My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: June 23rd, 2020
A reimagining of the story behind Agent 355–a New York society girl and spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War–perfect for fans of Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key and the novels of Julie Berry.
Rebellious Frannie Tasker knows little about the war between England and its thirteen colonies in 1776, until a shipwreck off her home in Grand Bahama Island presents an unthinkable opportunity. The body of a young woman floating in the sea gives Frannie the chance to escape her brutal stepfather–and she takes it.
Assuming the identity of the drowned Emmeline Coates, Frannie is rescued by a British merchant ship and sails with the crew to New York. For the next three years, Frannie lives a lie as Miss Coates, swept up in a courtship by a dashing British lieutenant. But after witnessing the darker side of the war, she realizes that her position gives her power. Soon she finds herself eavesdropping on British officers, risking everything to pass information on to George Washington’s Culper spy ring as agent 355. Frannie believes in the fight for American liberty–but what will it cost her? Inspired by the true “355” and rich in historical detail and intrigue, this is the story of an unlikely New York society girl turned an even unlikelier spy. – synopsis from Goodreads
Historical fiction is not a genre that I pick up often. It’s not that I don’t like, it’s more that I don’t remember to. When I saw the cover for Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi it called to me. I thought it was so pretty and delicate that I wanted to know more about it. After I read the synopsis I knew I was hooked.
I love history which is why it’s weird that I don’t pick up this genre more. I am not fully versed in the United States history not being from that country. I mean I know the basics but not the full details of it. One thing I didn’t know for sure was the story of agent 355 and the involvement of women during the American Revolution. I must say that the retelling or more the imagining of who agent 355 might be captivated me. The idea that a girl from Grand Bahama decides to change her stars and impersonate a Lady of High Society reminded me in a way of A Knight’s Tale. However, the comparison stops there.
Francisca or Frannie is in a real tough situation in Grand Bahama. She needs an escape. She finds the way out of her life and into a better future when she decides to put another woman’s clothes on and flee her island. I loved the duality that came off of Frannie/Emmeline. Trying to stay true to herself and her values while fitting in this new world. I thought that besides the character being set in 1779, she felt very reliable to me. Her ideals are not in accordance with the world she lives in and that resonated with me in certain levels. But she decides to take a stand and fight, the way she can, for what she believes in. In the climate that we are living in today, I think this speaks volumes. We all have little steps we can take for causes we believe in. Everyone has the possibility to change the world.
Veronica Rossi brought 1779 New York to life for me in Rebel Spy. I could clearly imagine everything that was described. I’m not sure if it is harder or easier to set up the world in historical fiction. What I do know is that I was transported there. I was there in the water with Frannie, or when Emmeline went to a dinner and even when she was waling through the streets of Manhattan. This story was alive for me. And I have to admit that I might have been signing Hamilton songs non stop while reading this book.
I really recommend picking up Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi if like me you are curious to learn a bit more about who could’ve been agent 355. It was a pleasant surprise and I will be keeping an eye out for more books by Veronica.
Thank you to Delacorte Press, Netgalley and Fantastic Flying Book Club for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review.
You know there was going to be some Hamilton in this playlist
You can listen to the playlist HERE
My Shot from Hamilton
History Has Its Eyes on You from Hamilton
Hurrican from Hamilton
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story from Hamilton
The Patriot: Main Theme from The Patriot
La Campanella by Rousseau
Barret’s Privateers by Stan Rogers
Fife Features: Lowland’s Away – Trenton by Roy Watrous
Polly on the Shore by Cliff Halsam and John Millar
“Live for something more”
“Pretending you’re brave is no different than being brave.”
“Loyalty isn’t fealty. Nor is it duty. It can’t be demanded or coerced into being. It must be given freely, like love, and one feels it here.”
“Access to life, liberty, and happiness should be equal to all. We should all have a say in deciding our own fates.”
“I won’t deny the world is unfair. It is. Often horribly. But I believe we can change it for the better. I have to believe that.”
“Tyranny was wrong. Abuse was wrong. And power ought never be misused.”
“I sank into a deep curtsy. Then I rose, a lady.”
“Well, I thought I might compliment your beauty, cater to your every comfort, say charming things to entertain you, and seize upon any other opportunities to impress you.”
About the author
VERONICA ROSSI is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the UNDER THE NEVER SKY series. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, grew up in California, and graduated from UCLA. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons, one of whom just surpassed her in height.
You can follow Veronica through the links below: