First off, if you love Tudor England, spies, strong female characters, romance, and/or action (or all of the above!) you have to start the Maids of Honor series. I absolutely loved MAID OF SECRETS when I read it last year and MAID OF DECEPTION is equally fantastic! Jennifer McGowan’s Twitter bio reads “Young Adult Romance with swash and buckle” and I couldn’t agree more!
There are going to be five books total- one focusing on each girl in Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor spy circle. Maid of Secrets focused on the newest member of the group, Meg Fellowes, and Maid of Deception focuses on Beatrice Knowles, a practiced member of the court trading in secrets and flirty smiles.
Beatrice was my least favorite girl in the first book and it is a mark of Jennifer McGowan’s writing how much I came to like and care for Beatrice in this installment! She is more than just a bratty, spoiled courtier and you begin to realize how much intelligence it takes to survive in the Queen’s court, and how much heart Beatrice has hiding underneath her layer of ice. The relationships with her fellow spies are much improved, and some of my favorite scenes were seeing her interactions with her father and with Alasdair at Marion Hall, her ancestral home. I also found Beatrice’s relationship with Elizabeth fascinating, full as it is with jealousy, contempt, and grudging respect.
My other favorite parts of the book: the political intrigue, the scenes at Marion Hall, including Beatrice’s father and the children, the depiction of Queen Elizabeth who is a great deal meaner and more vindictive than any other version I’ve seen (and thoroughly believable), and THE ROMANCE! Ohhh the romance!
Let’s just say I have a thing for literary Scots. Alasdair MacLeod is a hell of a lot of fun. He was introduced briefly in Maid of Secrets and takes front and center here. I love how he needles Beatrice because banter and “I hate you, no wait, I love you… but I still hate you a little” is kind of my favorite. They have great chemistry and he is a pretty fantastic character all on his own. Lots of depth and layers and pretty speeches. Let’s just say I swooned a time or two :)
The reason I knocked off half a star is because I felt the beginning of the book was a little slow and I had trouble remembering the characters’ personalities and what had happened in the first book. While each book focuses on a new girl, they are still sequels. The overarching storylines stretch across the books, so you definitely need to read in order even though each girl’s standalone story is primarily wrapped up. I think it’s one of those series that would benefit from back to back readings!
Once I got into the heart of the story and the interplay between the maids of honor themselves (which is great; I love the chemistry between the girls) it was an exciting read! And the ending is one of my favorites. Plus I can never resist anything set during Tudor-era England, especially with a fun twist. Can’t wait for MAID OF WONDER next summer; its leading lady is none other than the ethereal Sophia Dee!
Check out my review of Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor #1)!
Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids of Honor #2
Published by Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: August 26th 2014
Format: Hardcover | Source: Library
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion….and her own heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: In a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.