Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: Assassin by Lady Grace Cavendish (Patricia Finney)

Assassin (The Grace Mysteries #1), by Lady Grace Cavendish, aka Patricia Finney
Release Date: September 28, 2004
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 194
Received: Library book
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Amazon Page
Serving as a lady's maid for Queen Elizabeth I, Lady Grace is grudgingly faced with the task of choosing a husband out of three possible candidates selected by the Queen. The seemingly simple task is complicated when one of Grace's suitors is found murdered, another suitor is suspected, and her third suitor begins behaving in ways most strange. With the implicit permission of the Queen, Grace joins forces with a maid and a jester and sets out to solve the mysteries surrounding her suitors.


While this is the first book in a series, the story is complete and can easily be read as a standalone. Told in diary entries, the reader gets to know Grace well. Spunky and clever, Grace is sweet and interesting enough to engage older teens, but her emotional dilemmas will also resonate with younger readers. While everything comes together perhaps a little too neatly in the end, the mystery is sufficiently interesting (if not overly suspenseful) and the characters are engaging enough to overlook the saccharine ending.

A glossary of terms will help younger readers learn about objects, customs, events, and sayings of the time without dragging down the story with distracting historical explanations. While educative in this regard, the behavior of the characters is more modern, making the book less historically accurate, but probably more interesting for modern young readers. This is a good pick for pre-teens, some teens, and classroom shelves. I will probably pick up the series again at some point, but I'm not in a rush. The new cover for the bind up edition (books one and two) is pretty and seems aimed to attract a teen audience (whereas the old cover seems pretty clearly tween).

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key  


  1. Interesting, I don't think I've ever read a series told in diary entries before.

  2. It seemed a little gimmicky, but it ultimately worked. They sort of start off like diary entries, but then just pretty much sound like any other first person narration. I think it worked as diary entries, but it also would have worked just as well as a regular story.

  3. Oooh, interesting selection! It sounds like a great, simple mystery. I love the new cover!

  4. Thanks :) The guy who did the new cover is one of my favorite cover artists, Larry Rostant. It was a very cute little mystery.

  5. I like the second cover. There is definitely an air of mystery. I like the idea of the diary entries. I don't read many historical sort of books so this could be an interesting read. Thanks for the review :)

  6. You're welcome :) It's a good intro for someone who doesn't read much historical fiction. The characters are very modern, so it's not like you're thrown into something totally alien.

  7. Lovely review, I'm not familiar with this series but it sounds thoroughly enjoyable! I do love the new cover, definitely one that would make me want to pick it up and read it. I'm so glad that even though this is the first in a series, it reads like a complete story. I adore book series, but sometimes I get frustrated when I'm either not given enough information because all will be revealed in time, or I'm left hanging. Thanks for sharing this one!

  8. I haven't read this series, but it's popular at my library-especially with girls who still want historical fiction but have outgrown American Girl. I love the new cover too-mostly because the dress is so pretty!:)

  9. I love the cover! I'm not a big fan of historical fiction but I'll enjoy a mystery from time to time. XD. I should put this on my to-read list.

  10. Great review & I'm loving the second cover! Just dropping by to congratulate you on The Versatile Blogger award that we awarded you over at Diary of a Book Lover! So drop by to accept it :D

  11. Jenny, I agree about series. I also have a terrible memory for them, and sometimes I just don't want to get wrapped up in one thing for so long. I was very happy that this book ends completely.

    GreenBeanTeenQueen, for girls who have outgrown American Girl is a perfect description of this book. Isn't that dress pretty? It's what catches my eye.

    Need-Tea, this one is much less "historical fiction" because the characters are so modern. You're really not immersed in the historical time period at all.

    Lisanna, Thank you for the award! :)

  12. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my Top Ten Tuesday post! I like Meliara too - I admire her for being so bold, courageous and for speaking her mind honestly - but I wasn't too sure that we would necessarily get along so well LOL. I think if we did become friends, though, she'd be a very loyal one.

    Haven't heard of this Grace Mysteries series before, but I do love that newer cover! They sound like fun :)

  13. You're welcome. I was so happy to see Crown Duel on your list. :) Haha, yes, it would be a bit of a...challenging friendship, but worth it in the end, I think.

    The first book was fun. :)

  14. Ooo I love the cover with actual picture of a girl next to the review. These are completely different to the UK covers

  15. Me too! The new cover is a huge improvement.

  16. I've never heard of this series before. It sounds fun, though. If they're making an omnibus edition now, it should be easier to find, too. Though I'm rarely a fan of diary-style. The cover's pretty, too! :)

  17. A Backwards Story, It probably will be easier to find with the new editions, especially with their pretty covers. I was torn on the diary style used here. It was ok, but a lot of the time it felt more like I was reading just a normal first person narration and so I wondered why they bothered making them diary entries.


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