Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel-Michaela MacColl
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: October 13, 2010
Source: We Love YA Tours
London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?
This book was love at first look for me. Would you look at that cover? It is so, so gorgeous. Luckily, this book isn't just a pretty cover-the content is so amazing you'll probably end up like me and staying up until 1:30 AM to finish it!
Prisoners in the Palace is not only the best historical fiction I've read this year-but it's going on my list of top books of the year as well. I was drawn in from the first page, as Liza's in an interesting predicament. One day, her parents are alive and she's planning her entrance to London society. Just a few days later, she's being kicked out of a five star hotel because she has no means to pay the bill as her parents have died in a carriage accident. Her father's solicitor finds her a job working for Princess Victoria. Sounds glamorous, huh?
Not really. The Princess lives in rundown Kensington Palace with her overbearing mother and her mother's awful adviser Sir John. I hated Sir John, and so did Victoria in real life. He was a true villain! Victoria is willful, and even when she's being nice, she's kind of a hoity-toity pain in the butt. She must have told Liza some variation of 'remember your place' at least ten times throughout the book.
There are other wonderful characters to be found here, like Will, the newspaper man that Liza meets when she and the Princess scheme a story to run to bring shame to Sir John, Inside Boy Jones, a boy who lived inside the palace without the knowledge of the residents, and the frumpy, grumpy Baroness, who is more like a mother to the Princess than her actual mother.
I'll admit my knowledge of Queen Victoria was only rudimentary before reading this book, but now I feel the need to know more! I plan on reading some of the books the author suggested and I also watched The Young Victoria, which shows Victoria's life just before she became Queen and in her first years on the throne.
Prisoners in the Palace would definitely appeal to fans of historical fiction, but I think it would also appeal to someone who has never read the genre. It's easy to read, and there is so much gossip, intrigue and romance that you'll be flipping the pages like mad to find out what happens! I will definitely be buying this book for my collection.