Prisoners In The Palace

5175208617 c9a6318de0 Prisoners In The PalaceBuy Prisoners In The Palace
Special $14.76 (Regular price: $16.99)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on November 14, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s London, England in 1836. Liza Hastings dreams of a society debut, an unforgettable romance, and a dream wedding, but when both her parents die in a tragic accident, everything changes. Without any money to her name, Liza takes on a position as a lady’s maid to the young Princess Victoria. Her new position puts her in the middle of the gossip downstairs in the servant quarters and the trickery and treason above.

Michaela MacColl writes a fast-paced and intriguing look at the year before Princess Victoria was crowned Queen through the eyes of her maid. In Prisoners In The Palace, Liza is trying to secure a place for herself in Victoria’s favor, hoping that by doing so, Victoria will decide to do something for her later. With this motivation, she not only agrees to become Victoria’s maid, but also she uses her German language skills to her advantage, listening in on conversations between the Duchess and Sir John Conway, who are both scheming against Victoria in the hope of profiting from her young age and vulnerable position. As a spy for both the Baroness and young Victoria, Liza does everything in her power to protect the interest of the soon-to-be Queen.

Now, Liza isn’t a historical figure, and the author’s claim in my interview with her that any historical knowledge you garner from the novel is “incidental to the story” is accurate. That isn’t to say that young and adult readers alike won’t learn anything from PrisonersInThePalace because I certainly have come away with a broader understanding of the politics of the royal family. However, it does mean that the fictitious events and characters, like Liza, do have some basis in reality in so far as her main duties and her position both among the royals and below stairs with the rest of the servants working at Kensington Palace. While particular broadsheet stories aren’t true, their like was common at this time and become even more ubiquitous after Victoria’s title changes from Her Highness to Her Majesty. At the same time, MacColl’s story is what makes this novel a page turner rather a dry, aging text book.

From the gorgeous cover and intrigue-filled plot to the spunky and intelligent heroine and a hint or two of romance, this novel gets the guarantee that readers of all ages will not only enjoy it, but also will be sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the next Michaela MacColl novel to hit bookstores. Unlike the dowager Victoria pictured in history courses, this novel brilliantly demonstrates that while she was destined to be a very public and celebrated figure, she was boy crazy and desired a little bit of adventure and freedom in her life, just like a normal teen girl. With that in mind, is it any wonder that I highly recommend this novel for it’s gossip, intrigue, and accuracy to the time and characters. Take a chance and you might just find that history isn’t as scary as you once thought.

Buy Prisoners In the Palace today!

  11 comments for “Prisoners In The Palace

  1. Judy Cox
    November 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Prisoners in the Palace looks like a very interesting read!! I would love to read it.


  2. November 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    It really is quite interesting, Judy. I hope that you like it as much as I did. It could have easily been one of those one sitting reads for me.

  3. November 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I always love hearing about ya historical literature. This book looks very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. November 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Me too, Megan. There are some brilliant examples out there, and they don’t get as much exposure as those in the paranormal genre, for example. I hope that you like it as much as I did. :)

  5. Katie
    November 26, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I completely agree with your review! I received this as a galley and was terrified to pick it up, as most historical fiction bores me to tears. But I loved this book. It was juicy and engaging and very much informative without shoving it in your face, you know? I learned a lot about the Victorian era without it realizing it! Great review! :)

  6. November 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I love what you said about learning a lot about the Victorian era without ever realizing it, Katie. I think that is exactly what Michaela MacColl would love to see people saying about her book – it’s what she intended, or so I gathered from our interview. I did learn things of course, but since I studied the literature of that era, in particular, maybe not as much as you did, but I think it’s the same with all modern historical YA. I’d recommend that you check out Wildthorn by Jane Eagland if you liked this book so much because it’s also about the Victorian period and is equally entertaining.

  7. Megan
    March 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I just finished reading Prisoners in the Palace (thanks to winning a copy) and I loved it. I have started recommending it to everyone I know. Thanks for introducing it to me!

  8. March 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Glad that you loved it as much as I did, Megan!

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