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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog Tour: Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

Today is devoted to Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl. You can read my review of the beautiful novel, read a guest post by the amazing author, and enter to win a copy of this absolutely stunning hardcover book.  Find out more about the book and the blog tour here. Don't forget to enter the giveaway and leave Michaela a comment!

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl 5 of 5 stars.

How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel.

London, 1836. Seventeen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in a tragic accident. Alone and penniless, she accepts the positions of lady's maid to the young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servants' world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the opportunity to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future Queen? (Book Blurb)

Elizabeth Hastings's life is turned completely upside down when after her parents death she is forced to go to work as Liza the maid. But Liza didn't know what she was getting into when she applied for the job of maid in Princess Victoria's household-the dilapidated Kensington Palace. As Liza sees the people of the palace all trying to buy her loyalty, she realizes that there is more than one conspiracy going on in the palace. It soon become obvious that Liza is needed to help keep Victoria's throne safe from the greedy hands of those around her. However, Liza couldn't do it alone. A young princess like Victoria needs more than one ally in the world. But what could a former maid, newspaperman, and a street urchin (minus the street) possibly do to tilt the scales of power in this game of intrigue?

Prisoners in the Palace is a lush Victorian novel that waltzes us through the the life and hardships of the Princess Victoria as she fights for her crown before she even learns the importance of it. With engaging writing and beautiful scenery, it is a must for any true Victorian era fan. Romance, intrigue, and dangerous secrets lurking in the shadows. What more could a girl want?

The first thing I have to say is that Chronicle Books deserves some sort of award for the amazing cover they put together for this book. It has a brilliant foil outer cover with a beautifully patterned hard-cover. Even the inside pages of the book are to die for. I would definitely suggest buying this book if for nothing more than a collectors piece. But it is must more than just a pretty book.

Michaela MacColl's writing truly draws you into the time period and setting. I could honestly hear the English accents and see the beautiful dresses and gardens coming alive before me. The story is a fun twist on history that leaves you with a good feeling after reading it. Although I admit that I was a bit annoyed by the way some of the characters were portrayed in the beginning. After recently watching The Young Victoria (and falling madly in love with it, mind you) I wasn't expecting to see Victoria betrayed as such a brat, even in the start. For a while it seemed like the only character with half a brain was the main, Liza. The story did change, however, as the author introduced us to the complexities of it and the various other characters. Victoria's courage grew and she soon became the feisty young queen I imagined her to be.

Over all, the book was truly enjoyable, and I adored many of the characters. I would suggest this book to any lover of a good Victorian novel.

To order this book from Amazon.com, please click here.

Michaela's Guest Post:

"Arya, thank you so much for sharing your lovely readers for this stop on the Prisoners in the Palace Blog Tour.

One of the best things about writing historical fiction is doing the research on site.  Even if I didn’t love to travel, it’s critical if the book is to have that extra zing that convinces readers that they are in the scene.

I went to London with a close friend to visit Kensington Palace, Fleet Street and Windsor Palace. 

While I was writing the first draft, I had been frustrated whenever I tried to figure out the floorplan for Victoria’s rooms. I found plans for 50 years earlier and then for the way it is now… What happened in between?  A helpful docent explained it for me. Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, didn’t get along with her brother in law, the King.  He allowed her to stay in Kensington Palace, the dumping ground for his poor relations. She was always complaining that the rooms were inadequate for the heir to the throne. He refused to give her any more space. The Duchess, not being known for her tact, just took them. (When the King found out, he was furious. He threw a fit at his birthday party – but that’s another story and a deleted scene in the novel). Since the Duchess took the rooms without permission, there weren’t any plans. So I’m out of luck unless I go and walk the halls. I’m so glad I did.

The other thing that happens when you visit your locations is that you find details that create sub-plots and minor characters. Once I saw the little guard house, I realized that I needed to add a drunken porter who never was awake to open the door.  There’s a stone circular kitchen where I just had to place Simon the the footman, sitting on a bench with his sleeves rolled up, tossing back an ale.  And I was lucky to see a recreated bedroom of the Duchess and Victoria (they shared a room until Victoria was eighteen). The crystal bowl of bon bons gave me a whole story about stolen candy and false accusations.

I recently went to Italy with my daughters. We went on a New Moon tour in Volterra. The guide was a local and she showed us all the places described in the book. Then she brought us to a spring in the lower part of the city and told us how her grandmother used to do her laundry there. And where the water spills out of the cisterns, there’s a hidden entrance. She used to climb through into tunnels that led up through the cliffs to the upper city. My daughter asked why the author of New Moon didn’t use that in her books. The guide laughed and said that Stephanie Meyer never came to the city. Not once. I think she missed a great detail!

For more details about Prisoners in the Palace visit my website, www.michaelamaccoll.com. Thanks for listening!"

Isn't she awesome!? Which is why you need to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Prisoners in the Palace

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AmandaRose said...

Ahhh, I think this has to be one od the best historical fictions I've ever read! I loved the two covers and really enjoyed the story...it wasn't boring like I find most historical novels. I just reviewed it too on my blog, amandarosetew.blogspot.com

AmandaRose said...

Ahhh, I think this has to be one od the best historical fictions I've ever read! I loved the two covers and really enjoyed the story...it wasn't boring like I find most historical novels. I just reviewed it too on my blog, amandarosetew.blogspot.com

Gina said...

This is such a great novel. You can read my review on it:

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