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The Young Adult Historical Fiction Society
2012 Group Reads
> A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee - March's Group Read
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Stacia (the 2010 club)
(last edited Mar 01, 2012 12:00AM)
Mar 01, 2012 12:00AM
Group read is for book 1 only. Please mark spoilers if you're discussing later books in the series.
Mar 06, 2012 12:56PM
I liked it, but I thought it was fairly predictable and just all right. I think I just reviewed something similar to what I'm about to say in another group, so pardons if you're hearing it twice.
I thought that the idea of an all female agency in this time period was kind of awesome, but kind of not realistic. I would have loved it if so, because I like my women a little more kick-ass then they are in this century for the most part, which this provided. But the basis didn't ring true to me.
But, like I said, it made the story more fun and interesting to me. It was my kind of romance, too, but the mystery and such felt pretty bland overall to me.
Mar 10, 2012 07:46AM
I really enjoyed this book. I agree with Maree I loved the idea of an all female agency. I really liked how the story was developed. Sneaking out, befriending the watch-dog. Added the twist of China town in this era. I enjoyed it all.
But, Maree, you may enjoy "The House of Silk" the newest novel of Sherlock Holmes.
Mar 14, 2012 09:12AM
I have previously read book 1 and book 2 and was anxiously awaiting book 3 in this series. So, as you can tell, I really like the series! Just a note, in the library system I work in, the series is put in the adult section rather than the YA section. I am not sure why that is but as the books progress Mary's difficulty of assignments progress some. I would most likely wait till high school before I recommend that my daughter read them. Maybe 14-18. She has read the 1st book and liked it but maybe I will recommend other books to her until she is a little older.
I love the Victorian setting and I really like the characters. This puts me in mind of Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. If you like this type of setting but want more hardcore crime to solve, give her a try.
I don't think this is a spoiler but it might be so here is a warning: The third book takes an unexpected and interesting turn at the end and I wonder where she will go with the series from there.
Mar 14, 2012 09:30AM
Oh, thanks for the recommendation, Rebecca!
How old is your daughter now, Nanci?
Mar 14, 2012 01:24PM
Maree ♫ Light's Shadow ♪ wrote: "Oh, thanks for the recommendation, Rebecca!
How old is your daughter now, Nanci?"
She is actually 14 now but I still think I will wait till 16.
Mar 26, 2012 06:19AM
I liked it well enough to keep reading the series. I think the third was my favorite.
I found the concept fairly unrealistic but appealing. I liked the budding romance and that it played a role but wasn't the backbone of the entire book. I particularly liked the added element of
[ the Chinese heritage and the racial tensions and prejudices of the time. This is explored even more (though not super in depth) in the other two books.
My biggest frustration was the lack of author's notes on the historical aspects. Maybe I'm picky or spoiled or both, but I expect a lot from my historical fiction, especially when it's aimed at a teen audience. I wanted to know if the Thames really was particularly smelly in 1858. And a map of London would have helped me, too.
Mar 31, 2012 10:17AM
I agree with Emily about the author's note and even some suggested nonfiction reading on Victorian England would have been nice. I know as a teen most of my nonfiction reading came out of suggested reads at the end of an historical fiction novel.
I really enjoyed the book. I think the Agency, though probably unrealistic for the time period, was awesome. I loved the strong female characters in the book. I like how there's a touch of romance in the book, but it doesn't become the focus of the book. The biggest thing I love about this book is the social commentary. You have sexism, racism, and class discrimination all together in 330 page book. It's not shoved down your throat but it is shown and you feel it through the character's story. The mystery was great. I know a few people said it was predictable, but I didn't find it that way (I don't read mysteries a lot though so I'm sure sometimes I don't pick up on things). There were so many hints throughout the book, but I didn't put it all together until almost to the end. I don't know if I will read the rest in the series (I have a crazy to-read list as it is) but I am quite intrigued by the concept.
For those of you curious about the smelly Thames in the book, here's an article about it:
Apr 15, 2012 04:48PM
It's been a while since I read this one, but I remember liking it. The time period, the detective agency, a main character with Asian heritage, all cool stuff. The solution of the mystery didn't have any big surprises. I hope the next book will be better. I borrowed the 3rd book and I own the 2nd one. I was excited to hear that the 3rd book would take a surprising turn - thanks for the info, Nanci! :-)
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Books mentioned in this topic
A Spy in the House
The Body at the Tower
The Traitor in the Tunnel
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