ARC Review: Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel


October 11, 2013 by Alice in Readerland

Palace of SpiesA warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don’t.
Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she’s impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . . History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.

Special thanks to the publisher, HMH Books For Young Readers for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Palace of Spies will arrive in stores November 5th, 2013.

Margaret Preston Fitzroy is better known as Peggy to those who are close to her, but she is about to become Lady Francesca Wallingham, better known as a prized lady in waiting at the palace. And even better known by those close to her as a spy. But Peggy soon learns that life in the palace can be as cut throat as life in the streets, and everyone–from the people training her as a spy to the Queen to the footman–is keeping a secret. Can Peggy (acting like the ever-fabulous and witty Francesca) figure out all of their secrets before it’s too late? And perhaps solve the biggest question of all: What did the real Francesca know…and what really happened to her?

Never a Dull Moment

You’ll find there’s never a dull moment in this house, er, palace.

As soon as I saw this book a few months ago, I immediately knew that I had to read it; the idea of a spies, disguises, and a mystery all set against the historical backdrop of King George I’s palace was a book that just begged me to read it, and it did not disappoint. The writing style and plot of this book is much like Peggy herself, sharp witted and mysterious, with underlying excitement and equipped with the ability to make unexpected decisions that lead to surprising discoveries. I loved the mystery and I loved watching Peggy try to find her footing, as she sinks deeper and deeper into Francesca’s complicated life. I enjoyed learning about the intense training that Peggy had to go through, but I also enjoyed watching her try to figure out how to play the game herself as she navigated the hierarchy of the ladies in waiting. The well-described settings and interesting historical elements also added quite a bit to this novel.

I also loved the ending; I felt that it tied up the immediate story, but left me with enough intrigue and excitement about what was coming next for Peggy.

Cynical Cindy Says

There were times when I felt that there were pacing issues, but overall, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this novel.

All in all, this was one of my favorite historical novels I’ve read all year and I’m already pretty excited for the next installment in this series!

4 Teacups

4 out of 5 teacups

What are some of your favorite historical novels you’ve read this year?

I love comments

17 thoughts on “ARC Review: Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel

  1. I want to read this one! It sounds really good!

  2. I can’t wait for this book! The great cover and interesting blurb make me excited to give it a try and I’m happy you liked it.


  3. Bella says:

    This looks like a great book! I am always up for a spy novel, and it sound like the historical aspect was well-done. Great review! :)

  4. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy says:

    I really enjoyed this book – the main character was fun, and they story did have some great historical details. I think this was a wonderful first book, I look forward to reading where the author takes her characters next! I especially hope there will be more to the romance, I would love to see more of Matthew. Great review!

    • Hooray! I’m happy I know another blogger who has already read and enjoyed it too! :D I agree, I thought it was such a great first book and I’m excited to see where the series goes–hopefully, with more Matthew! :)

  5. I just loved the entire review. To add to the beauty was the rating using tea cups. Very creative. Looking forward to more such reviews.

  6. sarabara081 says:

    This is the first time I’m hearing of this one! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. The premise is really interesting and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  7. I actually don’t read a whole lot of historical fiction, but this sounds really good. I love the idea of a palace spy and that cover is so charming. I’m glad you enjoyed this one and will definitely keep my eye open for it. Great review!

  8. Sunny says:

    This looks SO good, you always review the most amazing ones :) I love the Downton Abbey gif as well! Spies, historical, palaces….sign me up. Also, yay for nothing hindering the story and for a really good ending! Great review, girl :)

  9. […] Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel […]

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