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From the streets of Tokyo to the slums of Central Texas, Quinn matches wits with an array of cutthroats and killers. Get A Copy. More Details Original Title. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. All Languages.

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More filters. Sort order. Yoshiblackluvstoread Andino rated it liked it Jun 18, Thomas Zahler marked it as to-read Dec 27, Amy Ratcliffe marked it as to-read Dec 28, Walter Schoenly marked it as to-read Jul 29, Michael Guy marked it as to-read Sep 21, Klemann added it Oct 02, Her characterizations are bloody awesome. Mary Quinn is by no means perfect and it is her imperfections that, ironically, make her perfect.

The beginning grips you with the bleakness of her fortune, with the depths of despair that have led her to that point and the ending leaves you bemused by the distance she has traveled within the scope of the book alone. I like the fact that Mary is human enough to be relatable to me. That she can give in to human vanity and despite having had to grow up so fast, still retain that sense of childishness, that intrinsic immaturity that is so common to people of her age.

Not that I mean anything negative by that. I like that. James Easton is delicious as the unwilling hero of the tale. Not that he takes over the tale entirely. We see glimpses of the story through his eyes and what this does is deepen our appreciation of Mary and the entire novel. He is defined enough that you can, through his unwilling fascination with Mary Quinn, structure the hierarchy in the story and place the social status of the various characters.

He also spices up the narrative because the romantic tension between him and Mary Quinn is enough to make a girl swoon. The other characters are also interestingly hewed. I love it when the author spends enough time to create original characters no matter how small their part in the narrative is instead of using stereotyped, stock characters. This shows that the author has imagined the world she has created down to the last detail. And furthermore, that she respects the intelligence of her readers.

The narrative brings up some very interesting points. The role of women in the society at the time the novel is set in is one of the things discussed.

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Their limited freedom and the stereotypes they lived under. And what breaking away from these stereotypes and expectations would mean to a woman. In fact, this is one of the most interesting things about the novel. So the verdict? Read the book. It has everything a good book needs and is everything a wonderful book should be.

I recommend it to everyone who likes good literature. Mar 11, Minli rated it it was ok Shelves: young-adult , historical. Oh, the Agency. I read you in hopes of reading a version of the Gallagher Girls spy school! Here are the ways in which you disappointed me: 1. You play Victorian dress-up, but really, you're a modern girl at heart who likes to swear and call boys by their first names. Also, being a "lady"--I do not think it means what you think it means. I was teased completely by Mary being half-Chinese, but then Lee spoke very little to that experience.

That Oh, the Agency. That's one of my main problems with books set during this time. When I look for diversity, I either get a completely sanitized version of it, or nothing at all. The book seemed to be a collection of scenes, with the solution to the mystery all infodumped in a few paragraphs. There are way more elegant ways to write mysteries! Honestly, this book was fluff.

Probably satisfying fluff when one's in the mood, but I've read better developed stuff. Nothing really managed to pack an emotional punch--betrayal, anger, remorse, etc. There're some nice shades of depth to Angelica and Mrs. Thorold, but the only thing that could have saved this book would be more kissing James is definitely my type--a tad too charming, shows disdain for social niceties, incisive, brooding and actually man of trade as he is an architect but there wasn't enough of it.

This will sound like I'm jumping ahead a year, but I would recommend Gail Carriger's upcoming novels, Etiquette and Espionage over this for a similar flavour; it is a more tongue-in-cheek, b not professed to be historical fiction, and c way funnier. Jun 23, Sharon rated it liked it. I like it. It was interesting. I love the spying and espionage aspect. Also, I have never seen a heroine with a Chinese heritage she's mixed in a Victoria era novel before. The love interest, James, is cool too.

I like the bantering. I don't really have much to say. I like it, but also I can't say that it knocked my socks off. I did get bored at some parts. I am hoping to see great developments in the later books. Angst level? Other things to note? No cheating. Low-medium angst. When Mary goes to see Anna for help and guidance.

No explicit scenes. Teens and up. Quick paced, fun, and yes, a cute mystery read! Ah, YA, you are my comfort zone. Great female protagonist! Mary Quinn is strong, independent, determined, and a smart character. She really breaks through society's expectations of 'hollow housewife', and takes risks in finding the necessary information for the case.

Ah, sweet romantic tension. This novel is not overly romantic, but the tense relationship between Mary and James is just cute. Seriously, how they meet made me Quick paced, fun, and yes, a cute mystery read! Seriously, how they meet made me grin from ear to ear. Loved the setting and time period. Issues of gender roles are challenged, and expectations are shattered. It didn't capture me, and became secondary to other aspects of the story, like characters and side stories.

Identity, and race are addressed, and it was very refreshing to read about. I haven't come across a book that deals with racial identity.


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You can check out my video review here! Oct 17, Paige Bookdragon rated it it was ok Shelves: not-for-me , lurrrve , young-adult , needs-a-bit-substance , not-my-type-but-its-okay , regency-historical-romance , mystery. I thought this is a mystery, action packed book with a dash of romance. The mystery? I didn't feel anything. The action? Me:I want some dirty fist fight and "running around in London while being chased by the damn crooks" moment.

The book: LOL! The romance? Give me love! Mar 05, Tara Chevrestt rated it it was amazing Shelves: england , historical-fiction , ya , mystery. A must read for fans of historical fiction, mystery, and strong heroines. An orphan destined for the gallows, Mary is rescued by a school for girls that is an agency on the side. Her first assignment: Pose as a lady's companion and extract as much information as she can about stolen goods from India. We meet an interesting cast of characters as Mary becomes embroiled in more than the bargained for A must read for fans of historical fiction, mystery, and strong heroines.

We meet an interesting cast of characters as Mary becomes embroiled in more than the bargained for. The ladies of the house have mysterious comings and goings. Perhaps an illicit love affair or two is in the works? The sexy yet frustratingly arrogant, James Easton, keeps popping up at the worst moments, in wardrobes and broken into warehouses. Also Mary suspects a young boy is following her about, spying on the spy. While all these goings on are occuring, Mary's own family history begins to come to light and may even have some bearing on the present case.

Either way, Mary must come to terms with who she is. A fun read and it's staying on my shelf, eagerly awaiting the rest of the series. For those that are interested, the author has a great contest going on her blog. Finish this sentence and be entered for a prize. She is a an excellent judge of character. She is also quite fierce despite her size 14 pounds and she would detain the bad guys by holding on to their pant legs and growling in the brief amount of time it takes me to grab my 9mm or my pruning shears, whatever the job requires…gotta earn that code name!

When not spying and nabbing bad guys, Lola and I would be cruising around in our Aston Martin. Aug 07, Rachel rated it it was ok Shelves: ya-books. Very disappointed in this one as the premise was quite promising. Set in Victorian London, a 17 year old girl goes undercover as a paid ladies companion in a wealthy family to uncover a smuggling scheme. The girl is a student of 'the agency' - a group that takes poor, smart girls and turns them into spies for hire.

One of the things that really caught my attention about this book is that the author has a Phd in Victorian literature and culture. I expected the book to 'ring-true' in terms of the p Very disappointed in this one as the premise was quite promising. I expected the book to 'ring-true' in terms of the place and people.

It did not. The dialogue in particular and behavior of the characters all seemed very, very modern annoyingly so. Also, while this is marketed as a mystery, it is really more romance than mystery. Most of the book has the heroine and her beau arguing for the sake of arguing or for the sake of romantic tension? I could see the plot twists coming a mile away and there were LOTS of cliches.

There were also some really incredible coincidences The heroine gets an assignment with the one family in London that can lead her to the one person in the world who can give her information on her father - But it's just a coincidence? The theme of the book women are better off pursuing their dreams rather than getting married and having babies isn't subtle.

I got sick of hearing about it. The only married woman in the story is shown as a horrible person and the single girls who run from marriage are all heroic. The one thing I did like is the heroine's ethnicity. I wished that had been explored more. Nov 30, Shantelle rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , reviewed , young-adult , historical , suspense-mystery , early-to-mids.

An interesting mystery story! I enjoy a good mystery in an intriguing historical setting - such as the Victorian era, in this case. There was a smidgen of romance, but mostly arguing, between our two main characters. Some minor language and misuses of God's name. Also, mentions of mistresses and affairs. If I ever collected this series, I'd have to do a bit of whiting-ou An interesting mystery story!

If I ever collected this series, I'd have to do a bit of whiting-out. Nothing extreme though. Feb 12, Sara Grochowski rated it it was amazing Shelves: reviewed , candlewick , , young-adult , historical , spies , feminism , mystery. I sometimes find that novels with historical settings can be a bit dry, but Y. Lee has rekindled my love affair with Victorian England. With her quick wit and adventuresome spirit, Mary Quinn has quickly become one of my favorite main characters!

There were enough clues present that I could determine some of the lies and secrets, but the biggest aspect of the mystery remained a riddle for most of the novel. Mary is forced to hide in a wardrobe when she is nearly discovered poking through an off-limits office, only to find the wardrobe is already occupied. Not only is he funny, smart, and mysterious, I always end up picturing him as James McAvoy. This definitely enhances my reading experience. I like mystery and historical novels, but I don't usually love them. Somehow, I have come to love the Mary Quinn mysteries.

If you have any interest in mysteries, James McAvoy, or kickass girl spies, you need to read this book! I had forgotten all about this series! The first time I read this book, I was 12 and I had absolutely adored it, but I wanted to see if my feelings would change upon reading it a second time and this time, in french. I'm happy to say that they didn't! This was still the fun mystery story that I remember reading, and I'm so glad that I picked it up. I won't be writing a full review for this because I'm lazy but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.


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  5. I mean, there was: -a half-asian MC, I know, just I had forgotten all about this series! I mean, there was: -a half-asian MC, I know, just let that sink in. A half-asian MC in Victorian London. May 18, K. I loved the concept of this book. I mean, a school in Victorian London that trains working class girls to NOT be reliant on men for an income or a roof over their heads?

    And a school that's actually secretly an agency that sends women out on covert missions for Scotland Yard or whoever, because nobody pays attention to maids and housekeepers and companions? I also loved that Mary is a mixed race protagonist. This fact doesn't come out until half way through the book, but I 3. Her father was Chinese, and she's changed her name in order to pass as white. Anyway, while I loved the concept and the fact that it featured a person of colour protagonist, this dragged for me a lot of the time.

    My favourite thing about it was the banter filled relationship between Mary and James, and I'm intrigued to see if he crops up in the other books in the series. So it was fun, but not outstanding for me. Oct 14, Katie rated it liked it Shelves: books-read-innew , books-read-in , how-library , format-ebook. Hmmm, I liked this, but it also seemed maybe quite not all there? I'm not sure if I think Mary should've put more pieces together or if I think the book should've had more clues. There was also a bit of Mary concealing stuff from the reader--not terribly so, but it inched near the line of being annoying.

    Wish I shipped the ship more, too. It's not a major thread, but I always like my romance. Mystery was good, main character was awesome, loved the romantic interest and the ending was amazing. Go pick up this book right now! Apr 24, Ambs rated it really liked it. A Spy in the House is full of witty banters and a charming male lead with an acerbic sense of humor. I will admit that occasionally the banter stretches to the point of being unnecessary that I forget about the plot.

    They are just that fantastic. Sadly, the narration was too dry and straightforward for me; I was disappointed with the lack of attention to detail and imagery, especially since Y. Lee sets up the story from the beginning to show Mary Quinn's ability to scrutinize her surroundings with detail and care this girl knows the dimensions of a room and the diameter of a table, for crying out loud, so show me more of that!

    King Arthur - Historical Fiction Series

    I could see that she was independent, tenacious, and clever by nature, but I felt strangely detached from her thoughts, her emotions, and at times, her dialogue. It was difficult for me to immerse myself into the world of Mary Quinn and fictional gritty Victorian London.

    The only thing I found to be Victorian about this book was the description of the Thames River, a beautifully and elaborately written scene about unsanitary sewers to the strewn of rotting corpses that line the river, thus infesting the air with its permanent stench. I could visualize the effect the river has on the residents. I really wished Y. Lee had invested more time in portraying the rest of London as she had of the river. In addition, the mysterious Agency served as a weak catalyst for the series; nothing much about this institution is offered other than its adamancy towards women being independent.

    I thought the mystery plot was thinly written. As a whole, it came off as just silly, especially when the revelation was finally made. By the last couple of chapters, it becomes so obvious who the culprit is because almost every other potential suspect in the book vanishes by then. That and the evidences leading to the culmination of the mystery were either too convenient or incidental.

    Like the appearance of George Easton- the poor guy shows up only for one chapter and then pretty much just goes away into his sad little corner to play his sad little accordion for the rest of the book after having introduced his more important younger brother, James into the story. There were so many ways the narration could have worked to the advantage of the plot and characters to create a stronger, plausible mystery, like cohesive red herrings or clues that allow for the reader to visualize the surroundings and determine what sticks out as odd, but the details were so limited in A Spy in the House that all you had to help you uncover the mystery was the dialogues between the characters.

    Speaking of which, the characters in the story must not be familiar with the art of being covert. As critical as I am about the major imperfections of A Spy in the House, I really did enjoy the chemistry between Mary and James once I got over the very modern vernacular. Lee has in store for Mary Quinn. Mar 06, Jaclyn rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-mystery , victorian , mystery , teen-fiction , historical.

    A Spy in the House follows reformed thief, Mary Quinn, when she starts her first assignment for the mysterious women's detective agency run by her school headmistresses. Mary is placed in the Thorold household as a paid companion for the family's daughter, Angelica. Mary's mission is to use her position to investigate the suspicious shipping company that Mr.

    Thorold runs. Mary ends up becoming more embroiled than she was intended, eventually unraveling the mystery. However, she also learns about A Spy in the House follows reformed thief, Mary Quinn, when she starts her first assignment for the mysterious women's detective agency run by her school headmistresses. However, she also learns about some mystery surrounding her own Chinese heritage, which she has been keeping under wraps due to prejudice. While several threads of the story were not wrapped up, it is evident that Mary's Chinese heritage will be explored in the next novels in the series.

    What I liked about the novel: I loved the atmosphere of the novel, which was set in Victorian England. I partly enjoyed this setting because I had finished another Victorian-based mystery, The Yard by Alex Grecian that will be published in June Overall, I felt that the setting was well described and the research and expertise of the author was well conveyed. I also liked the characterization of the main character in the novel.

    Lee unflinchingly portrayed Mary's unfortunate history as a thief and as a daughter of a mother who was forced into prostitution. Mary's characterization was great and she was a strong female character. The depiction of Victorian life was also great because it was something that I found educational about the book. Lee included a lot of the terrible things that were occurring to those of a lower social class - the lack of occupations to women, class-ism, racism etc.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this young adult novel and would recommend it for teens who like mysteries. Looking forward to the next books in the series. View all 4 comments. This was one of those books that I could have read in one sitting, if I didn't have to eat, sleep, and work like your typical human. I bitterly set it down between shifts at work, and eagerly snatched it up at every spare bit of time I had.

    I am guilty of walk-reading with this one! The book never really drags since the author brilliantly likes to skip over the more boring bits like training montages and end This was one of those books that I could have read in one sitting, if I didn't have to eat, sleep, and work like your typical human. The book never really drags since the author brilliantly likes to skip over the more boring bits like training montages and endless carriage rides and while it definitely has its flaws and borders on melodrama at points especially towards the end, mah gawd , the good points far outweigh the bad.

    It's marketed as either mystery or romance--there is more intrigue than mystery and the "romance" is mostly quippy dialogue, inappropriate social situations, and at one point a punch in the face like I said, Mary is GREAT. I highly recommend this if you like the idea of historical fiction set in the Victorian era, but you can't quite commit to the dialogue or writing style that usually comes with books of that sort.

    If you loved that movie, you will fall head over heels for this gem. Dec 17, Kristi rated it really liked it. For some reason, I was really apprehensive about reading this novel. I was intrigued by the summary, I loved the cover, but I was lax about picking it up. And even now, I'm not exactly sure why I was hesitant to start it. But I'm glad I finally read it because I was pleasantly surprised! The setting itself was enthralling I even managed to learn a few things, that is always a positive.

    I wasn't just impressed with the setting, but with the characters as well. Especially Mary, she was the kick-butt heroine that I love reading about it. This was easy novel to read, it wasn't too complex. The main plot was overshadowed at times by smaller subplots, but that is often the case in the beginning of a series. It's necessary sometimes to build that relationship with the reader, to give them something to look forward to in the succeeding novels.

    But even with that, I'm sure readers will be flipping through the pages to solve the mystery along with Mary and James. I know that is what I did! This is a great start to a series and I'm looking forward to reading the rest. Jan 26, Elliot A rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , crime-thriller-mystery , ya. What a great premise this book had; female spies in Victorian England. It was fast-paced, entertaining, contained humour as well as the real struggles women had to face during a time period that is mostly represented as romantic.

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    The plot was just that, a spy on a mission to uncover secrets, intrigues, shifty intentions and so much more. The characters, both main and secondary, were very well created and are capable of bringing about a range of emotions from the reader. The protagonist, a multidim What a great premise this book had; female spies in Victorian England.

    The protagonist, a multidimensional character, is a great foundation to base a mystery series on. The writing was good and easy to follow; however, once in a while there would be a sentence that did not make any sense at all, would feel chopped up and half finished and there are some spelling mistakes in the book as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this story of a female spy in Victorian London and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I would recommend it to anyone, who enjoys mystery, Victorian England and females that defy the odds.

    Aug 24, Nikki rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction-alternatehistory , mystery. I found A Spy in the House to be pretty entertaining, but fluffy. It didn't require much thought or attention: I wasn't bothered by Mum's snoring in the background a flight from the UK to Italy is so tiring , or the conversations going on just outside the hotel room.

    Fun, but not taxing.