Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mini-Review: Treason and Letters

Fourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King’s Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it’s too late?

Author: Jo Macauley
Publisher: Curious Fox
Date of Publication: June 2013
Series: Secret and Spies #1
Pages: 224
Source: For review- Team Fox Assemble!

Set in 1664, this Historical Fiction novel is intriguing and exciting. I read it in about an hour and a half! It starts off quite slow, but it pulls you in with description and the pace speeds up as you get into it. The authentic language such as " 'Tis" helps you to feel like you're really there and shows the culture and history that the book is set in.

The big thing about this book was the detail. Every single thing is described, down to the characters that only make one appearance, and I love this in a book. The feelings, emotions and thoughts of Beth were described down to the minute, even though it's in third person, and I thought this was just perfect. The character formation is flawless.

The way the author links Beth's spy life to her normal life is amazing. Friends with Maisie, she has to watch out for the bell, and she found out some of her key mission facts while she was being herself. Another thing is how the book shows how women were treated at this time.

I felt that the only negative points of this book were how some bits were slightly confusing, and some of it felt too modern to be at this point in time. Even though most of it was authentic, the occasion page or speech was just too modernised to be during 1664. 

The recommended age for Secrets and Spies is 9-12, which I think is accurate because though I enjoyed it, I felt like someone slightly younger could have enjoyed it more.

Overall, this book is really good! It's characters are flawless, the description is plentiful and I loved it. It's not going to be a favourite book, but I'll certainly read the rest of the series at some point without forcing it!

I sorta-kinda took this idea from Rita at Weaving Pages, but it's not quite the same. So yeah.

Dear Mrs. Macauley,

Wow! I read the first Secrets and Spies book, and as you can see from my review above, I really enjoyed it. I'm going to have to read the second book at some point, aren't I? Because I read it late at night and I basically didn't move for like an hour. Thank you for writing it!

Charli x

Dear Beth,

You are quite inspirational. Sneaking around, lying... But all in others' interest. I love the fact that you take care of Maisie whilst being a spy, and you even manage to be a top actress. I found it really interesting reading your thoughts and feelings throughout the book. I commend you, please continue with such abilities.

Charli x

Dear Maisie,

Don't worry about Beth. She's perfectly fine, she just has lots of responsibilities. She loves you loads, so don't worry!

Charli x

And with that, I'll see you soon! :)

Charli x


  1. The one stickler with books set within a certain period is that consistency is key! It's really irritating when some aspects feel too modern! Still I might just recommend it to some of my younger readers :)

    1. Exactly! You should do. Thanks for commenting! :D


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Charli and Tori