Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

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Overview

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?

Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this riveting novel is as rich in historical detail as Catherine, Called Birdy, and as sizzling with intrigue as The Luxe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811873000
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date: 10/13/2010
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Michaela MacColl studied multi-disciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and three extremely large cats in Connecticut. This is her first book.

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Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
DorianSD More than 1 year ago
With its pink cover reading the words of 'a novel of intrigue and romance', I was not eager to begin reading Prisoners in the Palace. However, after finishing the last half of the novel in a day I was surprised to find that I really did like it. The book centers on Elizabeth Hastings, who arrives in England to find marriage, but ends as an orphan left with unpaid debts. She takes up a job as Princess Victoria's maid and plunges into a mystery that will lead to a very dangerous plot. Liza, Her Majesty, a boy who lives in the walls, and a charming newspaper man, will help the princess become queen. I really enjoyed the theme of the book. It starts off slow, but really picks up later in the book, you can't put it down until you know how it ends. On top of that, besides some of the main characters and some plot elements, the whole story is true! Michaela MacColl did an amazing job capturing the tale and I recommend it to older teens, especially girls, looking for an engaging history lesson.
SueBE More than 1 year ago
This book is a tough one to categorize. Part mystery, part historical fiction, part romance it is definitely a 100% page turner. In running errands for the princess and tracking down clues, Liza finds herself in the worst parts of London. The bad guys are so bad that you'll want to read on to find out how and when Liza and Victoria prevail. It is even more exciting because so many of these people, or those much like them, existed. MacColl does such a good job with the characterization and weaving in the historic details that you'll find yourself wondering which parts truly happened and which are pure fiction (answers can be found in the author's note). When you pick this one up, or give it as a gift, make sure the calendar is open for some serious reading. -SueBE
Angeline_Walsh More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The Victorian-esque cover at once caught me eye (because I'm obsessed with the Victorian era), and the layout and premise of the book seemed interesting and unique. If you love Historical Fiction, or just a well-written book about friendship and romance, this book should appeal to you. I really liked the main characters, they were witty and daring. I loved Victoria and "Inside Boy" and Will! Really great characters. The story is easy to follow and actually has quite a bit of adventure. "Prisoners in the Palace" impressed me, and I recommend it greatly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book I have ever read. Filled with intrigue and romance (as it states on the cover), this book captivates you attention from the first page and doesn't let you go until you've read it cover to cover. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read- whether you enjoy historical fiction or not. Read this book- you won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader and can tell good quality when i see it. This was truly one of the best books i have read. I love everything about the story ; the characters, the plot, the truth behind it all. I could not put this book down . I look forward to the authors next book!
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I loved the writing, I loved Liza, and all the other characters in this book were just wonderful to read. The plot was really good and the pacing was well done. For those that love intrigue into their historical fiction, you will also find that here. Sir John is certainly the type of villain to make your skin crawl and his plotting with the Duchess gives the plot a good amount of intrigue to enjoy. Victoria was made to be seen as a spoiled brat, but at the same time she acts this way because she's lonely and has no one of her age to be with, so her friendship with Liza is somewhat of a Princess/maid relationship, but at times they also put aside their class differences and act like real true friends would. What I really liked best about this book is that the plot never did slow down, it was a constant steady flow and there was never any stalls or anything done to extend the plot. It got really interesting in the end and made the perfect climax to any story. The author's note in the end was good and provided good information for further reading. There was only one criticism, and that was Albert. I didn't think he was such a surly guy, then again they were younger at the time and he probably did change as he grew older. I was hoping for more of a love story between Victoria and Albert, but it was not to be, they weren't such a big focus at this time. No matter though, this was just a small setback but nothing that would change my opinion about this book. I recommend this book for all those in love with the Victorian age! it was a wonderful book to read. Those who like YA books would also love this book as well.
BookHounds More than 1 year ago
This is a well conceived historical fiction for young adults that many adults will want to read as well. Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and the Victoria Era probably my favorite. Elizabeth is orphaned and left with nothing but an education, she has no choice but to work as a lady's maid. Her fortunes take a turn when she lands a position with Princess Victoria during her teen years. There is a lot of court intrigue with Elizabeth taking part in solving mysterious intrigues and befriending Victoria. I loved how I was drawn in be the wealth of fact woven into the fiction of the story. It was so believable that you could just feel yourself inside Kensington Palace and it is nice to see Victoria portrayed as full of joy and life instead of her later years. I think this is best suited for those over 12 years old since there is some visits to unsavory parts of London. More, please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is enjoyable, and it takes you to a period of palaces, princesses, and ball gowns. It has humor, suspence, and romance. Definetly recommend it.
FionaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seventeen-year-old Liza Hasting¿s dream of a successful debut season in London is dashed when her parents are killed in a carriage accident. Left penniless and deeply in debt, her only chance to survive is an opportunity to become Princess Victoria¿s maid. Suddenly going from lady to servant is hard enough, but Liza soon gets caught up in the intrigue going on behind the scenes in Kensington Palace.Victoria is the heir to the British throne, but her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and her devious adviser, Sir John Conroy keep her under their thumb, bringing her up by the ¿Kensington Method¿ which keeps her isolated from society. She has lessons every day, her clothes are much too young for her and she can¿t even walk down a staircase by herself because ¿she might fall.¿With Victoria¿s uncle, the King, in poor health, she could inherit any day. Liza finds out how the Duchess and Sir John plan to rule the country themselves by making the Duchess regent for Victoria until she is 21. But Victoria is determined to rule for herself.When Liza meets Will, a charming newspaperman who has been publishing broadsheets full of gossip about Victoria, the girls decide to start spreading some rumors of their own, which nearly leads to disaster. Can Victoria and Liza truly be friends, despite the difference in their ranks? Will Sir John¿s plotting give him the power and money he craves? Will Liza have to remain a maid forever, or might she find true love with Will? And will Victoria reign as Queen of Great Britain in her own right?This delightful historical novel gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of early Victorian England: the hierarchy of servants, the ins and outs of the newspaper trade, royal scandal and the realities of life for those who fall through the cracks.
TheRandomGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
've heard quite good things about Prisoners In The Palace, and me being so wildly interested in history that I think I was probably born in the wrong century, I had to pick this up. I had to read it. Besides, the cover was so hauntingly beautiful, Victoria's blue eyes stared at you with beauty, grace, and power. I have to say, I loved the cover, hands on. Michaela MacColl almost got me fooled, I thought that Liza was really present during the time of the young Princess Victoria, until I read at the end that she sadly, was not real. Michaela MacColl gave Liza such a character with power and strength that I thought she should be Queen. Liza's smart, head-strong, and a young lady. It's like you could hear the power in both Liza and Princess Victoria's voices; and that's all Michaela MacColl's doing. She was able write as if what Princess Victoria and Liza (if she were real) truly uttered it. It brings you back into the 19th century. The others characters such as Sir John Conroy, who ticked the life out of me, Will, who tickled my excitement, and Inside Boy, who sometimes got me chuckling for no reason at all. Each character made me feel something dislike, love, and like. Some characters are ones who portray real people living during that century, take Annie for example. Her story didn't go so well neither did it end well, some women's stories were similar to hers. Michaela MacColl let us take a peek into history, take a peek into different characteristics and motivations. After I finished Prisoners In The Palace, I couldn't stop thinking about it! It's not boring nor too extreme. Including scandals, romance, history, the book is so brilliantly woven it'll capture anyone's heart and mind with its captivating flow of words. You can bet I'm going to watch The Young Victoria again...and again...and again.
GTTexas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A little slow to grab your interest, but when it does, you're hooked! A well plotted historical novel that holds your interest to the very end. Very enjoyable read.
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The topic of the book is interesting. This is a fictional account of Queen Victoria before she is crowned Queen of England. The book outlines Victoria's life the year before her 18th birthday, the death of her uncle, the King, and the meeting between Victoria and her future husband, Albert. The story displays the beliefs and customs of the time. The story is written mostly in dialogue and short journals, with very little detailed description. Again, the topic is interesting and the writing is not detailed as this is a fictional account of Victoria.
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a fan of historical fiction, it's interesting to see a somewhat small surge in young adult historical novels being published. Not just any YA historicals like Dear America or other power franchise, but completely new novels that explore fascinating periods of history through the eyes of young narrators. I wasn't particularly interested in Michaela MacColl's Prisoners in the Palace, but after winning it (without really trying) in an online giveaway, I decided to give it a try and am glad that I did.Prisoners in the Palace explores the younger years of Queen Victoria, particularly in the period just before she becomes queen and all of the politics and intrigue she has to go through to become queen. The tale is told through the eyes of Liza, a young noblewoman who falls on tough times after her parents are killed in a carriage accident. Desperate for income, Liza becomes a servant to Princess Victoria, but finds that her job is more difficult than she thinks. After befriending Victoria, Liza uses her connections, and her wits, to help the ambitious young woman secure the British throne.Though primarily told through the eyes of Liza, Prisoners also includes excerpts from Victoria's diary and correspondence between Liza and a journalist, who helps in the intrigue. Having the changing point of view provides some really interesting and somewhat unexpected insight into the other characters and, most importantly, their motivations -which is a key element of this novel. It also helps that MacColl has a strong style with plenty of period detail that feels well-researched and knowledgeable.I especially enjoyed reading about the character of Victoria and her relationship with Liza. Unfortunately, the only issue with this is that, overall, Victoria grew into a much more interesting character than Liza, who was the narrator, even though Liza has more character growth throughout the course of the novel. While Prisoners is definitely a solid YA historical novel, it was a little rough around the edges, and, unfortunately, is overshadowed by more recent novels published in the genre that not only had higher profile marketing programs, but were just better books. However, MacColl definitely has promise as an author and I'd be interested to see what she does with future novels.
RivkaBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is concentrated mostly on Elizabeth 'Liza' Hastings - a gentleman's daughter who finds herself penniless and orphaned after an accident, and manages to snag a position as maid to Princess Victoria. Because Liza is fluent in German, she is hired to act as spy and 'protector' of sorts for Victoria - finding out what is going on in the palace, trying to keep the Princess's power intact. Along the way, Liza discovers just how much IS going on in the palace - and makes a host of new friends, from 'Inside Boy' living in the palace walls to Will - the handsome young entrepreneur running a newspaper. As well as finding a friend in Princess Victoria herself.There is a lot going on in the novel - a lot of characters involved, and so much intrigue and mystery! I was fascinated from page one, and loved watching the characters develop. Liza has much to learn about herself and her new life - she has to confront societal norms and decide what is best for her. Likewise, Victoria grows and develops throughout the story - from a spoiled child to the girl who is young, but ready to be Queen. Reading, I was reminded a lot of when I watched The Young Victoria, and the way she grew and matured - and am even more fascinated by the person, the idea, of Queen Victoria. This is another one of those books that has triggered a want to hunt through some nonfiction, I think. Definitely a good read, easy and fun - but a story of quality and depth too.
quaintlittlehead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read an Advanced Reading Copy of this text, and wish I had noticed on the back cover the suggestion that the novel was suitable for ages 12 and up before I had started reading; I would have had a much less critical view of the style in the early pages if I had known it were intended for a young audience. In hindsight, however, this book very successfully plays to both young adults and older readers thanks to an eminently gripping story. The book deals with the young Queen Victoria and the circumstances of her ascension to the throne, in spite of a scheming mother and the latter's untrustworthy companion, who seek to benefit by delaying Victoria from gaining the crown. These details, unbeknownst to me when I started reading, are based in fact, so right off the premise is both interesting and informative, as many readers, like me, will only know Victoria from the sombre portraits done of her later in life and the highly moralistic overtones attributed to the age that bears her name. MacColl embellishes on history by imagining how the story might have played out if Victoria's maid had been spurring on the intrigue behind the scenes. Descriptions from the maid's point of view sometimes seem heavy-handed; as a servant would, she thinks things she can not speak aloud, which MacColl voices even though they seem to be apparent to the adult reader based on the surrounding action. As a young adult novel, however, this is more forgivable, especially in instances where readers may not be familiar with the delicate situations implied by the double-talk of the time (such as what it means for a character to be "ruined"). I would love to see the story acted out, as it is apparent that MacColl can see great subtleties in her mind when writing, many of which might be better conveyed by a twitch of a smile than a turn of phrase; this was a rare book where I was more lost in imagining what the characters might look like at a given moment than I was in what their inner monologues had to convey. As a YA novel, the book also neatly avoids the temptation to delve into romance on a ridiculously teen-aged level; while characters certainly have their sentimental desires, these play out in an incredibly realistic way, and one that is subsidiary to the important points of the plot, unlike the current vampire romances that devote entire chapters to characters looking into each other's eyes. Though the book does not seem to set out to make too many overt moral points, there is both a desire for justice rewarded by the final outcome and a Dickensian sense that society is not set up to afford true justice to all equally. Suggestions that the rich unfairly have it better off betray a slight touch of liberalism when considered from a modern-day context, but simply raise questions rather than trying to answer them for the reader. The main characters seem to grow as people throughout the book, which alone makes it worth the read; the suspense of the plot is simply a very thickly laid on icing.
JeneenNammar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
9th to 12th grade. In Prisoners in the Palace Michaela MacColl delivers a young adult historical fiction novel that will please teenagers intrigued by British royalty, yearning for a strong heroines, and who enjoy a good story. This debut novel is set in London while Victoria is still a princess. Due to an accident to her parents, Elizabeth Hastings must suddenly earn a living and does so by becoming Princess Victoria's maid. While in her post she learns to scheme and help Victoria maneuver around her mother's domineering and dangerous companion. And though there is a bit of romance, Elizabeth learns to right her life without the help of a man. MacColl develops solid characters and provides a believable historically drawn backdrop for them. She executes the suspenseful plot with good timing. It doesn't seem like a first novel actually. Prisoners in the Palace is highly recommended to public and high school library collections, and librarians are recommended to keep track of future MacColl novels. Her debut novel indicates that MacColl will provide more strong feminist novels that appeal to teens.
Monkeypats on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I believe Prisoners in the Palace will make a nice Young Adult book. Reading it as an adult who is already familiar with Victoria's story, the book lacked some of the suspense and plot development I believe the author was trying to convey. The writing however is straightforward and the plot is uncomplicated. Everything focuses solely on the evil plotting of Sir John and the Duchess with little time given to the romance between Liza and Will. I appreciated the use of historically accurate excerpts from Victoria's journals to add a sense of realism to the story, however I found the young Victoria to be a bit too immature and annoying at times. Additionally, the story becomes repetitive with Sir John threatening, Victoria being immature and then suddenly strong, and Liza focusing only on the princess or her possible future. Overall, I felt this book was good, but not great. I would only suggest it to a younger female reader who is unfamiliar with Victoria's story. On a side note, I will say that on the back cover this book is compared to the Luxe series by Anna Godberson. I felt it did not measure up to that series in any way. The Luxe series involves much better plot development and more three dimensional characters. Instead I felt that Prisoners lacked a complex plot and characters capable of feeling or thinking more than in the immdediate present. I definitely felt Prisoners in the Palace was perhaps written for a bit younger audience than the Luxe.
macart3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liza's fortunes have reversed when both her parents die and she is left penniless.  Now kicked out of the grand hotel where her family used to lodge when their house was being constructed, she has found employment as a lady's maid to the Princess Victoria. Now she must navigate the hierarchies of the servants and the politcal intrigues of her employers have in store for the Princess Victoria. I can vouch that this book is well-researched, having read academic books on the social strata in Victorian times, however, the romance plot is very obvious once she meets Will. Also, the book overall felt like I was treading familar territory again. This novel may be for people who are not familar with Victoria's history pre-acension. I did not like this book very much.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I loved the writing, I loved Liza, and all the other characters in this book were just wonderful to read. The plot was really good and the pacing was well done. For those that love intrigue into their historical fiction, you will also find that here. Sir John is certainly the type of villain to make your skin crawl and his plotting with the Duchess gives the plot a good amount of intrigue to enjoy. Victoria was made to be seen as a spoiled brat, but at the same time she acts this way because she¿s lonely and has no one of her age to be with, so her friendship with Liza is somewhat of a Princess/maid relationship, but at times they also put aside their class differences and act like real true friends would. What I really liked best about this book is that the plot never did slow down, it was a constant steady flow and there was never any stalls or anything done to extend the plot. It got really interesting in the end and made the perfect climax to any story. The author¿s note in the end was good and provided good information for further reading. There was only one criticism, and that was Albert. I didn¿t think he was such a surly guy, then again they were younger at the time and he probably did change as he grew older. I was hoping for more of a love story between Victoria and Albert, but it was not to be, they weren¿t such a big focus at this time. No matter though, this was just a small setback but nothing that would change my opinion about this book. I recommend this book for all those in love with the Victorian age! it was a wonderful book to read. Those who like YA books would also love this book as well.
mrsderaps on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As is sometimes the case, actual history can contain more in the way of suspense, romance, unbelievable circumstances than can fiction. For me, this was the case with Prisoners in the Palace. I actually know quite a bit about the history behind this historical fiction novel, but was kept enraptured and flipping pages to find out what happened. It was just so riveting and engrossing that I had to see how it all came together (even though I knew how it would all come together)!Prisoners in the Palace is the story of how the teenaged Princess Victoria came to be the longest ruling queen of Great Britain. Queen Victoria's story has always intrigued me, but I have not felt so connected to her as I do after reading this book. Perhaps this is a result of the style of this novel and the focus on a wide variety of characters, most of whom are average citizens of this time period (the 1830's). In fact, the main character is not Victoria herself, but her personal maid, Eliza.Eliza has a sad story that seems all too common for the time period. She was fairly well-to-do until her parents died, leaving her in huge debt. As a woman, she was trained in lots of areas that were not at all practical. By the time that the job at Kensington Palace appears, Eliza is completely destitute. After begging for the position, she soon finds out that life for the royalty is not as blissful and uncomplicated as she had previously thought.And there is scandal. And suspense. And violence. And romance. Lots of all of it.But best of all, I love reading and learning about history and realizing that not all that much has changed. The public is still fascinated but critical and judgmental of those with power and prestige, and those with power and prestige are often unaware (or uncaring) of the sufferings of every day people. And sometimes, there are people who are lucky enough to be a part of both worlds, like Eliza. And it's fun when they gossip about the inner workings of royalty!
verbafacio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick, breezy, young adult novel set in the relatively unhappy days just before Victoria ascended to the throne. Not the most believable, but fairly accurate in terms of social mores.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When her parents are killed, Liza's dreams of life as a society lady are gone. Left apparently penniless, she is lucky to secure a position as maid to Princess Victoria Kent. Liza finds herself involved in palace intrique, as Victoria's mother and her paramour Sir Robert connive to secure power for themselves. With the help of some friends, Liza aids Victoria succeed to the throne of England.
molliekay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't usually pick up historical fiction concerning anything before 1900, but I'm glad I listened to the reviews. This book contains enough intrigue and romance to last me a long time! Although Liza was a fictional character, her point of view felt very authentic, and the author never underestimated the reader's intelligence by explaining customs and practices of the times. Princess Victoria, her mother, and John Conroy were real people and the drama behind Victoria's ascent to the crown is only slightly exaggerated. MacColl included the historical background for the book at the end, and I appreciated it mostly because it's almost impossible for me to keep track of who is married/related to who, and the author does a good job of spelling it out.
reneemrobbins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! It was very well written and pulled me in immediately. The book is written for 12 years and up so as an educator I was reading it with my students in mind. I think that a couple items in the subject matter are a little mature for 12 year olds, but as an adult I thought it was refreshing. The story flows very well and never makes you wish the author would get on with it. There was enough action and romanceto keep you interested and waiting for more.
curioussquared on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prisoners in the Palace hooked me from the start. The plot reminded me a bit of A Little Princess, the writing style recollected Tamora Pierce, and the era brought to mind the Sorcery and Cecelia series - all three excellent recommendations in my book. I don't have much time for pleasure reading and when I do get to read a bit it's usually something light and easy to provide some contrast from the dense school stuff. This fit the bill perfectly. Fun, well-written, and with a bit of historic relevance, I found it difficult to put down and return to class reading! I might also take advantage of the Further Reading section at the end and find out more about Victoria's reign. Great fun!On a side note, I love the cover!