YA Fiction Review: Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl + Special Post by Author!

Prisoners in the Palace
by Michaela MacColl
Copyright 2010
Chronicle Books
368 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8118-7300-0
Historical Fiction

From the publisher:
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.

My Review:
Not only are the cover and dust jacket of this book gorgeous but the words on the pages between create a story that is both beautiful and intriguing. Michaela MacColl has spun a tale that is both informative and romantic. For me the best books are those that combine true history with fictional but completely believable characters, romance and events and Prisoners in the Palace does that. From the somewhat mouse-like character, "Inside Boy" to the death of a former servant, to the character of the princess herself no detail is spared.

I absolutely fell in love with the film The Young Victoria earlier this year which chronicled the early life of Her Royal Highness Queen Victoria and ever since I can't seem to get enough of the complexities as well as the luxuries that is/was life as a royal. The picture of her teen years that is painted in this book is more vivid and descriptive than film. By inserting tidbits from Victoria's actual journals Ms. MacColl has given a glimpse of the transitions that a young girl had to make in order to become a queen whom all the world could take seriously.

Liza, who is also a central character had to learn what it meant to serve Queen and country and her life is not without drama. The manipulation of power is not just a tool of the wealthy but the lower classes as well who were clawing their way to the top of the household staff ladder at Kensington Palace. With the help of Will Fulton, an up-and-coming broadsheet publisher (similar to today's tabloid) Liza and Victoria get into some trouble for their impulsiveness which young people often do. It's fun to imagine that the stuffy old Queen of England actually may have done this and acted like a real teenager who was not so very different from anyone else after all.

I couldn't put this book down. I recommend it for anyone who likes historical fiction with a lot of drama and a little romance thrown in the mix. Although this is geared towards the teenage/young adult reader I definitely recommend it for older folks as well. An awesome debut novel, I can't wait to read what Michaela MacColl pens next!


Read an Excerpt:

A Word from Michaela on Victoria and Albert's romance! Click each of the pictures below to read!


To learn more about Michaela visit:

To order the book visit:
Chronicle Books (When checking out type in the code PRISONER and you will get 25% your entire order and free shipping!)

*I received my complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest review.*


  1. What an interesting post, Renee! I read through those extra bits--very informative . . . Some of my students are voracious readers, and I love to be able to lend them good things to fill that hunger. After this review, I'll definitely be checking out this book to see if it fits the bill.

  2. 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.


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