Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 335
This title was recently named to the Iowa High School Award Winners for 2013-2014. The first in this series, Mary is rescued from a death sentence for stealing in 1853 by a woman who runs a special school for young girls. After many years of schooling, Mary is taken into a special program designed to turn young women into spies. Her first assignment is to be the paid companion of a wealthy teenage girl who is ungrateful for the company at best. As Mary enters the house she is supposed to keep her ears open for information about the family business and whether or not they are really suffering from as many lost ships as they claim, but in the end she overhears much more than that. She also meets another spy trying to dig up information on this family. Will he be a threat or an ally? Can Mary perfect her spying skills in order to become a permanent fixture in this alliance?
Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this title because it is set in a unique time period while also including intrigue and mystery. The story moves fairly quickly and the ending is exciting. The final revelation of who is behind the lost ships is surprising, but also a bit confusing in the details for some young readers. Mary’s background is touched on, but readers will look for more to be revealed in the future sequels.