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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
ARC, Paperback, 368 pages
Chronicle Books
October 13, 2010
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Genre: Historical Fiction, YA

Source: Picked up a copy at BEA
“Young Elizabeth Hastings knows about suffering. At seventeen, she has lost her family, her home and her future. In desperation, she takes a position at Kensington Palace working for the sixteen year old Princess Victoria. But nothing is as it seems at the palace. The heir to the throne is practically a prisoner. A mother schemes against her daughter. Sir John Conroy, a man with no power or connections, is playing for the ultimate prize. And the servants - they know everything of course!

Liza's journey will take her through the bowels of the Palace and to the deepest slums of London. She'll learn about the power of the press and the attractions of one particular newspaperman. How far will Liza have to go to restore her fortune and put the Princess Victoria on the throne? Will she find independence and romance or find herself a prisoner in the palace, too?”

This book was my first read on the Princess Victoria. I had seen the movie The Young Victoria a few months prior to reading this, so I was slightly familiar with many of the events in her early years but this book brought so many more details of her life into the forefront. I can’t help but compare the two a little bit as they both cover very much the same period in Victoria’s life. The most notable difference between the two was the movie relied heavily of the character of Albert, while the book only has him in two scenes (and by the way, he is not as likeable in the book as the movie).

I loved the characters in this novel. You have the non-historical character of Liza who really brings adventure into the very stoic world of Princess Victoria. The interactions between Liza and Victoria are so fun. At times they forget they are royal and subject and at other times those lines are carefully drawn. I also can’t say enough about how evil the character of Sir John is. He really was an awesome villain with simply no redeeming qualities. And I LOVE him that way! My other favorite character was Inside Boy – a stowaway in Kensington Palace – you will absolutely love him!

The research for this book was phenomenal - you get some unique little tidbits. I also loved the inclusion of some of the entries from Victoria’s diaries. It really helped to connect the character to the historical world she lived in. There was an extensive author’s note at the end which I really appreciated.

This is also not your typical YA novel where these days you expect to find romance and the seemingly mandatory love triangle. This story does have a romance thread to it but it is very minor. The focus is instead on intrigue and adventure and is very fast paced. This novel is perfect for a teen reader or an adult – both will find it to be enjoyable.

This is author Michaela MacColl’s first novel. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Michaela MacColl

promise the night
Promise the Night

[My Review]

always emily
Always Emily

nobody's secret
Nobody’s Secret

the revelation of louisa may
The Revelation of Louisa May

secrets of the snow
Secrets of the Snow

rorys promise
Rory’s Promise

freedom's price
Freedom’s Promise

the lost ones
The Lost Ones

Find Michaela MacColl: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog 

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I'm so glad you liked this -- now I have to get it. I am in love with the cover, too -- it's so striking and unusual-looking, for a Victorian YA hist fic.

  2. Audra - I think you would love it! I do love the cover - but yeah, it is a little different for a Victorian novel - never thought about that before!

  3. I have this book on my tbr, so I'm glad it's a good one. So glad you enjoyed it :) Thanks for the review.

  4. Jenny - it will be such a quick and fun read!

  5. Some very good books are coming from the YA section of publishing. Liked the excerpt. This sounds like a good book.

  6. Librarypat - I agree with you on that - I have been finding some great reading in the YA section. I have another YA review coming up later this month that I just raced through.


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