Author: Y.S. Lee
Release Date: March 2010
Orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she’s rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary earns a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency – an elite, top-secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results – and at seventeen, Mary’s about to join their ranks.Review: I love a good historical fiction novel. And when it’s Victorian England, I’m hooked. At first, when I heard about this book, I was hesitant. It was not like any books that I had ever heard of! So when I saw it at my library, I decided to give it a try. I began reading this book late (like 3 at night!) on Friday night and by Saturday night, I had finished it! I’m still not sure why I was so worried about this book being bad!?
With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of a lady’s companion to infiltrate a rich merchant’s home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem – least of all Mary.
Packed with action and suspense, and evoking the gritty world of Victorian London, Book One of the Agency series debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits.
Y.S. Lee is a great author. For her debut novel, she did a splendid job. Lee knows how to write good characters, dialogue, romance, action, danger and so much more that goes well with the time set of her novel (1850’s London)! I felt like I was in London, visiting all of the places that Mary visited.
The overall plot was well written and thought out. There was a huge mystery in this book which wasn’t explained till the end! BUT Lee managed to keep me intrigued and turning the pages. I wanted to know what Mary would find out next or who she would meet. There were plenty of surprises (including the solution to the mystery) that kept to on my toes
The characters are great too! I loved Mary and reading the novel from her point of view was very refreshing. Mary, I found, wasn’t like most Victorian women: though she did have manners and a good schooling, she’s still a bit awkward in society because of her past. She likes to speak her opinions and views. She was brave, and fierce, and loyal, which I loved.
I love a good romance and Lee delivered with a Victorian hottie by the name of James Easton. When Mary hides in a wardrobe after almost being discovered while searching off limits office, she finds that there is someone already there. The second that James Easton comes into the picture, I knew I was going to love him! The quirky and very humorous conversations between the two were so much fun to read! Against their better judgments, both Mary and James are intrigued by “Miss Closet” and “Mr. Easton.” I wasn’t sure how Mary was going to handle romance in between her mission but it went better than I thought! There is a definite attraction between Mary and James…I was a little sad by the ending but I doubt we won’t see James again.
A Spy in the House was a great debut for Y.S. Lee and I regret not reading her book earlier! I have book two on my shelf and I can’t wait!
Overall: ...A very good book! You have to read it!