Friday, May 22, 2015

What I Read in December Part IV . . .

What I Read in December Part IV . . .

Dangerous Deceptions (Palace of Spies, #2)Dangerous Deceptions by Sarah Zettel--Young Adult Historical Fiction/Romance

This sequel to Palace of Spies has Peggy still at court, as herself this time, as a maid of honor to the Princess of Wales. She's shocked when her betrothed, Sebastian, turns up like a bad penny wanting to continue the engagement. After his attempted rape, Peggy wants nothing to do with him. She's also stuck making nice to her uncle, for the sake of her freedom and friendship with Olivia. Little Princess Anne's dog is about to have puppies and she wants Olivia to be Guinevere's midwife. Peggy is not enthusiastic about the project for she has enough to deal with court gossip and trying to figure out the game Sebastian is playing and what her uncle wants from her. Her mentor, Mr. Tinderflint is in Paris hoping to locate Peggy's father so she can finally be free from her uncle. When Uncle Pierpont refuses to give up her betrothal contract, Peggy and Olivia plot to discover the truth even if it means breaking a few laws. Peggy's beloved Matthew is along for the adventure to keep Peggy safe, but he can't be there all the time. Not even the Princess of Wales can save Peggy from an unwanted marriage or an another attack from Sebastian. If she uncovers nefarious secrets, her life may even be in danger. She must use all her wits and money to stay one step ahead or everything she's worked for and dreamed of will crumble to dust.

This book didn't move as quickly as the first one did.l I didn't reach the couldn't put it down stage until very late in the novel. The plot is filled with intricate details of life in court. The historical detail is amazing and I really got a sense of what it was like to be a courtier in early Georgian Britain. However, all that detail gets in the way of the plot. There's also a subplot about Peggy's friend that bears no real relevance to the main plot and is not fully resolved. I was able to figure out what Peggy's uncle was up to before she did. The ending is very abrupt and could use an epilogue. The book could also use an historical note to explain what was real and what happened after the events of the novel. The adventure part of the novel moves along quickly and is heart-in-your-throat exciting. I expected more of a heist plot though.

I love the characters in this novel. Peggy and Olivia are very modern women. Olivia especially is unrealistic for an 18th century woman, but there were some eccentric ladies and the restrictions on women were less than what they would become by the end of the Georgian period. Olivia provides the comic relief as does little Princess Anne. I liked Peggy too. For all she's supposed to be a spy, she isn't a very good one. I picked up on things she should have noticed much sooner. However, I like her because she's not perfect. She's not a super intelligent spy; she's just a girl caught up in circumstances beyond her control. She doesn't have all the answers and makes a lot of mistakes. I think this makes her a character teen girls can relate to and it makes her vastly appealing. I like how she uses her wit to battle her way through the court gossips. Matthew is a swoony sort of hero only found in storybooks. Their relationship made a nice change from the usual bickering couples.

The romance is sweet: kisses only. There is talk of rape, "tumbling" and mistresses. The few swear words don't fully appear in print. There is one scene of violence against animals which I did not care for. This book is geared for ages 14+. I think adults will like it too.

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