My Blurb: After growing up in hiding, a letter with a peculiar talisman changes everything for a young baker’s girl named Duchess, and leads her into a dangerous world of thievery and intrigue, where the only thing she has at stake is her place in the world and the truth about that terrible childhood night in which she lost everything.
My Review: Duchess of the Shallows is a deceptively simple book, but rich in details. The plot revolves around Duchess, once the youngest child of a wealthy family, but now living in secret, disguised as the daughter of a baker after the horrifying death of her father and family. The story is driven by a single mission – a heist – in which Duchess, assisted by her street-friend, Lysander, must pull off an impossible robbery in order to gain Duchess admission to the secret world of thieves.
But despite the simplicity of the plot, the world woven around Duchess and the characters that inhabit her world with her, are anything but simple. Political maneuvring between different factions of society, and the power-players calling the shots, all serve to create a textured backdrop, giving the story depth and appeal. While I found the exposition a bit heavy in one or two places, the characters soon had me rooting for them, and I was carried along quite happily, all the way to the end.
My biggest disappointment was that there wasn’t more story after the heist. In a way, it felt like one long, drawn out act, rather than the three-act pulse of most modern fantasy, but it definitely left me liking the characters and wanting to hear more. Fans of Strange Places may very much enjoy spending time with Duchess.