- A Most Dangerous Deception: Being a True, Accurate, and Complete Account of the Scandalous and Wholly Remarkable Adventures of Margaret Preston Fitzroy, Counterfeit Lady, Accused Thief, and Confidential Agent at the Court of His Majesty, King George I. by Sarah Zettel
Quite literally out on the street after she refuses to marry the lecher her wealthy uncle has chosen for her, seventeen-year-old Peggy Fitzroy puts her cleverness and natural people skills to good use as a spy in the court of King George I. Contacted by an old friend of her dead mother’s, Peggy secures a position as Princess Caroline’s lady-in-waiting with the condition that Peggy, like the now-deceased maid before her, relay any and all information about court alliances, rumors, and gossip back to Mr. Tinderflint, Mr. Peele, and Mrs. Abbott, an unlikely trio clearly interested in royal politics—but for what purposes, Peggy is unclear. Once at the palace, of course, Peggy finds herself in over her head and begins to suspect that her benefactors aren’t nearly as interested in her well being as she was led to believe. YA has plenty of female spies snooping around a variety of historical eras, but Peggy still makes an admirable and likable addition to that crew, negotiating both the social theatrics of court life and the life-or-death action of espionage with a keen wit and stunning sense of fashion. Zettel is particularly deft at mining the facts surrounding the 1715 Jacobite rebellion for compelling literary drama, while the bits of romance, intrigue, and occasional catfighting among the ladies-in-waiting ensure that the history lesson is never obvious. This combination of willful heroine and [End Page 245] royal backdrop will appeal to history buffs and readers who like their subterfuge accessorized by a few frills and ruffles.