriptive words. She describes the city as a crowded, smelly and unsanitary place. Overall, it is an exciting mystery and historical book. I recommend this book to people who want a dose of mystery, feminism and Victorian London combined.
poetrytoprose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Helloooo, new favorite book! A Spy in the House was absolutely brilliant. It executed a great mystery, was never slow or boring, and had leads that were both complex and captivating. Mary easily joined the ranks as one of my favorite characters. She was clever, had spirit, and was not afraid to stand her ground. Then there was James Easton who was very much Mary's equal. The two could bring out the best and worst of each other, but it was a good balance and they made quite the team together. The mystery was very well written, neither too convoluted nor too obvious. All of the characters involved had evidence against them, making them equal suspects, and yet the conclusion still managed to surprise me. Details of Mary's past were also revealed and it was very easy to empathize with her. I'm looking forward to seeing more information surface in the future installments and for Mary to fully accept her identity. Then there was the romance... James and Mary easily have some of the best chemistry I've come across. From their first encounter in the wardrobe, I knew they would be a pair I would love and that proved to be true. If you're looking for declarations of love, and all that goes with the usual YA novel, you won't find it here, but you will find a compatible match with these two. Their banter and sexual tension was fantastic and it can only get better from here.Despite my early wake up call for this morning, and my body demanding sleep, I stayed up past 2AM to finish up the story. As the end approached, I ran to my computer to order the next book in the trilogy, The Body at the Tower. I can't recommend either book enough, so definitely give it a chance if you can!
ahandfulofconfetti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hadn't heard about this book until I saw a listing for the third in the series. The synopsis caught my attention: spunky female secret detective with a mysterious past, set in Victorian London. I really enjoyed reading about Mary and her adventures, and absolutely loved her interactions with James. I liked the setup - Mary is rescued from a sentence to hang (due to thievery) and taken to a school, where she's educated and enlisted to join in a secret female detective agency. Her first task is to help Scotland Yard (unofficially, of course) find evidence of wrongdoing by a wealthy merchant, whose been claiming that his ships - which are suspected of carrying illegal cargo - have been sunk.Mary is plunged into a household full of secrets, and I have to say that the ending - the "whodunit" if you will - surprised me as much as it did Mary when the truth comes out. I loved James, even though he was arrogant and sure of himself and positive that he was right at all times, and adored all of their interactions. I hope that we will see more of him in the later installments. I also liked the mystery, and the truth behind Mary's past, and hope to see more of that as well. I look forward to the second book, as I think Mary learned a lot from her first assignment and will be even better at her job the next time. And I can't help but wonder if we've seen the last of the "villain" as well; maybe she'll pop up again later?Anyway, if you're looking for a plucky heroine who's not afraid to take risks and get herself into trouble, Mary Quinn is your girl. I really enjoyed reading about her, and look forward to more.
thehidingspot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I sometimes find that novels with historical settings can be a bit dry, but Y.S. Lee has rekindled my love affair with Victorian England. A SPY IN THE HOUSE is a fast paced read, narrated by a feisty heroine, bursting with mystery, lies, greed, secret alliances, and, of course, romance.With her quick wit and adventuresome spirit, Mary Quinn has quickly become one of my favorite main characters! A SPY IN THE HOUSE is set in Victorian London, where Mary¿s secret life as a spy is one of the many traits that sets her apart from her peers. Even with her schooling and fine manners, she doesn¿t fit the mold of a typical Victorian woman. Her history is a bit blurry, her origins are unknown, and she¿s bursting with opinions. Mary definitely stands out in Victorian London, but her character is so vibrant that I believe she¿d have a difficult time blending into any setting. I admire Lee¿s ability to use just the right amount of foreshadowing: too much and a novel will lose much of its mysteriousness, too little and the reader will become frustrated and completely confused. There were enough clues present that I could determine some of the lies and secrets, but the biggest aspect of the mystery remained a riddle for most of the novel. I was also impressed with Lee¿s ability to weave seemingly independent plot lines into a complex and compelling mystery, while still keeping the mystery intact.I was thrilled to discover that there was a romantic plot line in A SPY IN THE HOUSE. Mary is forced to hide in a wardrobe when she is nearly discovered poking through an off-limits office, only to find the wardrobe is already occupied. One can assume that if you meet a man in a wardrobe, he probably isn¿t the boring sort. Mary has met her match in James Easton, who, against his better judgment, is intrigued by ¿Miss Closet.¿ The conversations between James and Mary were humorous and tension-filled; the chemistry between the two is evident from the moment they tumble out of the wardrobe. James is one of my favorite male characters/romantic leads. Not only is he funny, smart, and mysterious, I always end up picturing him as James McAvoy. This definitely enhances my reading experience.I like mystery and historical novels, but I don't usually love them. Somehow, I have come to love the Mary Quinn mysteries. I've read the next novel, A BODY AT THE TOWER, which will be released in August, and it is just as good, if not better, than the first installment. If you have any interest in mysteries, kickass girl spies, or good-looking boys in wardrobes, you need to read this book!
wiremonkey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Lang is a twelve-year old, half-chinese, half-irish London ragamuffin about to be hanged for thieving when she is offered the chance of a new life at Miss Scrimshaw¿s Academy for Girls. The Academy is an unusual institution run by two very different young ladies, Ann Treleaven, a prim, thirty-ish spinster and Felicity Frame. The students at the academy are trained in useful occupations and learn to be independent. However, if the life of a governess or nurse does not suit them, and if they have the aptitude for such work, the students have another option ¿ to become a member for the Agency, an all-women spy, well, Agency.With their aid, Mary transforms herself into Mary Quinn, choosing to hide her Chinese ancestry and pass as only half-irish to explain her dark, exotic looks. When the time comes for her to seek employment outside the school, uninspired with the dull like of a governess, she chooses to join the Agency.And thus begins a series of mysterious adventures. Along the way, she meets her romantic foil, James Easton, a young engineer.Although the mysteries are a little too predictable, the relationship between Mary and James is pitch perfect, reminiscent of the best Victorian-era romantic mysteries for adults: The Lady Julia Grey mysteries, Amelia Peabody and of course, who can forget Ms. Alexia Tarabotti in the Parasol Protectorate.These were great fun, with a clear and intriguing view of London, from the everday workings of a middle class family, to the re-building of parliament to Queen Victoria herself. In fact, I especially enjoyed Lee¿s portrayal of the latter, as a fierce leader and loving mother.Pair this up with Pullman¿s Sally Lockhart mysteries, Shane Peacock¿s Young Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Springer¿s Enola Holmes series.Wow. I just realised that I might enjoy this genre much more than I realised¿
KarenBall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Quinn, orphan thief in Victorian London, is rescued from certain death by hanging at age 12 and taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy For Girls. At the age of 17, she is recruited to become a part of an elite group of female spies known as The Agency. Her first case involves being placed as a companion to the daughter of a man suspected of smuggling and fraud, and Mary's investigation leads her in directions she never would have expected. Lots of suspense and drama in this mystery! Sequel is The Agency 2: The Body in the Tower. Looking forward to getting that one next! 7th grade and up.
monsterofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ah how I love Victorian Literature, and what a fine piece this is. Y.S. Lee did wonders for herself by getting a PhD in Victorian Literature & culture, because what she has been taught is clearly shown on each page of her novel. As a reader you really feel of that time period, and get a good description/vibe of it. The writing is very well done, and was a joy to read. The story catches your interest with the first lines, and keeps you hooked. The mystery will have you guessing and wondering who the culprit could be. And when it is revealed you'll be shocked, as well as some of the plot twists that are put in the story.The characters are very like-able, and the dialogue was well put. The POV's were shared between Mary and James, which was a nice touch. It was also nice to see a second view, on some of the characters. Some of the lines that James & Mary shared together were very funny, and had me laughing.Even though I highly applaud the author's work, and liked it. I didn't love it, and I thought that was one of the reasons that I rated it three stars. Some others are, I thought the beginning and ending were a bit rushed. And when it came to the climax of the story, it was a bit of a downer because it was to quick. I'm also not a fan of the ending, but after reading the sequel's bio I'm excited for it. In addition, I thought that Mr. Thorold wasn't in the story enough. Which put a damper on the story, a bit. Other then that, the story was good. And I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.So overall it was a great book, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Mary Quinn's adventures.
samantha.1020 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first read of 2011! I chose this book to read first as I've heard good things all over the book blogs and the synopsis sounded interesting. For instance on the back of the book it gives this very short but succinct summary: "In the gritty world of Victorian London, in a house with many secrets, nothing is as it seems...least of all Mary Quinn."What a perfect way to describe this book! Because Mary Quinn is a spy working undercover in her first assignment as a companion to a difficult young woman with secrets of her own. In fact, everyone in the household where Mary works seems to have secrets and hidden agendas. This was a fast paced read that hooked me into the story from the very beginning. I loved the idea of a young woman (especially during this time period) being a spy and Mary's adventures were a lot of fun to read about. Mary has a lot of spunk to her character and I liked her from the beginning. I also liked that there was a history to her...a past that even she doesn't completely know but that she began to learn about in the book. It made her background more mysterious and I'm anxious to see what else she will learn in future books. The atmosphere of the book was filled with suspense at certain moments which caused me turn the pages even faster. And I enjoyed the gritty Victorian feel that was present throughout the novel. I find that I am quite a fan of reading books set in this time period and the mystery aspect just was an added bonus. I didn't end up having any major complaints with this book although the ending wasn't quite a surprise for me. But it was a good mystery overall. All in all it ended up being a good read to begin the year with, and I will definitely be reading more in this series in the future just to see what kind of trouble Mary gets herself into next.
Irisheyz77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Women of Victorian England don't have a lot of options available to them. Children have even less. Mary, left an orphan at an early age ends up doing what she needs to in order to survive. In her case, it means burgling houses for food and items to sell. One day she gets caught and just as she's about to hang she finds herself whisked off to a special boarding school. Schrimshaw School for Girls takes in the wayward girls who show an apt for a quick thinking mind and trains them up to be governesses and companions. Well....some of them. Others are placed on a different path, one that involves spying and collecting information all while pretending to be just a governess or paid companion.This is the life that Mary finds herself in at the age of 17 and its while starting her first assignment she somehow finds herself in a wardrobe and meeting James for the first time. Mary was placed as a paid companion in the Thorold house in order to investigate fraudulent shipping claims. James is search for information on the family in an attempt to find out if they will be scandal on his if his older brother marries Mary's charge. The two decide to team up to try and get to the bottom of the many secrets that abound in the Thorold household and they form an uneasy friendship. I really liked the interactions of James and Mary. They were both quick witted and fun. Mary is a strong character and while she does stray from her assignment she does it with the best of intentions.A Spy in the House is a novel filled with secrets. Every character is hiding something from everyone else and trying to do all they can to prevent their secret from coming out. What results is a comedy of sorts and an intriguing mystery as you try to sort out all the threads in this tale. There were times when the scene plotting and dialogue seemed a little stilled and awkward but overall I enjoyed this book. I liked learning more about Mary and am curious to see how her secret forms who she becomes in later books. I am also curious to learn more about the school and the two mysterious heads who run the spy operation. This isn't a perfect novel but then so few are these days and there are several lose threads remaining at the end. Although that is to be expected as this is the first book in a series. A Spy in the House does keep the reader interested and engaged and while it did take me far longer to read than it should have (I was attacked by the distraction fairy) when I did pick up the book I found it hard to put down. If you like cozy mysteries then I suggest you pick up A Spy in the House.As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young, destitute woman living in Victorian London doesn¿t have many choices available to her. So when young Mary is rescued from the gallows by a charitable boardinghouse/school for girls, she never dreamed that the school could be the headquarters of the Agency, an ultrasecret women¿s detective agency.Mary¿s first assignment is to infiltrate the Thorold household as a female companion for the daughter, Angelica, and learn what she can of Thorold¿s suspected illegal commerce activity. However, she soon realizes that few members of the Thorold household are who they seem. With a deadline quickly approach and her reconnaissance activity constantly being interrupted by the infuriatingly snobbish James Easton, Mary must begin to face her past if she wants to get down to the bottom of the Thorold mystery.Look out, Sherlock Holmes¿yes, you, the one played by Robert Downey, Jr. in the 2009 film. Smart, dark, and flavorfully kickass has a new name, and that name is Mary Quinn. Y. S. Lee has crafted a superbly entertaining historical fiction mystery novel that contains cross-genre and ageless appeal.The characters in A SPY IN THE HOUSE are delightful to read about¿not because they are extremely angelic, but because of the fact that they¿re all keeping secrets, all trying to outsmart people who are trying to outsmart them. Mary shines best in her barbed banter with James (who arguably gets sexier with each of their encounters and conversational exchanges), but she is also wonderfully resourceful, yet wounded. Without giving a major characteristic away, I just want to say that Mary¿s shame of and complex about her past make for a refreshing new take on Victorian fiction, one that should not be missed.I loved how the darker, grimier aspects of Victorian London were portrayed in this novel. Y. S. Lee shows her knowledge about this time period in the way the setting, and the major characters¿ encounters with less savory minor characters, never gives in to sensationalism. Instead, the details are deliberate, the mystery neither predictable nor overdone.The result is complete: we are fully immersed in this atmospheric yet modernly appealing historical fiction novel. Y. S. Lee shows that she is a talented author capable of writing an intelligent yet entertaining story with a mystery and romance that will keep our toes curled and our eyes on the page.
C.Ibarra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a delightfully unique book! I was engrossed from the moment I met Mary Quinn. The idea is so very different from anything else I¿ve read. It was like a historical Nancy Drew novel. In the prologue we meet 12 year old Mary. She is found guilty of theft, and sentenced to hang for her crime. I was so relieved to see her given a second chance in the form of Miss Scrimshaw¿s Academy for Girls. Chapter one jumps ahead several years and we meet older Mary. While most girls raised in this time period want to be mothers and wives, Mary is all about the Victorian Girl Power! She¿s an empowering character, and an excellent role model. Just a young woman striving to make a mark in the world while keeping secrets from her past buried. What secrets? You¿ll have to read and see. A Spy in the House is a book I had trouble putting down. It is beautifully written, contains inventive characters, and hosts an intricate plot. A first-rate start to a new young adult trilogy. I can¿t wait to read the next installment, A Body at the Tower.
emvuu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Quinn is a heroine I quite enjoyed. She's quirky, lady like, and tomboy-ish. It's her first mission and already she's picking up more than she can handle! The Victorian backdrop was lovely even though the smell of river was horrific for the characters! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Spy in the House as it covers all the basics I'm interested in; mystery and a touch of romance. I definitely would love to read more about her life!
ylin.0621 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Agency by Y.S. Lee has all the needed elements to make a fantastic read. In this historical mystery novel Mary is taking on her first case as an agent. The reader follows Mary as she uncovers the clues, pieces them together, and runs into a little trouble with the opposite sex, which of course is so bad it's has to be good right?The thing with The Agency to me was the slowness of the actual plot. As a standalone novel The Agency fails to impress. As the first of a series, The Agency starts off tentatively to just give a hint of what's to come. But the issue was the way the plot sometimes strayed off. It gave more depth to the whole experience, but loses the attention of the reader. More often than naught I forgot the "true" plot was! I was so distracted by the plausible affairs.When Steph Su updated her progress of The Agency on Goodreads exclaiming that she loved bantering between James and Mary, it had me excited! While there had been humorous bantering between the two I expected more. I'm hoping that my expectations will be fulfilled in the next addition to this series. What we were left in this novel was the perfect set-up for the romance.Overall: The Agency, I would like to say, is the birth-child of The Gallagher Girls series and Sherlock Holmes tales.
MagicalSibylle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If, like me, the Sally Lockhart books by Philip Pullman are amongst your favourites, pick up The Agency #1: A Spy in the House right now, and I do mean RIGHT now. I'm so glad this is the first in a trilogy. So so so so glad.The Agency focuses ...more If, like me, the Sally Lockhart books by Philip Pullman are amongst your favourites, pick up The Agency #1: A Spy in the House right now, and I do mean RIGHT now. I'm so glad this is the first in a trilogy. So so so so glad.The Agency focuses on Mary Quinn, who's a seventeen-year-old spy in Victorian London. That alone, pretty damn cool. Add to that that the Agency she works for is kind of my dream NGO, a place where they give young women the education they need to be able to make choices in life other than throwing themselves into marriage and parenthood. It's a strongly feminist organization and for that I say thank you. Let me tell you all the ways this book was amazing:- Mary Quinn, the main character. She's a wonderful heroine you'll want to be friends with. Besides, I can't think of any other Victorian-era book that has as its main protagonist a young woman who's not white. It was very nice to see the author explore how the Other was treated in Victorian London.- The great sense of the period. You know how Victorian London feels like and smells like. I was absolutely transported into the story. The author did her PhD on the Victorian era and it really shows. It was wonderful, and every detail serves the story, they're not here for embellishment or because the author fetichizes the period.- The cast of secondary characters. I don't want to spoil here but the female characters especially were really well fleshed-out. I loved Angelica's story & growth.- The feminist point of view. It's there, nobody shys away from it and it's written so you understand its importance. I thought it was brilliantly brought up. From the existence of the Agency itself to how much Mary believes in real equality and the author showed just how some aspects of misogyny truly haven't changed one bit.- The romance was believable, and I truly loved the end. I didn't fall for the male interest and I was very pleasantly surprised with the end which I thought was very sensible. You realize the author knows what she's doing - she sometimes does mock stereotypical settings and has the heroine dismiss them as too cliché within the story. I like metatextuality, seemed to me Y.S. Lee was making fun of stories that are a little too conventional and I thought that was brilliant.This book is a refreshing, exciting read. I had many questions after closing it but I'll keep them to myself for now. What I can do in the meantime is order the second book (The Body at the Tower, which is already out) and stalk the author on her journal and Twitter. I feel like such a fool squeeing alone over this wonderful novel but this is why I value the Internet so much - I already know that lots of people loved this book as much as I did and I can't wait to see what everybody has to say!
ShellyPYA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Victorian London, orphan Mary Quinn is rescued from a life of thievery and pickpocketing by Miss Scrimshaw¿s Academy for Girls. Five years later, she discovers that the Academy is really a cover for a spy organization called The Agency. Her first mission involves acting as a companion for the daughter of a rich merchant whose ships have been sinking at an alarming rate. Is he sabotaging his own ships or is it someone else¿s work? Some keen detective work and a little help from an unlikely partner help Mary get to the bottom of her first case.
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Spy In The House makes a stunning appearance with its vivid and sometimes not-so-dainty Victorian imagery and a rather spunky heroine who is not afraid to get her skirts muddy. Mary Quinn proves to be a woman not to be trifled with, and she certainly does not need to be rescued like some feather-brained damsel in distress.I really enjoyed the historical details that Y.S. Lee wove into the story, and there were times when I felt a little woozy after reading about the smelly Thames. It was interesting to not read all about dress-fittings and dance cards, but instead the covert ops to the less-than-sparkly docks and immigrant refuge house. There were a lot of aspects of Victorian nuances that usually gets lost in historical romances, such as who you can meet inside a church. What also makes A Spy In The House unique is that it also gives us a healthy dose of cultural awareness in that Mary Quinn is not a pure Englishwoman, but instead a mixed background with roots that she rather not discuss in polite society.And what is a spunky heroine without an equally clever gentleman hero (though quite unnecessary since she can save herself)? I loved the bantering between Mary and James and the mishaps that they managed to fall into. James proved to be an adequate ally when needs arose, even though Mary couldn't quite trust him with her secrets.
Bibliotropic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book through the GoodReads First Reads program, and of all the books I entered a draw for, I'm really glad I was picked to receive this one. A Victorian mystery was just what I needed as a comfortable break between all those vampire novels!This wasn't a very heavy novel, which was definitely nice, but it did have enough of an intruiging plot to keep things moving well. There were a few little nitpicky negatives regarding this book (a few scenes could have been rearranged to better effect, I think, and I'm disappointed that George Easton seemed like he only existed as a way of introducing James), but overall, it was enjoyable to read. The author's strength in writing is clear in the characters, and with very few exceptions, the characters are wonderfully real and can be related to in one form or another. She also has strength in period details, something which people unacquainted with Victoriana might not appreciate, but since I'm a fan of the era, I saw the little things that made the story just that much more believable.More than once I found myself debating whether it would be better for James and Mary to just get a room, or to duke it out in the middle of the street. Possibly both, given their fiery personalities and the nature of their relationship.In a nutshell, this book was an enjoyable read, not too taxing, fun to curl up with. I recommend it to those who enjoy light mysteries and to those who enjoy a good trip back to Victorian England.