Title: Alias Dragonfly (Book 1 in Alias Dragonfly series)
Author: Jane Singer
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books – BelleBooks, Inc
Release Date: November 11, 2011
Ebook – Netgalley
“Don’t love a spy,” warns fifteen year old Pinkerton agent Maddie Bradford, a lonely, rebellious outsider with a mind on fire and a photographic memory. It is 1861, the Civil War has just started and this motherless teen must move with her soldier-father from New Hampshire to Washington, DC; a city at war, packed cheek by jowl with soldiers, Rebel spies, slave catchers, and traitors of all stripes bent on waging a war of destruction against the Union, and President Lincoln himself. Maddie’s journal, written in secret, of course, begins with her arrival at her aunt’s DC boardinghouse through the first year of the Civil War, a time as Maddie puts it, “full of dips and dangers,” when she becomes a fearless Union spy. And then there is the mysterious, maddening Jake Whitestone, a young man who awakens something equally dangerous in Maddie: Love in a time of terror.
Most of this book was great. The cover is amazing (sorry about the size, my computer is funky today!), and I loved how even though it was historical fiction, the timeline corresponded with what really happened in the Civil War. There was tons of intrigue – I mean, spies – but at the same time you got to know Maddie really well during her missions as well as before she became a spy. The background story of her family and how her photographic memory pretty much ostracized her in her hometown was very interesting. I liked how she was literally telling the reader the story, and the first person viewpoint was great. Her voice as a character was easily distinguished from the other characters, whose habits were written with detail.
However, because there was so much detail when Maddie was on a mission, it emphasized the lack of details when Maddie was visiting with her father. I think that if there was more of Maddie’s thoughts being shared with the reader, then her relationship with her dad wouldn’t have been as confusing as it was. Most of their encounters were seemed to take less than five minutes, sometimes, and I think that if there had been as many descriptions and thoughts as there were when she was spying, then the book would have been more fleshed out, more interesting, and definitely clearer.
But all in all, this book was really good. I highly recommend it, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Alias Sparrow Hawk.