Liza Gilbert's Reviews > A Spy in the House

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
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Aug 29, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, excellent-setting
Read in August, 2011

What a refreshing concept for a young adult novel. Lee, who holds a PhD in Victorian studies did a fabulous job of creating both concept and character for this series without being dragged down by too many historical descriptions and trivia. The description of the Thames River during that heatwave and how it got the name The Great Stink was fantastic for the setting. I spent the duration of this read wanting to put something over my nose or take a shower to wash the stink away.

I loved the strong female character in a historical setting. While Lee is careful to explain how impossible this concept would have been in actual Victorian England, the novel is empowering nonetheless. I would recommend this book to fans of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series. While the historical / geographical settings are vastly different, the description of a female protagonist using social stereotypes to strengthen her own goals is very similar.

My biggest regret with this novel is that Lee mentions on the back blurb that this is the first in the triology. I'm rooting for her not to stop after 3.
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