Keep your friends close…and your enemies closer. That is what Samantha, the main character in Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown, must do. Sam, a seventeen year old member of the Girl Guides, is suddenly recruited to join a secret, all-women spy organization known as La Dame Blanche. Her mission? To extract a British spy—Velvet—who is undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm. The catch? No one knows who Velvet is except for Velvet’s handler, and said handler has gone missing.
As Sam—now known as Sophia Thérèse—tries to blend in at the German palace by working in the schoolroom as a governess to the children staying at the royal palace, she must not only uncover Velvet’s identity, but must also keep herself out of danger while doing so. On top of all of this, she finds herself being attracted to a young German guard, Maxwell Mayer. Can Sam accomplish her task before it’s too late for both her and Velvet?
This novel has many twists and turns in its latter part that will definitely keep you interested in reading more and finding out the fate of Sam and all of the others involved in her mission (If you can make it that far). However, the novel starts off very slowly, only starting to pick up the pace after the first one hundred pages or so. As someone who wants to be drawn in to the story within the first two chapters, this was a big negative for me.
In theory, the idea behind the story line was pretty cool and coincided with the war a bit; however, it wasn’t executed as smoothly as I would have liked it to have been. For a novel that was supposed to be set during World War I, I didn’t see much of war action taking place. It also seemed like it was set in the current time period, not in the past. I thought that Sam was a bit snooty and self-centered in the beginning of the novel, but she evolved into a more likable character as the novel progressed.
After hearing about how good Brown’s first novel, Born of Illusion, was, I would be interested in reading it to see how it differed from this novel. Overall, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone that wanted a book that grabs you from the beginning, because unfortunately this book doesn’t.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Balzer + Bray. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.