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In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
Timothy Egan

Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

Prisoners in the Palace - Michaela MacColl Entertaining historical fiction of the year preceding Victoria's ascension to the British throne through the eyes of a ladies' maid. While I balked at the convention used to place the fictional character in place to witness the action inside Kensington Palace, I thought the pacing of this story and the tension inherent in the circumstances suitable to carry the reader briskly through the story. Near the conclusion, even my objection was somewhat resolved, so I am more satisfied with the ultimate outcome. Prisoners in the Palace would be an excellent middle grade, tween, or YA read for anyone not predisposed to historical fiction. It brings a contemporary feel (in production style with it's vibrant pink book design) to a chapter in royal history, and by focusing on a royal in her teenage years offers a relevancy that invites further exploration.