The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.
Annis always suspected that her father was himself a spy, and following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.
Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on. And so she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and, in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer.
It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it? (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC from Netgalley, courtesy of Knopf Books for Young Readers, in exchange for an honest review.
If you were a fan of Duels AND DECEPTION, but wanted more magic, this may be the book for you!
I enjoyed the premise of this book a lot. I love ladies, spies and magic! Put all that together, and you have a very ‘me’ book. However, I think there are a few things that would have made it a much better book.
One of those things is the magic being used as a replacement for any actual skill in dressmaking, as well as having the actual fabric needed to make the dresses she wanted. At one point, Annis asks her maid if she knows how to attach a sleeve which, granted, is kind of difficult, but also something you should definitely know if you’re gonna be a seamstress. Even if you’re a magical one.
I also would have loved more explanation about how exactly her magic works. What possibilities are there in this universe?
I loved the female friendships in this book. It was literally full of different sorts of badass women, and I loved that about it. Millie was so different to Annis, and they were both incredibly different from Cassia. They all interacted with each other differently, and it was awesome.
I think this book sets us up for a very interesting experience in the next book, but it doesn’t really stand on its own very well for me.