Prisoners in the Palace
By Michaela MacColl
Chronicle Books, 2010. 367 pgs. Young Adult
Elizabeth Hastings is newly orphaned and impoverished. Her hopes for a bright future are dashed, and she finds herself working as a maid--for Victoria, who is next in line for the British throne. Victoria's mother and her mother's "friend," Sir John, are desperate for power and want Victoria, when she is crowned, to make her mother Regent and give Sir John powerful positions in the kingdom. Victoria longs for a life of her own, beyond the restrictions of her mother and Sir John, and she enlists Liza to help her in her schemes. Liza has plans of her own: to win Victoria's good graces and reestablish her position in society.
This is an interesting look at Victoria and her life before she became queen. There were times when she grated on my nerves--she's very frivolous and self-absorbed at the outset of the book (and the middle...and even somewhat at the end). Liza was a more sympathetic character, and the book contains a little adventure, intrigue, and romance.