Prisoners in the Palace

Prisoners in the Palace
Michaela MacColl
Chronicle Books, 2010

I discovered this during Chronicle Books Happy Haul-idays giveaway, and knew I had to read it somehow, someway, someday. While helping process an order of new books at the high school, I came across this one and literally squealed. The librarian kindly told me I could have it as soon as it was processed. And, allow me to comment on the cover: the picture does not do it justice, at all. It's shiny, shimmery, metallic. I love-love-love it! Okay, now on to the text itself ...

The story is concentrated mostly on Elizabeth 'Liza' Hastings - a gentleman's daughter who finds herself penniless and orphaned after an accident, and manages to snag a position as maid to Princess Victoria. Because Liza is fluent in German, she is hired to act as spy and 'protector' of sorts for Victoria - finding out what is going on in the palace, trying to keep the Princess's power intact. Along the way, Liza discovers just how much IS going on in the palace - and makes a host of new friends, from 'Inside Boy' living in the palace walls to Will - the handsome young entrepreneur running a newspaper. As well as finding a friend in Princess Victoria herself.

There is a lot going on in the novel - a lot of characters involved, and so much intrigue and mystery! I was fascinated from page one, and loved watching the characters develop. Liza has much to learn about herself and her new life - she has to confront societal norms and decide what is best for her. Likewise, Victoria grows and develops throughout the story - from a spoiled child to the girl who is young, but ready to be Queen. Reading, I was reminded a lot of when I watched The Young Victoria, and the way she grew and matured - and am even more fascinated by the person, the idea, of Queen Victoria. This is another one of those books that has triggered a want to hunt through some nonfiction, I think. Definitely a good read, easy and fun - but a story of quality and depth too.

Book provided by my local library.

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