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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Title: The Agency: A Spy in the House
Author: Y.S. Lee
ISBN: 9780763640675
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page #: 335
Source: From My Library


"Orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she's rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is cover for the Agency - an elite, top secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results - and at seventeen, Mary's about to join their ranks.

With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of a lady's companion to infiltrate a rich merchant's home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem - least of all Mary.

Packed with action and suspense, and evoking a gritty world of Victorian London, this first book of the Agency series debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits."
First Lines:

"She should have been listening to the judge. Instead, Mary's attention was focused on the flies swarming around her ankles in the prisoner's dock and their primary interest: the pool of stale urine at her feet. It wasn't hers."
Page 1

You know, I picked up this book purely because of its cover. I thought it was beautiful and looked very interesting. One of my coworkers said she wasn't able to finish it (apparently, it wasn't what she was expecting), but I decided to give it a try anyway. I'm so glad I didn't listen to my coworker this time! They were completely wrong about it - at least, for not finishing.

I really thought this was a wonderful historical mystery that does a great job of telling a story. The mystery in the book is very detailed and there are lots of aspects to it, but at no point did I feel lost about the issue at hand. I was worried I would get really confused, but the author did a great job keeping it clear and understandable.

The characters in this story were so beautifully described. I felt like I knew them well enough to become part of their lives. Honestly, I'd love to meet Mary - she sounds like an awesome woman ahead of her time. It's refreshing to read a story about a girl during the Victorian times who stands up for herself. It's kind of empowering, actually. I almost want to give this book to people who are into those kinds of books - even if historical fiction isn't their thing.

One aspect of this story that I loved was the Chinese seamen and their connection to the main characters. It's a section of people that I don't generally think of when I think of Victorian times and specifically London. But I know there's a lot of history there and it's nice to see that represented here. Now I kinda want to know more about that dynamic.

Luckily, I've already got my hands on the second book and I hope to get to it soon! I think this is a fantastic story and I'll be recommending it to anyone looking for mysteries or historical fiction. The author's website looks really cool too, so give that a look see :).
Other Blog Review:

Katie's Book Blog
Ticket to Anywhere

1 comment:

danya said...

Yes, I agree that it's refreshing Lee addresses the history of Chinese sailors in Victorian England. I can't wait for Body at the Tower!

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