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PRISONERS IN THE PALACE: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

Author: Michaela MacColl

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Publisher: Chronicle Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Liza Hastings never imagined her life taking this kind of turn. She's always had money, she had dreams of being a lady (she's been training for it!). When her parents dies in a carriage crash, Liza's life crashes, too. She has no money, she has no station, and she needs a job. Her only option is to become a maid; and as luck would have it, she becomes a maid to Princess Victoria, the future queen of England. Victoria's handlers - including her mother - have other plans. As Liza digs deeper into the court intrigue, she finds herself in over her head. How can she, a maid,, possibly help Victoria? This is an historical fiction novel told from the perspective of one of Princess Victoria's maids.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 9 and up; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 5

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book from beginning to end. This is historical fiction at its best. The story is compelling, with plenty of suspense / mystery and great characters. I found myself wanting to dig more deeply into 19th Century history and Victoria's ascent to the throne.

Pros: Part mystery, part history - readers will be intrigued by this compelling story. This has excellent potential as a high interest / low readability book.

Cons: None!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least! If you know a reader who loves strong female characters and/or historical fiction, this is a must buy.


Educational Themes: History is artfully woven into this fictional story. This would definitely be a great jumping-off place for exploring Victorian England.

Notes: The Reading Tub read an Advance Review Copy of this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - historical fiction, history, friendship, cultures and tradition, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2010, October 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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