To Y.S. Lee, The Agency is…
A love letter to Victorian London, in all its glory and hypocrisy
A desire to see different kinds of people in historical fiction: the poor, the brown-skinned, the marginal
A teasing homage to the Victorian detective novel
A radical possibility for a poor girl in 1850s England
How I LOVED these books, let me count the ways:
1. Feisty female lead character who is a spy (also a diverse character)
2. Mary's intelligence and resourcefulness
3. The Agency is for women only
4. The romance
5. Mary discovering her background (reminded me of Sally Lockhart)
6. James isn't going to "make" Mary do anything
7. Victorian London - love this setting
8. The action
9. The danger
10. Being in the Queen's household.
I wish there were more Mary Quinn stories but I'm really glad more people will discover them again. After I read the first one, I begged Candlewick for the ARCs of the rest. I rarely ask publishers for ARCs, but it was too hard to wait for these books to come out! Want to see what I thought of each book, check my reviews here.
Y.S. Lee has a Ph.D. in Victorian literature and culture and says her research inspired her to write Book One of The Agency trilogy. “Women’s choices were grim in those days, even for the clever,” she says. “The Agency is a totally unrealistic, completely fictitious antidote to the fate that would otherwise swallow a girl like Mary Quinn.” Y. S. Lee lives in Ontario, Canada.
https://twitter.com/yinglee - @yinglee
Have I sold you on these books yet?
Well, you're in luck! Candlewick is gifting one lucky reader a complete set (all four books).