Rossi, Veronica. Rebel Spy. New York: Delacorte Press, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-1524771225 | $18.99 USD | 368 pages | YA Historical Fiction
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 body 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’s 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.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rebel Spy intrigued me as a historical fiction lover who knew a tiny bit about George Washington’s spy ring prior to picking up the book. And the fact that, while Frannie as a fleshed-out character is fictional, her actions were inspired by a real life Revolutionary spy had me curious to know more.
I liked Frannie and her courage in intense situations, whether it be dealing with her stepfather’s abusive behavior or taking on a new identity. I also liked how, upon developing awareness of the tense situation between the colonists and the British and how people tend to take her for granted due to her unassuming appearance leads her to use that to her advantage in aiding Washington.
Rossi does an excellent job of illustrating the tensions between Revolutionaries and Loyalists in a realistic way through the characters and their relationships, such Asa and his father.
While the book focuses on Frannie coming into her own more than the spy intrigue as I was hoping it would, I think it’s a fairly solid book for what it is. If you like historical fiction, I think you’ll like this one.
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, the youngest of whom just surpassed her height.
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