I'm starting to think I don't really love Queen Victoria books. Michaela MacColl's vapid, demanding, and DULL interpretation of Victoria did nothing to change my feelings.
Thankfully, Victoria wasn't the main character (though her frequent page-time knocked off my stars). Liza is the main character, and I liked this riches to rags girl a whole lot more.
Liza doesn't spend much time dwelling on her parents' deaths. I mean, sure, she mentions it and it affects her, as it should, but she doesn't mope. She recognizes the suckiness of her changed situation (from wealthy girl to orphaned maid servant) but she's wonderfully pragmatic about the whole thing and quickly learns how to play her cards to improve her lot. A thousand points to Liza for being the go-getter I wanted to read about.
Fans of Susan Dennard's scrappy Daniel Sheridan will probably swoon for Liza's scrappy paramour Will (bonus points for the name Will!). Their slow burn romance and subtle scheming (with the help of a charming street urchin) was the highlight of the book for me.
As for the history, I'd categorize this somewhere between heavy, super-detailed Historical fiction and the more backdrop-style historical fiction-lite. There's plenty to learn, with many of the big historical players making an appearance. While it definitely feels old-timey historical, Prisoners in the Palace doesn't bombard the reader with Details.
Prisoners in the Palace was a quick, light, fun book with mostly-likable characters and a plot that kept me entertained. Chapters are super short, making it a breeze to fly through, though I kept getting hung up on the third-person narrative voice (this book SO felt like it was written for first person!).
Victoria soured things for me, which is not necessarily any fault of the author but did affect my enjoyment of the book nevertheless. Everything else was all totally enjoyable, but none went above "very good" and definitely not into "OHMYGOSHLOVE" territory.
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