Maid of Deception: Maids of Honor, Book 2

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Maid of Deception: Maids of Honor, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Sequel trades action for romance, loses some charm.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will learn a little about the Scottish Reformation as it headed toward a crisis under Queen Elizabeth I and a little about the history of Tudor succession. They'll learn about the Egyptians Act, which attempted to expel Gypsies from England in the 16th century. They'll also learn about the Fairy Flag, a real relic of the Clan MacLeod, and they'll learn some details about court life in Elizabethan times.

Positive Messages

Stay open to possibilities. Don't turn away from chances to make a connection with others or to love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Narrator Beatrice is a bit self-absorbed, and her greatest skills are in manipulating people. But she's loyal to her family and friends, and the other maids of honor present good, but seldom-seen, independent and proactive young women. Seen through Beatrice's eyes, Queen Elizabeth is imperious and spiteful, but eventually Beatrice comes to understand more about her position and even sympathize with her a little. Alasdair is a typical, dashing, romantic hero. Beatrice's father is caring but hard for her to understand and seemingly unreliable.

Violence
Sex

A few instances of kissing are described vaguely. Leering at breasts is mentioned once, as is the "fullness of breasts."

Language

"Bloody hell" and "bitch" are each used once.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ale and wine are mentioned frequently. Courtiers often drink to excess at festive events, and people are mentioned as smelling of wine and ale a few times. One minor character is possibly an alcoholic, and Beatrice has to try to hide her embarrassing behavior. Beatrice's mother seems to have a mental illness (probably depression) that's treated with sherry mixed with the opiate laudanum. Beatrice recognizes the smell and behavior of opium addiction in another character who's seen only once.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Maid of Deception is the second installment in the Maids of Honor series and picks up where Maid of Secrets left off. But this volume focuses much more on romance and hand-wringing compared with the action, adventure, and mystery of the first. Some light kissing is described along with growing feelings of attraction. Alcohol's mentioned frequently as courtiers are depicted frequently drinking wine and ale in the party-like atmosphere of entertaining Queen Elizabeth I. Beatrice's mother, a minor character, suffers from a depression-like illness and is treated with a mixture of sherry and laudanum, which later helps Beatrice recognize another opium-addicted character.

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What's the story?

Beatrice Knowles is a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth I. When news of a Scottish rebellion arrives at Windsor Castle, along with the mysterious and dashing delegate Alasdair MacLeod, Beatrice is forced to postpone her wedding to England's most eligible bachelor; the queen wants Beatrice to use all her charm and guile to find out whose side Alasdair is really on. At first repulsed by Alasdair's rough, unrefined ways, Beatrice finds herself increasingly attracted to him. Is love just a weapon in Beatrice's arsenal, or is there a real future for her with Alasdair?

Is it any good?

This book picks up where Maid of Secrets left off, but it changes gears along with narrators; gone are the action, adventure, and mystery as Meg navigated her way through an unknown world. Romance fans will delight as events are now seen through Beatrice, a court veteran on the verge of getting married. Missing are vivid and colorful descriptions of daily life that add charm and depth to the historical setting, although readers of the first installment might be satisfied with such already-established details. The focus here is on hand-wringing of the "will he or won't he, does he or doesn't he?" variety. Fans of historical romance will enjoy it, but those looking for strong, independent, action-oriented characters may have to wait for the next installment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why romances are so popular. Why do we like them so much? Can we learn about real relationships from them, or do they create unrealistic expectations?

  • Did you read the first book in the series, Maid of Secrets? How does this book compare? Which did you like better, and why?

  • How does Queen Elizabeth come across as a character? How does Beatrice's opinion of her affect how we, the readers, see her? Do you think Beatrice's opinion is justified?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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