Rating: 4 out of 5
I guess you'd call this a sequel to Maid of Secrets, but I'd say it's more of a companion novel and either can be read first. Each book in this series focuses on a different maid of honor in Elizabeth I's court, and Maid of Deception follows Beatrice.
Beatrice is, on the surface, the pretty mean girl of the group who uses her good looks and charms to ferret out secrets for the queen. Meg (the main character in Maid of Secrets) didn't get along with Beatrice very much, but I liked her a whole lot. Jennifer McGowan develops Beatrice's personality well and makes her a character that stands out from the more stereotypical Meg and, for me, made her even more likable.
There's a lot less action in this book as compared to the first (torture! intrigue!) so as far as plot goes the first is stronger. But, I liked Beatrice more and her romance was much more up my alley. So, character girl that I am, I had no trouble staying engaged and I liked this book just as much and possibly even more than the first.
Jennifer McGowan's Maids of Honor series is exactly the type of series I like. It's almost like a comfort read series for me and it's twice now gotten me out of reading slumps. Historical lite, with romance, intrigues, mysteries, political balancing, a tiny touch of paranormal, and likable characters. It's a light series, and despite the high page counts of the books, they're still super fast reads. I can see myself re-reading these books and I'm definitely going to read all of the books as they come out. I just really wish they had different covers.
While this is a series that isn't completely published yet, the nature of the stories (each following a new maid of honor and wrapping up her story) makes it so you can easily read the books as standalones as they are published with no fear of cliffhangers or fading memory.
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