I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids Of Honor #2
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-08-26
Genres: Action & Adventure, Europe, Historical, Royalty, Young Adult
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Elizabethan glamour and intrigue abound in this heart-pounding follow-up to Maid of Secrets, which Kirkus Reviews called “lively and fast-paced” with “plenty of action and plot twists.”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 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.
If you have the end of a book series syndrome after reading the Grave Mercy books by Robin LaFevers, you should pick up the Maids Of Honor series by Jennifer McGowan to fulfill that void in your life. Maid Of Deception is book two in the series and is just as good as its predecessor. McGowan writes an exciting story of courtly intrigue, romance, and espionage. With each new addition to this series, I fall more and more for the writing and the vivid characters. Seriously after finishing up Maid Of Deception I went on Goodreads to check and see when the next book in the series was coming out, only to be disappointed by no information. That stated, I still think you ought to get your hands on the first book, Maid Of Honor, and then immediately grab this second book because these are fast paced and engaging books.
Where Maid Of Honor was about actress and thief Meg Fellowes joining Queen Elizabeth’s stable of female spies, Maid Of Deception is about noblewoman Beatrice Knowles who has a frenemy relationship with the Queen and who has been in her group of spies all along. The book opens with Beatrice about to get married to Lord Cavanaugh which would be a real feather in her cap, given that he’s rich and courtly looking. Unfortunately, the Queen puts a stop to the wedding. She has another purpose in mind for Beatrice. She wants Beatrice to use her womanly charms to gather information from Alasdair MacLeod, of the Scottish delegation from Clan MacLeod. If you remember the last book, you may remember that there was a spark of something between Beatrice and the uncouth Scotsman. And so, Beatrice does her job quite well, hating the queen the whole time. Afterall, the Queen seems determined to use Beatrice as she sees fit and then to destroy her, whether it’s by bankrupting her household or embarrassing her in front of the court. Will Beatrice be able to handle this assignment and keep her heart intact? You’ll have to read Maid Of Deception to find out.
If strong female characters are a trope that you are still into, I think you’ll love Beatrice Knowles. She comes off as a bit of an ice queen but that is for a reason. For most of her life at court, she has had to play a role. She has had to be the Queen’s instrument. And so, she has to put up this facade. Furthermore, it protects her from being hurt. So, she’s got this mean girl exterior. Deep down, though, Beatrice is a kind and caring person. She comes from an estate that takes in foundlings and orphan children. Her mother is addicted to laudanum and I think opium if I remember correctly. Her dad has affairs with different women. Her family estate is ramshackle. The marriage to Lord Cavanaugh was supposed to save her and get her out of being a maid of honor as well as refill the coffers of her family’s estate. I loved how Beatrice was so composed and how she kept denying her inner-emotions for the survival of her family and also because she would do anything for England, even if she does hate the queen.
If you ship Jamie and Claire, I have a feeling you will ship Beatrice and Alasdair. By all accounts and purposes, Alasdair and Beatrice should not suit. Yet, there’s this undeniable chemistry between the two. Even if Beatrice tries to fight it because she has to do her duty to family and kingdom, that chemistry cannot be denied. Alasdair is different from the other members of Elizabeth’s court. He is burly. He speaks his mind. There’s a bit of whimsy about him as he discusses the Fairy Flag (you will see). Anyways, there’s some verbal judo and heavy flirting between Beatrice and Alasdair and you can tell that it’s not just an act, even though Beatrice tries to deny those feelings. Throughout the whole book I pretty much was like, JUST KISS ALREADY. If you like your young adult historical fiction books with a heavy dose of romance, you’ll love Maid Of Deception by Jennifer McGowan.
Jennifer McGowan’s Maids of Honor series is among one of the most underrated series in young adult today. These books have it all — passion, royals, friendship, sisterhood bonds, and machinations. As I got to know the secondary characters even more, I found myself thinking that I could not wait to see a book featuring Jane, who is a bit of an assassin and who already seems to have a romance brewing. I couldn’t wait to read a book about Sophia coming into her seeress powers. I couldn’t wait to read about Anna’s library searches for a secret that could put her life into jeopardy. I just love this series and wish that more people would get their hands on it. Especially people who love books like Gilt or Grave Mercy. I mean, Queen Elizabeth’s elite group of female spies is one of the more intriguing basises for a series that I’ve read.