Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bookanista Feature: Author's PRISONERS IN THE PALACE

The Bookanistas are a group of writers - in various stages of the publishing process – who have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers.  No negative reviews here! We post every Thursday and cover various topics– upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews.

 by Michaela MacColl

I knew I wanted to review this book for Bookanistas when I was only about 30 pages in--because it grabbed my attention that quickly, and wouldn't let go at all. 

I first found this book by an interview on The Elevensies site--I thought it was intriguing that the cover didn't have the title on the front (I found a pic with the whole jacket spread for you to see) (and I was going to link to it here, and can't find it at all, fail). The cover's even better when you see that the newspaper-style of the back is actually very relevant to the story. But what really sold me on the book is that it told the story of the young Queen Victoria...before she was queen.

I'll admit: my image of Queen Vic is of her being old and shriveled and dressed in black. I'd never even considered what she was like while young, which is why this book stood out to me. And let me tell you: I devoured it. I read late into the night, three nights in a row, and finished it with a smile on my face. 

Things I loved about PRISONERS IN THE PALACE:
  • It's told from the POV of Queen Victoria's lady's maid. This is good for several reasons:
    • We know Queen Victoria makes it out of the situation--but we don't know about her lady's maid. There is definitely an element of danger and tension for the main character that wouldn't be there for just Queen Victoria.
    • We get an image of below-stairs, which is so cool 
    • Because the maid is a lowly servant, it makes logical sense that she can do something that Queen Victoria couldn't, such as go into the city on her own, etc.
  • The history is fascinating:
    • Did you know that Queen Victoria really was essentially a prisoner in the palace? She was controlled by the man her mother took up with, and had very little freedoms. It's crazy to read about how one of the most powerful monarchs of England spent her childhood under the thumb of minor Irish lord.
    • We get an "inside" look--in the Author's Note, we're told that the "Kensington System" that Queen Victoria was raised under was considered a remarkable education system by outsides, but we can see how cruel it was to Victoria herself by seeing it from the inside.
    • Speaking of: the Author's Note was amazing. Some of the most unbelievable parts of the story--Inside Boy, for one, and a few others that would be spoilers if I mentioned them--were based on actual facts that the author details in the note. Furthermore, Victoria's journal entries are from Victoria's actual journal. Wow.

I highly recommend this book for any history fans out there--and anyone just interested in reading an awesome, gripping story!

PS: Sorry this is late--my internet was down late last night and early this morning!


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