Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan

Title: Maid of Deception
Author: Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids of Honor #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.

Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion….and her own heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: In a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.


I recently highlighted this series on a list of underrated books because it  really does deserve more love. Both Maid of Secrets and Maid of Deception have everything one could ask for in a Historical Fiction novel. There is never a dull moment in Queen Elizabeth I's court. From entertaining guests to  preventing a war and everything in between, there is always something going on to keep the Maids of Honor busy plotting and scheming to protect the court. And amid the espionage and betrayals, there is beautiful friendship and romance. These books are interesting, swoony, suspenseful, and surprising. Very well-written.

As much as I liked Meg as I got to know her in Maid of Secrets, I was excited to get Beatrice's POV this time around. She wasn't perceived as the warmest of characters in the first book and I wanted to know her story. Beatrice had a complicated life and I definitely understand her better now. And I loved seeing things through her eyes. Meg was new to court, and perhaps viewed things a little naively, especially the Queen. But Beatrice had a lot more history with the Queen and the court, so her perspective and position were much different. It was an interesting contrast.

My heart went out to Beatrice in this book. Try as this girl might she just couldn't catch a break. The Queen and the court were set on tearing her down and it was all she could do just to survive, burdened by this life of lies she created for herself. She was lonely and fearful most of the time but she never showed it. She was so incredibly strong and brave and perfectly clever. I never anticipated that I would grow to admire her so much, but admire her I did.
I never could have guessed that, in the end, my greatest enemy would be...
Myself. - pg 379
I love how Meg's story became Beatrice's story and will next become Sophia's story (and so on) but the court setting and overarching plot remains the same. These girls are all wonderfully diverse and each have a story to tell that I can't wait to have. And with each story we get a more in depth look at Queen Elizabeth's court and the political landscape in Europe. As for the men, I loved Raffe and now Alasdair and I can't wait to meet the man that wins Sophia's heart. I know I can count on him being swoon-worthy.

If you are a fan of Historical Fiction, you must read these books. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite Historical Fiction series, right up there among the likes of His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers. So yeah, pretty damn good.

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