Prisoners in the Palace

Michaela MacColl, Chronicle, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8118-7300-0

With the tragic death of her parents, Liza Hastings's life is upended in an instant. Gone is her money, her security, her hopes of coming out this season, and her station in life as a lady. Liza is a young woman left alone in 19th-century London, a precarious position at best. With no other options before her, Liza lands a position as a maid—at Kensington Palace—to none other than Princess Victoria, the future queen of England. In this debut, MacColl offers a whip-smart, spunky protagonist and a worthy heroine to root for—Liza's prospects may have plummeted, but her spirits never do. And though Princess Victoria can be spoiled and distressingly unaware of how her whims can make or break someone's livelihood, MacColl weaves enough goodness into Victoria that she never becomes a caricature. Court intrigue abounds as Victoria's advisers scheme to usurp her power upon the king's death, and Liza fights for Victoria's rights as much as for her own station. Enter Will Fulton as a dashing romantic interest for Liza, and this delightful story is complete. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)