Thus begins Mary Quinn’s journey from an orphaned thief about to hang for her crimes to a member of a secret society of female investigators born from Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls in Victorian London. Mary excels in training and finds herself a lady’s companion in a household that holds more secrets than anyone could have imagined. With only a few weeks to unlock the dangerous secrets at hand, Mary struggles to uncover the truth about what is really going on in the Thorold household.
Number one in The Agency series, I enjoyed the many surprises that were present throughout the novel. There is an easy pace to the story that seems to belie that it is packed with little details of Victorian London that make a time period so natural it almost feels current. Y.S. Lee holds a PhD in Victorian literature and culture and weaves her knowledge expertly into the fold. Mary is a strong female lead that could stand head to head with any of Tamora Pierce’s fierce woman characters and the twists, turns and yes, even a love interest will keep readers engaged on many levels. I was expecting ok and I got wow instead. 2009, 335 pages.