A Spy in the House
by: Y.S. Lee
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
First, let us take a moment to drool over the cover - it's even more beautiful in person. Now the story is just as good as the cover. Yeah, doesn't happen all the time but here goodness it is amazing.
I love Mary, she is strong willed, can be a bit snarky when she so chooses and recognizes her weaknesses yet doesn't let herself be over come by them. Her characterization is consistant and fun and I am definitely going to find time to read the rest of these novels! It's the first in the series and her storyline wasn't completed so I cannot wait to get my hands on the second one.
I picked up the book thinking that it would be more about the schooling part of her life but it breezed over it and you know what I was fine. This story is much better than another boarding school story would have been.
I also loved all of the little Victorian details that the author kept slipping in there. I can tell that they know their stuff. As a total Victorian I approve of the research that went into the writing of the book.
So, if you love strong female protagonists, Victorian London, mysteries and not too much romance (huge plus) Read it!