Friday, October 14, 2011

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Pages: 368pgs

The Story

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?

Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this riveting novel is as rich in historical detail as Catherine, Called Birdy, and as sizzling with intrigue as The Luxe.

The Review

I picked up this book on a whim at the local library. But for two reasons and two reasons only. For one, because of the gorgeous vintage-like cover which immediately drew my attention to it. And two, because the story revolved around Queen Victoria whom I've been fascinated by for a while now. For the last year or so I've been getting back into the historical genre and I'm glad to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. More than I thought I would. Once I started reading it I couldn't dare myself to put it down and the writing was spectacularly awesome and I'm sure a lot of readers who don't love historical fiction will end up loving this one.

Without revealing too much of the storyline, what I loved most was how Michaela MacColl's had written the most engaging characters and developed them into this empowering storyline. PRISONERS IN THE PALACE had a little bit of everything: drama, suspense, deception, romance, humour and intrigue, but when the author used various newspaper articles, journal entries and other written letters, it made the book even more fascinating than it already was. And based on everything I've read, what surprised me was how closely the book followed true facts of Queen Victoria- the young girl before becoming a Queen - and her London society, which added an in-depth realism to the book in question.

For me the main character, Liza, was a great protagonist and in the time period she was surrounded in, I enjoyed reading and relating to her experiences that all women face regardless of the era - the longing for love, acceptance, success, and the most important one of all, independence. I admired her strength in an all-man world, her determination, her courage and the way she encouraged the young Victoria that went beyond her expected duties . . . something that was much more than a servant and royalty relationship.

Supported by other intriguing characters such as the adorable Will, the young entreprener who publishes his own news, and the humourous scoundrel Inside Boy who surprises you in every turn he makes, I just loved their characters and their own personalities, especially Will's. But what made this book even more special was learning about Victoria before she became the peoples' Queen and the events that unfolded before such events occurred. It was a real treat.

The great thing about historical fiction is that everyone can love it. And I thought Michaela MacColl did an amazing job with her research and the way the romance outshined the historical aspect. Ahhhhh . . . how I loved the romance and how it didn't dominate the storyline. It was very sweet to read about. Overall if you love historical fiction or - like me - were already interested in Victoria's young life before she became the Queen or perhaps are looking for something interesting to read in your spare time, then definitely go out to your local library or go buy it yourself, because with well-rounded characters and a great, well-plotted storyline, PRISONERS IN THE PALACE was such a delightful read and I wished it didn't have to end.

The Rating

4/5 stars


  1. I adore Catherine, Called Birdy! That alone has me wanting to read this, haha. Apart from that, though, the premise sounds pretty good. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Definitely check this book out Colleen. It's very entertaining.


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