I won an ARC at a convention. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in slanted handwriting gold on navy
Genre: Historical
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: standalone


 Eighteen-year-old Isobel Stanhope is keeping a lot of secrets. There’s the fact that she’s head over heels in love with a Duke who doesn’t know she exists; there’s the fact that her family is penniless but nobody in society knows about it; and then there’s her job at the Aviary, an investigative agency run by women that specializes in digging up scandal on powerful men.

When Izzy finds herself pulled into a case that involves gaslighting, blackmail, and missing jewels, as well as the Duke who holds her heart, can she and her friends untangle the web of secrets and lies to uncover the truth and protect the innocent? And when the stakes are so high, what happens when the crush she’s been hiding begins to turn into so much more?

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE AGENCY FOR SCANDAL, Laura Wood’s latest historical YA is an absolute stunner. I can best describe it as a spy thriller meets a historical romance. Izzy and the agency are trying to protect women from the laws written by men, and end up against a plot lead by a prominent politician. Unfortunately, her secret crush (Max, Duke Roxton) is a member of the intelligence agency that’s run by said politician…

This book was SO MUCH FUN. I pretty much spent the three days reading this squealing at the author over basically every chapter. It is stuffed full of goodness (only one bed! forced proximity! masked costume balls!) and strikes a really good balance between swoony romance and pacy spy thriller (with lots of very amusing moments thrown in for good measure too.)

Izzy is the sort of heroine you want to root for – the wallflower at the ball who’s VERY proficient with lockpicks and is trying to keep her family afloat all while taking on corrupt men who are abusing their power to hurt the women around them. She’s clever but very, uh, unobservant when it comes to feelings (but is pretty good at hiding how flustered Max makes her.) I love that combination and also the sheer niceness of all Laura’s protagonists.

I want them to succeed because I like them as people – sure they have their understandable moments of pettiness etc, but largely their guiding principle for how they act is to make the world a better place for others. And that’s the sort of person I want to be and want others to be. And that’s why I want these girls to succeed, because I want to see that triumph. It is not a weakness to be kind and compassionate and help others without any thought of reward.

It is set a few years earlier than A SINGLE THREAD OF MOONLIGHT so there are all sorts of Easter eggs. I squealed very very loudly at a few of them. You absolutely do not have to read SINGLE THREAD to understand AGENCY (they are separate stories and the Easter eggs aren’t plot relevant) but it was so fun to find the references (and dream about a SINGLE THREAD x AGENCY crossover book where Iris gets recruited into the agency…)

Overall, this was such a joyous read, with a great spy plot and romance – and I am now impatiently awaiting the next Laura Wood book!

Read my reviews of other books by Laura Wood:

Young Adult:

Trevelayn sisters:


Middle Grade:

Effie Costas:

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