Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

I didn't think I'd read this at first, because the reviews weren't fantastic for it. But I thought I'd give it a try, and I'm glad I did!

Mary is a thief who lives in Victorian England. Saved from the gallows, she's given a second chance to make something of herself by attending the Academy, a school for girls who want more than a life of servitude to a husband or living on the streets. She's then introduced to the Agency, a group of women who work secretly to investigate crimes and criminals. As women are more property than person in Victorian times, they can work behind the scenes without ever being noticed.

Mary is sent to the Thorold household as a companion to their daughter, but really to find out more about Mr. Thorold's business dealings. He's suspected of smuggling gemstones and artifacts from India. Frustrated with the lack of business talk in the home, Mary decides to start hunting around his offices, where she runs into James Easton, also spying on Thorold. The two decide to team up and learn what they can about Thorold's practices. What they find is a whole lot more than they ever expected.

The mystery is complicated but interesting. A good book with intrigue and history all in one. Someone who doesn't enjoy historical novels would still enjoy this book. I don't notice small inaccuracies, and even though the whole book takes a while to get up to a pace, it was still entertaining. The first in a series.

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