Author: Y.S. Lee
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Historical / Mystery
Release: March 9th 2010
Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.
I am a huge fan of Victorian era and this book just did it for me. I have read a bunch of historical book always expecting to be transported back in time, but just a few of them have given me such satisfaction. This one is one of them! I love everything about this book. I love that is narrated from a third person POV, so we can know what's going on with Mary Quinn as well as James Easton. Ooooh James Easton, I can't drool enough for you! all dressed in those Victorian costumes uuuuuuuh! Anyways, the point is, that this book has an outstanding plot! The fact that the spy in this story is a girl, makes this book very rich in its content. Mary Quinn have to pretend to be a lady's companion while in reality, she is risking her skin by snooping around places no man would think she should be, given she is supposed to be a lady (just good enough to serve tea) and never EVER walk around on trousers and boots. That is one of the aspects I love about this book; The collision of of feminism against men. In other words, a female badass character against a I-am-the-man-here-you-seat-down-and-feed-the-kids world. There is a lot of chivalry too, but a female spy?... well, that's more complicated. I think A Spy in the House was an amazing read. Y.S. Lee didn't only transport my mind back to the 1850s in London, she transported all of my senses too. While reading The Agency, I could smell the stink of the Thames, hear the carriages, the horses loudly pawing against the ground and I could also feel London's humid fog on my cheeks.
This is a great story not to be missed. Historical, mystery, adventure and romance fans (pretty much everyone) will enjoy this book as much as I did. Don't miss the sequel The Body at the Tower (now in Paperback!). I already read the second book and let me tell you, you'll be craving for more!
Visit Y.S. Lee website at http://yslee.com/