Palace of Spies, by Sarah Zettel (book review) – impersonation, extortion, treason!

book cover of Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel published by Houghton Mifflin HarcourtDanger, passion, politics, treason,
strictest etiquette ruling every word and movement,
secrets upon secrets in the palace!

Laced tight into her gowns and her role, imposter and spy Peggy is treading on dangerous ground at court with every hand of piquet played and every meaningful glance from her sister ladies-in-waiting.

So much upheaval when Queen Anne died and left no clear successor – George of Hanover is now king of Protestant England, James Stuart the Catholic is sure he’s the true king, and spies in both their courts are trying to make sure the “right” king reigns.

Just published on Nov. 5th, Palace of Spies asks “How brave could you be if your country’s future was at stake?”

Book info: Palace of Spies (Palace of Spies, book 1) / Sarah Zettel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Impersonating a lady-in-waiting is the least of the dangers awaiting Peg in King George’s court, as the orphaned teen must uncover a treasonous plot before the killer strikes again.

Nothing could prepare 16-year-old Peggy for the shock of being thrown bodily into the street when she refuses to marry the abusive man chosen by her guardian. As the poor cousin, she’s always been at the fringes of London society events, so now must accept “Mr. Tinderflint’s” offer of help, curious about how he knew her late mother.

How very odd! Her unladylike skill with languages will help Peg become Lady Francesca, a lady-in-waiting whom Princess Caroline thinks is recovering from a terrible illness. Evidently, no one knows that Fran died while away from the court, so Peg will step into her silk brocade shoes and continue spying in the palace! Dangerous times in 1761 England, as King George has been placed on the throne over James Stuart, who is still trying to become King.

Now Peg/Fran must balance not only her towering wig and court etiquette, but also the demands of Tinderflint’s partners for daily reports, the jealousy of other ladies-in-waiting, a handsome artist, and an unsuitable suitor with Stuart sympathies!

Can she keep fooling everyone in Hampton Court?
Which side of the royal dispute is Tinderflint on?
How can a Lady ever be with a mere artist?

Spies everywhere, coded messages in the woodwork, and no way to let her cousin know she’s still alive – Peggy has her clever hands full in this first book of the Palace of Spies series. (One of 6,000 books recommended on

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