Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There's a pun in the name: our heroine is both a Maid of Secrets (spying for the Queen) and Made of Secrets (what she knows, who she really is). As historical fiction goes, I'm always leery of the ones that heavily feature the famous people of that time - this series is set in Queen Elizabeth I's court, with Cecil, Walsingham and Dudley making appearances.
After being caught as a pickpocket, Meg is brought to Windsor Castle and trained to spy on behalf of the Queen. She's one of five Maids, but learns she's replacing Marie, who was murdered a few months earlier. Her brief is to learn who is causing the disturbances within the Castle/court, what role the Spanish are playing in all this, and who the Queen is meeting that might create problems for her reign. There's a lot going on here and the pace is pretty non-stop (although skipping over a week here and there helps). While Meg doesn't really fit in with the others, it's clear by the end that they're a good unit; what's less clear is how this series will develop if these spies get married.
Another series with a strong female for middle school girl readers to enjoy (and they won't notice the anachronism of the dresses, which weren't single units as we knew them but pieced together from disparate parts for every outfit - it did bother me, though).
ARC provided by publisher.