Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor) by Jennifer McGowan

I discovered Maid of Secrets on Amazon, and I immediately made a request though my library network. This is the first book in the Maids of Honor series, written by Jennifer McGowan. This young adult series takes place in Elizabethan England. From what I understand, the subsequent books will have different narrators, and will focus on a different girl in the Maids of Honor group.

Maid of Secrets is the story of Meg Fellowes, a young woman who is a member of an acting troupe. Because all the theatrical roles are filled by men, there is no place on the stage for Meg. However, Meg plays a very valuable role: while the audience is distracted by the production, Meg picks their pockets.

Meg attracts the attention of a nobleman who serves at court, and she is caught. Instead of being punished for her crimes, she is given the option of becoming one of the young Queen Elizabeth’s trusted maids. Of course, if she refuses to help, the rest of the acting troupe will be severely punished and run out of town. Meg has no choice.

At court, Meg is outside her element, but her keen eye and quick fingers prove to be valuable assets as this unlikely spy listens to the conversations around her. She needs to adapt quickly to her new life, or she will fail miserably. And her failure will not just affect her own life (and that of her troupe), but could also spell disaster for the young queen’s reign.

I am a big fan of literature set in the 19th century- from the Regency through the Victorian period. I also like the Edwardian era, but I don’t have a lot of experience with the 16th century, aside from a handful of books set in the Tudor era- and Shakespeare, of course.

I liked Maid of Secrets. I found the reading to be a little on the light side, but this is a young adult novel, so perhaps that is to be expected. The story was engaging, and Meg was a lively narrator. There is some intrigue, and McGowan provides some insight into the machinations behind Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in the Maids of Honor series, and I would recommend it to others. If you would like some more information, you can find it here: Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor)

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