An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.
What it is: a no-magic YA fantasy billed as a retelling of Mulan
What it’s about: a girl with no real place in the world who gets hired as a matchmaker’s assistant, and gets embroiled in a scheme to bring down the empire
Who it’s by: debut author Erin Beaty
Best bits: addictive to read, fun shipping
Protagonist in a sentence: rebellious teen girl with amazing powers of observation and a complete distaste for all things marriage and romance
Love interest in a sentence: a soldier eager to prove himself, going undercover to gather information on a threat to the kingdom
Villain in a sentence: a duke scheming for power
Read it if: you want a gripping plane book (that’s how I read it); you like low-magic fantasy worlds
Skip it if: you don’t like books with multiple POVS; you don’t like plot twists that rely on obscuring things for the reader (rather than the characters)