It’s best not to mess with Sovay Middleton. When this fearless 17-year-old living in 1794 England finds out her fiancé cheated on her, she disguises herself as a rough-and-tumble highwayman and gallops off, determined to humiliate the “lecherous, double-dealing, false-hearted, despicable, craven little villain.” She does, too. The beautiful heroine, still under the guise of “Captain Blaze,” then embarks on a perilous journey to find her missing father and brother, whose allegedly seditious words have marked them as traitors to England’s king. While rampant spies, gunplay, cross-dressing young male prostitutes, stolen kisses, angry mobs and even the gory public execution of Robespierre keep things spicy, Rees pauses to spell out, often rather stiffly, the political motivations of her characters, with relation to issues of class inequality in particular. The villains look like villains, the right people show up on cue and the frissons of love are just plain odd in this fast-paced, unabashedly over-the-top novel, but readers who want some revolution with their romance may be happy to suspend disbelief and enjoy the swashbuckling. (afterword) (Historical fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59990-203-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008


From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021


A deftly balanced mix of history, intrigue, and romance.

Against the backdrop of World War II, four young women codebreakers put their minds together to find a serial killer.

It’s early 1943, and Arlington Hall, a one-time girls’ school in Virginia, is now the site of a covert intelligence facility where an 18-year-old former maid secretly assumes the new identity Kit Sutherland and becomes a codebreaker. A night out turns deadly when one of their own is murdered, and Kit stumbles across her body in the bathroom. Kit, roommate Dottie, and Moya, the supervisor of their floor, work alongside Violet, one of the Black girls from the segregated codebreaking unit, to bring the culprit to justice. As the budding friends turn their sharp minds and analytical abilities to covertly investigating what turns out to be a series of murders, Kit struggles to keep her own dangerous secret—and her attraction to Moya—under wraps. Meanwhile, Moya will do everything in her power to help her girls while trying not to fall in love with Kit. The novel deftly addresses questions of inequality across class, race, and sexuality in a story that combines well-researched historical background with a nifty whodunit, a strong focus on friendship, and an empowering queer romance. The narrative follows Kit and Moya, making them the better developed characters in the largely White cast. An author’s note includes many resources about the real women whose behind-the-scenes espionage work informed this story.

A deftly balanced mix of history, intrigue, and romance. (Historical thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-33958-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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