Source: Personal Copy
The first novel in the Agency series sets up a fascinating story about a young girl given a second chance at life. Orphan Mary Quinn is sentenced to death when her life takes a turn for the worst, and she is forced to steal as a means of survival. The loss of both her parents leaves her with no place to go, and no one to turn to, when she is arrested she must accept her punishment of death by hanging. At the last minute Mary is rescued from the noose and whisked away to an “all girl’s” boarding school where she remained until an unusual offer was given to her. A secret agency hiding within the school walls, under the pretense of school advisors- seek Mary to become one of their newest spies. At the age of seventeen she is sent to live in a smuggler’s household as his daughter’s paid companion, she must gain information and report back to the agency. Mary doesn’t sit idly, and she takes it upon herself to investigate further putting herself in danger. Soon Mary is in deeper than she should be, and forced to align herself with an unlikely ally.
I’m very proud to state that Y.S Lee is a Canadian author! I’ve wanted to read these books for awhile, and I was so excited to find out that the author is Canadian. A Spy in the House was a great read, full of mystery, great characters and cleverly plotted clues. While Mary has been schooled as a Victorian lady she doesn’t always fit the mold. She is a quick witted, feisty and independent character vowing to never marry. Character and plot development were very well done. Lee did a great job keeping her characters in the Victorian period and not modernizing them. I love the dialogue between James and Mary. I thought the plot was very original, Victorian women working as undercover spies. I don’t read much mystery, and especially not Young Adult mystery but this one was great. I will be picking up the next books in the series as well. The Agency is fast paced, detailed, and enthralling. I think this one is great for both adults and young adults. Filled a little romance, and a great mystery.