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Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor) Hardcover – May 7, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Maids of Honor Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-At 17, Meg Fellowes has been an orphan and a criminal for many years. After the queen's own men capture her, she finds herself not in the dungeon but being trained with four other maids to be part of the Maids of Honor, Queen Elizabeth I's all-female protectors. Each spy has her own skills, and Meg's uncanny ability to repeat any conversation she hears soon gets the attention of her trainer, Cecil, and the queen. However, it also puts her in a tough position when she learns a secret about the monarch's heart. Meg has also become distracted by the mysterious death of the girl who held her position before her, the dashing Count de Martine from Spain, and trying to avoid marriage. Though she finds a way to escape from the castle, she chooses to stay for her friends and for the information she has started to glean about her parents, leading her to gain the goodwill of the queen with her plot to catch a spy from Spain. This novel encompasses all the glory, excess, and intrigue of Queen Elizabeth I's reign; the issues surrounding Catholicism versus the Church of England; and the poor relationship between Spain and England. Full of adventure and romance and starring a very likable, spunky protagonist, this is an enjoyable historical read.-Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In sixteenth-century London, picking a pocket is one thing, but lifting the purse of Sir William Cecil, the queen’s advisor, is quite another. A thief with quick wits and a phenomenal memory, 17-year-old Meg is forcefully recruited to become a spy for the young Queen Elizabeth. Meg joins an elite group of five Maids of Honor secretly carrying out undercover work. Her first assignment, spying on a young Spanish nobleman notable for his good looks and easy charm, leads to intrigues marked by stolen kisses, mysterious letters, and dangerous secrets. Whether recounting her perilous missions or her moral dilemmas, Meg’s first-person narrative is consistently engaging. Though the Elizabethan setting sometimes seems a bit thin, the characters, particularly the other secretly spying Maids of Honor, slowly become distinct, believable individuals as the story unfolds. Meg’s adventure comes to a satisfying conclusion while leaving the door open for sequels. A Maids of Honor series seems planned, with the lead rotating among the five young women. Grades 6-9. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Series: Maids of Honor
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442441380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442441385
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,404,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When you couldn't trust your own instincts, what could you trust at all?"

The thing that allured me into reading Maid Of Secrets was how this book's description reminded me of Grave Mercy! Another thing that tempted me into requesting an ARC of this book was the cover which I love because it's unlike most YA covers. Maid Of Secrets is definitely a promising start to a new series that fans of Robin LaFevers and historical fiction will love!

Maid Of Secrets is a mystery set in the court of Queen Elizabeth during a visit from members of the Spanish court. There were a bunch of unpredictable plot-twists and turns that kept me reading. Maid Of Secrets pulls off an intriguing mystery filled with suspense and surprises. Even though there have been countless books about Elizabeth and the English, Maid Of Secrets is still an extremely original novel. The author blends historical and romance plot points to make this book an entertaining read.

The author definitely created distinct and interesting characters in this book. All of the maids were very different from each other and I could easily distinguish them. I have only one complaint about one of the maids is how McGowan didn't really take advantage at all of Sophia being a seer and I expected there to be a bit of paranormal aspects because of her ability. Her ability didn't really contribute to the plot unlike the other girls' abilities. It kind of felt like Sophia was kind of useless because her lack of activity in this book. I definitely would like to see more of the other girls in the next books and see their abilities challenged further by political obstacles.

The romance in this book doesn't take up a big portion of this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maid of Secrets – what I thought to be a YA romance turned out to be so much more. It begins with Meg, an expert thief who travels with a play troupe, who gets caught by Queen Elizabeth’s advisor and is given a choice to become a spy or rot in the dungeons. As a spy, she is expected to protect the Queen in her newly established court by gathering information with her mimcry skills. She is kickass, and quite spunky and I love her philosophy – when in doubt, always curtsey! ;)

Plotwise, the book had so much going on and it was such a interesting flow of events. The complexity within the plot involved much more than just Meg and the danger that came with being a spy. There is her loyalty to the Queen, the friendships she earns and quite a lot of sneaking about and discovering. The writing complemented the plot so well, with all the subtexts and clues offered which make it an excellent suspense novel. The instability in the court, the fearless Queen and the overall element of paranoia were portrayed quite realistically.

The romance is somewhat overwhelmed by the political intricacies woven and while Rafe was interesting I am not his fangirl yet. Nevertheles, the other love stories and the ones which might develop offered so much more than the main one and the friendships between the girls, especially Meg and Jane is so cute that I wish I had such friends. Considering how little time they had together, they still come to each other’s aid without any pettiness. I am looking forward to reading more of these brave and spirited Maids of Honor.
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Format: Hardcover
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Meg Fellowes was just a teenager, making a living off stealing from the audience of her acting troupe's play. She's the best thief in London. Unfortunately, her luck runs out and she is thrown into the Queen's dungeon. The young Queen Elizabeth sees Meg as being an asset and recruits her to join her exclusive Maids of Honor court. These five ladies are all highly trained in the art of weaponry, language, and spying skills. Together, the Maids of Honor must protect the Queen, complete tasks their masters instruct them to do, and find anyone who threatens the throne. But by doing so, Meg and her fellow maids find themselves in grave danger. Can they not only protect the Queen and her throne, but also prevent a killer from attacking again? To sum up the book in two sentences: "All of them guessing, with questioning eyes. Five pretty maids, all of them spies."*

I'll cut to the chase. I've never read a historical fiction novel before. Quite frankly, I've avoided them like the plague. I didn't grow up during that time period, I don't understand the language, I don't understand the things that went on back then. Why on earth would I bother reading one if it didn't make any sense to me? I seriously laugh at myself now. WHY WAS I BEING SO DUMB?! After reading MAID OF SECRETS, Jennifer McGowan has made me into a historical fiction lover! I really can't believe I had been scared to read a novel like this before. McGowan drew me in from the very first chapter and I just couldn't get enough of these characters, the elaborate gowns, the balls, the Queen, everything that went along with living inside the Queen's castle. McGowan did a beautiful job writing this story and never once made me lose interest.
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