Win a copy of Prisoners in the Palace! Details at the end of this post.


In Which Liza’s
Circumstances Change
for the Worse

Liza huddled in the armchair near the window, her mother’s shawl wrapped tightly around her shoulders. Despite the fire, she couldn’t seem to get warm. The blinds were drawn against the morning’s winter light.

It shouldn’t be sunny.

There was a discreet knock at the door. A maid in a black dress with a white apron entered, carrying a meal on a tray. “Miss Liza, you mustn’t shut yourself away like this. It’s not like you.” With a quick motion, she deposited the tray and jerked the blinds open. Liza blinked and held up a hand to shade her eyes.


“With all due respect to your bereaved state, Miss, the staff is beginning to talk,” Cora scolded. “This is no life for a young lady such as you. Go out of doors, put some color back in those cheeks.”

“There’s nothing for me outside.”

The hotel suite had been her refuge since the day she had walked behind the black carriage drawn by four black horses and watched the shovelfuls of black earth rain down on her parents’ coffins. And now what? Her family had come to London to join society. But without Mama’s letters of introduction, there would be no welcome for Liza in the best homes. There would be no glittering season followed by a brilliant marriage. She was alone in a strange country; she had neither friends nor family. When her parents’ cabriolet had plunged into the Serpentine a fortnight ago, it had desolated Liza’s life too.

Excerpt copyright © 2010 Michaela MacColl

About the book:

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza’s dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady’s maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant’s world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?

Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this riveting novel is as rich in historical detail as Catherine, Called Birdy, and as sizzling with intrigue as The Luxe.

What people are saying:

Prisoners in the Palace is a delightful behind-the- scenes look at Victorian royalty and the making of a queen.  I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it highly.” -Karen Cushman

“A splendid view of the Victorian world; a warm and engaging novel. I loved it.” -Patricia Reilly Giff

Release date: November 2010

About the author:

Michaela MacColl studied multi-disciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and three extremely large cats in Connecticut. This is her first book.

Win a copy:

The publisher, Chronicle Books, has been kind enough to contribute a copy of Prisoners in the Palace for a giveaway!

To enter simply leave a comment on this post.

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The contest is for US and Canada only and will end at midnight EST on October 25th.

Good luck!