Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel

Review of Palace of Spies

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
Title & Author:
Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:
November 05, 2013
ARC via Publisher

A 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. – Goodreads

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel was everything I wanted it to be – it was fun, with a hint of swoon, some spy action, and a good deal of mystery. I’m a sucker for historical fiction involving the royal court and scandalous things occurring and Palace of Spies did not let me down.

First and foremost, I loved the setting and set-up for Palace of Spies. Usually when we get stories set in historical England, it’s Elizabethan times or something really similar, but this was set a good 100 years later. So it was pretty cool to be reading about Jacobites and stuff – not something you usually get. It made for a really interesting set-up for Palace of Spies, never knowing who was on which side and who could be trusted.

I didn’t quite get that pretty much no one recognized that Peggy wasn’t Francesca (because the set-up is that one of the queen’s maids dies and Peggy is hired to impersonate her). I mean, this girl must have been really freaking close in appearances – or she was wearing a ton of make up. But that’s okay. I kind of just put it out of my mind after a while because it really just didn’t matter.

The mystery in Palace of Spies was one of the really fun ones for me. I hate it when, as a reader, I figure it out way too early and I spend the whole book wanting to punch the main character for being dumb. But I also hate it when the main character figures it out and I’m lagging behind going wait, what? So I think Sarah Zettel timed it brilliantly and I felt like I was figuring it out with Peggy.

There was a romance element to Palace of Spies, although the focus was definitely more on the story – but I was rooting for it all the way and swooned a wee bit.

If you’re looking for a fun historical fiction that won’t overwhelm you with the all the bits and pieces, but will still put you very much in the setting, definitely pick up Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel. It’s a fun read with a great mystery and I will for sure be picking up the second book in the series.

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