Three Likes & A Dislike: Review of Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi


Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi

Published June 23, 2020 by Delacorte Press

Genres: Teen & Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Edition: Advance Reader Copy

Pages: 368

Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Teaser: 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.


What I liked about this book:


I loved that Frannie's story is her identity. Starting with Prisoner, starting over with Wrecker, becoming a Lady and 355, to Spy and Prisoner, and finally as Frannie.


I love that Agent 355 was a real woman. Even though her identity is unknown, this reimagining of her is believable due to the well-researched historical settings.


Rossi breathed life into historical figures like George Washington, Anna Strong, Robert Townsend, and Elizabeth Burgin to Benedict Arnold, Henry Clinton, and John Andre.


What I didn't like:


While Frannie did share a resemble with Emmeline Coates, I found it a little unbelievable that Emmeline's family acquaintances accepted that Frannie as her. Firstly, it was hard to believe is that Emmeline was the lone survivor of a shipwreck. Secondly, I don't feel that Frannie would have learned all of the rules of society quickly enough to pass. I wondered if Emmeline's family and friends willed themselves into accepting Frannie instead of grieving for her. If you read Rebel Spy, what do you think?


Favorite Quotes: I loved these quotes because they either shaped or added to the overall narrative.


"I'd reached it--the seventh fathom. My dreaming depth. The whole world far away, I stretched out my arms and set my imagination loose."


"Never marry for love,

as love doesn't buy bread.

Never marry in haste, as those who rush, stumble.

Never marry low, as poverty is a stain that never washes out."


"Tyranny was wrong. Abuse was wrong. And power ought never be misused. If it made me a rebel to think so, then a rebel I was--but only in secret. As strongly as I felt, I could never share the truth with anyone."


"I felt like a true spy now--one with tolls and a network of support. With rules I devised to stay safe: Trust no one. Expect the worst. Be prepared. Most important of all--choose patience over risk."


"It hurt me that I'd hurt him. But he said it himself that a certain coldness was required in matters of war. And we were enemies now. True enemies. There was no confusion or murkiness anymore."


"I'd swum with deadly sharks and stolen from deadlier men.I'd survived hurricanes, war, and even love--but I didn't know if I'd survive this."

"I've lived for something more... and its love, and liberty, and friendship, and hope--and all the other mores that can ever be."


Final Thoughts: I enjoyed Rebel Spy immensely once I set aside questioning of the Coates family acquaintances' acceptance of Frannie. Instead, I thought about why they accepted Frannie as Emmaline; their loves and losses. Maybe... they needed to believe that Emmaline lives on through Frannie or that Frannie needed to be saved from something. Regardless, I framed the narrative through the lens that not all is as it seems on the surface. I also accepted Frannie's role as Emmaline--Agent 355--Spy--Prisoner--and finally Frannie. Could anyone want more than to live "for something more... and its love, and liberty, and friendship, and hope--and all the other mores that can ever be"?


Have you read Rebel Spy? Did you like it as much as I did?

Happy reading!


Publishers and authors often send me their books to review. They do not pay me to review their books. All opinions are my own.

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