I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Mallory Bright is returning to her family home in disgraced. At nineteen, she ran away with a man she believed to be the love of her life only to be taken advantage of. Her father has rescued her and her mother has created a less shameful ruse for her to live by. However, Mallory is still seen as a blight by her mother and neighbors. Her father, a locksmith has taught Mallory skills over the years. Mallory is his lock pick, testing his wares. He calls on an old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham to find employment for Mallory. Walsingham sees potential in her skills and brings Mallory on as a watcher in his spy network. Mallory is the key in exposing several Catholic threats to the Crown. Although, as Mallory begins to see the destruction she is causing, her loyalties to Walsingham begin to waver.
From the moment Mallory is introduced, I was latched on to this historical thriller. Mallory is intelligent, thoughtful and eager to learn. She is desperately trying not to let peoples thoughts of her and her past effect her. I immediately wondered what her shameful secret could be and why she blamed herself. Then, I was brought into Mallory's world of locks and lockpicking. I learned about the intricacies of the locksmith world in Tudor England and how valuable a well made lock could be in this time-period. Through Mallory's eyes I was taken into the dangerous world of Sir Francis Walsingham's spy ring and was able to see the talent and the tasks that were deemed necessary in order to keep Queen Elizabeth safe. As Mallory trains and becomes and agent, she finds purpose and begins to forget her nightmarish past. However, as her actions as a spy begin to bring harsh consequences to the people around her, Mallory wonders if the people Walsingham has deemed dangerous really are as threatening as he perceives, or if they are just people trying to practice a religion of their own. Historical accurate detail of the political climate and descriptions fill out the writing, from stage production, food, dress and housing, I could picture Elizabethan England. I also don't believe I had ever read about a hanging, drawing and quartering in enough detail to turn my stomach. A dash of sweet romance from a brusque Lord Nathanial helps to round out this fast paced historical thriller.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.