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Secrets of the Realm

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Author: Bev Stout

Published: December 4th 2013 by Bev Stout (first published April 28th 2013)

Format: ebook

Isbn: null

Language: English


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Blamed for her uncle's death, fifteen-year-old Annie is on the run. Knowing the perils she will face on the streets of eighteenth century London, she disguises herself as a boy. Her life on the streets is cut short when she becomes Captain Hawke’s cabin boy. Not only must Annie work alongside the Realm’s motley crew of outcasts and gentlemen, she must also keep her superst Blamed for her uncle's death, fifteen-year-old Annie is on the run. Knowing the perils she will face on the streets of eighteenth century London, she disguises herself as a boy. Her life on the streets is cut short when she becomes Captain Hawke’s cabin boy. Not only must Annie work alongside the Realm’s motley crew of outcasts and gentlemen, she must also keep her superstitious shipmates from discovering she is a girl. Annie vows she will never leave the Realm, where dreams are chased, shattered lives can mend, and secrets are stowed like keepsakes in an old desk drawer. But when her past catches up with her, can she return to the Realm? More importantly, will she have a choice?

30 review for Secrets of the Realm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    This is a great book. I really enjoyed the characters in the book too and you can't help but love Annie. She has gone through so much and is such a firecracker. This book had danger and adventure but also had the feel good moments too. I loved the tension between Annie and the captain. He never comes right out and says how he feels about her and I was dying for him to say something. She is totally unaware of how most of the characters feel about her. This is a great book and I hope there will be This is a great book. I really enjoyed the characters in the book too and you can't help but love Annie. She has gone through so much and is such a firecracker. This book had danger and adventure but also had the feel good moments too. I loved the tension between Annie and the captain. He never comes right out and says how he feels about her and I was dying for him to say something. She is totally unaware of how most of the characters feel about her. This is a great book and I hope there will be more books about Annie and the captain.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Simon Okill

    Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout is an outstanding YA Historical Adventure set n the high seas. The author has perfectly described the settings of the day - 18 century England, The Realm and all the characters with loving attention for detail. The language is spot on and behaviours of the time towards women are suitably used as the heart of this wonderful novel. 15 year old Annie has always been blamed for her family troubles, so when her uncle dies in an accident she is found to be at fault. To Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout is an outstanding YA Historical Adventure set n the high seas. The author has perfectly described the settings of the day - 18 century England, The Realm and all the characters with loving attention for detail. The language is spot on and behaviours of the time towards women are suitably used as the heart of this wonderful novel. 15 year old Annie has always been blamed for her family troubles, so when her uncle dies in an accident she is found to be at fault. To avoid a life of torture and abuse, young Annie runs away, ending up on the filthy streets of London. She is reduced to begging for bread, but soon is starving to the point of no return. Pure luck sees her attract the attention of Captain Hawke, a ruthless sea captain but honest. Annie disguises herself and is hired as cabin boy to Captain Hawke. Once on the ship the story races off with wondrous action, seafaring details of the time and tension as Annie must conceal her real identity. Seafarers at the time thought it bad luck to have a female crew member and over the side was a distinct possibility. But Annie is not only clever, well read and brave, she is also forthright and often outspoken even to the Captain. And there are many adventures for Annie as The Realm's course crosses the vast oceans where pirates lurk. This beautifully written novel took me back to my childhood and reminded me of Mark Twain and I thank the author for writing such a masterpiece of historical fiction. FIVE STARS and very highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lilian Roberts

    This is a wonderfully written book. I found myself lost into a world of pirates and utter adventure. I fell in love with the heroine Annie and couldn’t help embrace her pain and sadness as an orphan having to endure abuse by a family member and finally finding herself living in the streets. I just can’t even imagine for someone having to endure that type of living. I was delighted to find out that at age 14 she decided that the only way she could get out of London and dangerous streets was to hi This is a wonderfully written book. I found myself lost into a world of pirates and utter adventure. I fell in love with the heroine Annie and couldn’t help embrace her pain and sadness as an orphan having to endure abuse by a family member and finally finding herself living in the streets. I just can’t even imagine for someone having to endure that type of living. I was delighted to find out that at age 14 she decided that the only way she could get out of London and dangerous streets was to hide the fact that she was girl and take a new identity as a boy in order to get a job on a ship. After having to face a lot of difficulties she succeeded in securing a job on Captain Hawks ship the Realm as Andres de le Cruz a cabin boy. Hiding her sex was the most problematic thing she had to face while living with a bunch of superstitious men. Working on the ship was a lot harder than she ever dreamed of, but the friendships she created with her shipmates were incredible and much needed to keep her going. The author did a superb job in taking the reader into a rollercoaster of adventures, bold fights among pirates and turbulent oceans. This is the kind of story that you would think only kids could fall in love with, but I found myself really enjoying the book. This is the kind of book that would create amazing dreams in young minds, and bring the kid into adult hearts. Bev Stout you did a wonderful job with this book and I will recommend it to my friends and all that would love to spend some enjoyable time with a great book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    JS

    Secrets of the Realm is a very well written novel. The story captivates your interest from the moment you start reading. This story is packed with lots of adventure and action with a little bit of romance! The characters were very well developed which made me more intrigued with the story! You will simply love the protagonist Annie Moore! I love how the author made Annie a strong, charismatic, stubborn at times female lead! You couldn't help but to root for her from the beginning of the novel to Secrets of the Realm is a very well written novel. The story captivates your interest from the moment you start reading. This story is packed with lots of adventure and action with a little bit of romance! The characters were very well developed which made me more intrigued with the story! You will simply love the protagonist Annie Moore! I love how the author made Annie a strong, charismatic, stubborn at times female lead! You couldn't help but to root for her from the beginning of the novel to the end! I think this was a fantastic YA historical fiction read and would recommend it to anyone!!! Hopefully the author writes a sequel to this!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laine Cunningham

    What a delightful read this is! Young adults, preteens and adults will find this novel a must-read. The story follows a girl who needs to escape an abusive situation. She does so by dressing as a boy so that she can safely move about in society. She ends up being hired as a cabin boy on a ship. What follows are adventures on the ship as she learns about her duties and a few adventures on land in different ports where they stop. Along the way, she finds friends in the most unlikely places, and some What a delightful read this is! Young adults, preteens and adults will find this novel a must-read. The story follows a girl who needs to escape an abusive situation. She does so by dressing as a boy so that she can safely move about in society. She ends up being hired as a cabin boy on a ship. What follows are adventures on the ship as she learns about her duties and a few adventures on land in different ports where they stop. Along the way, she finds friends in the most unlikely places, and some of those friendships promise to last her entire life. There is also an element of mystery about some of her fellow mates. The secrets and questions keep readers in suspense in a more subtle way than the other, more physical adventures. So this book reads well on the action level as well as the psychological level. I especially enjoyed the longer ending. Other authors who aren't as adept might have ended the book when she returns to a life on dry land. Stout, however, goes a step further and follows her new life just enough so readers can see the main character taking another step toward maturity. This along with the strong writing and fresh story proves this author to be very well suited to her career. Clearly this is a book that will be enjoyed by readers at many stages in their lives. A great story you can't miss! If you're a parent or teacher looking to enrich the lives around you, check out Seven Sisters: Spiritual Messages from Aboriginal Australia, which contains timeless advice interpreted for the modern reader. If you want to learn the shocking truth behind the lack of diversity in publishing, as told in the humorous voice of a long-time publishing professional, and what you can do to help, check out Writing While Female or Black or Gay: Diverse Voices in Publishing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Delacroix

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review, but after reading the book, I would have gladly picked this up myself! Normally I'm not a huge fan of stories set at sea, but there was something about the synopsis of this book that caught my attention. I had decided to read a few chapters a night until I finished the book, but I wasn't expecting to finish the book over a weekend, I simply could not put the book down. The story started simply enough, a young girl starting out on an adventure I received this book in exchange for an honest review, but after reading the book, I would have gladly picked this up myself! Normally I'm not a huge fan of stories set at sea, but there was something about the synopsis of this book that caught my attention. I had decided to read a few chapters a night until I finished the book, but I wasn't expecting to finish the book over a weekend, I simply could not put the book down. The story started simply enough, a young girl starting out on an adventure, but the more you read about Annie, the more you love her, root for her, and want to see her saved. Annie is everything you want a strong female character to be, plucky, smart and full of life, she doesn't back down, from anything or anyone. As the story progressed, I started to long for a little more romance, but the story-teller knew better, everything was exactly as it should be. No rushing, no overt scenes, just simple and a natural progression to the action. I admit that when the story ended, I was sad... I wanted more! I can't wait to see what happens next to Annie, Capt. Hawke, Mr. Montgomery and Abigail. Annie made me long for the sea, and for an indoor kind of girl, that's an accomplishment. I look forward to following this authors work, she's opened my mind to new experiences and I can't wait to read more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael DeStefano

    When a book has the power to take you from the present and thrust you over 200 years into the past from its very first page, effectively blotting out the distractions around you until a hundred pages have breezed by, that book commands attention. Bev Stout’s “Realm” is one such book. With an 18th century canvas, this period piece has all the elements that make for a captivating adventure. Stout’s alluring cover, intriguing title, and beautifully crafted storytelling all conspire to draw the reade When a book has the power to take you from the present and thrust you over 200 years into the past from its very first page, effectively blotting out the distractions around you until a hundred pages have breezed by, that book commands attention. Bev Stout’s “Realm” is one such book. With an 18th century canvas, this period piece has all the elements that make for a captivating adventure. Stout’s alluring cover, intriguing title, and beautifully crafted storytelling all conspire to draw the reader into the world of fifteen-year-old Annie Moore. The author paints her memorable characters, their dire circumstances and settings with equal precision. Meticulous attention to detail is evident from her deft employment of nautical terms to her use of distinctive and identifiable dialogue, each uniquely suited to the individual character. From the outset, the confluence of these critical components were destined to hold its reader captive. Stout infused her words with a color palette that popped into vivid reality. Annie, Hawke, Doc, and Symington were not simply names on a page, but living breathing entities whose presence materialized in front the reader. No riptide could steer you from the perfect course Stout charted in this swashbuckling adventure.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stevan Nikolic

    Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout was an enjoyable book to read. Well written, intriguing story and interesting characters capture readers’ attention and make an exciting, fun, and easy reading. The adventures of the young heroine Annie disguised as a cabin boy, aboard the sail ship, take us full circle from the London Harbor, across the ocean to the American coast and back. In the process, as the story is unfolding, we learn that Annie is not the only crew member with the secret. The characters Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout was an enjoyable book to read. Well written, intriguing story and interesting characters capture readers’ attention and make an exciting, fun, and easy reading. The adventures of the young heroine Annie disguised as a cabin boy, aboard the sail ship, take us full circle from the London Harbor, across the ocean to the American coast and back. In the process, as the story is unfolding, we learn that Annie is not the only crew member with the secret. The characters of the Captain, Doc, First Mate, and others are just enough developed to allow young readers to believe, imagine, and identify. By the conclusion of the story, readers, completely caught up in the world of the sea-man, are brought back to the land to witness Annie’s past catching up with her, and the happy end promising more adventures. Bev Stout’s novel is a real page turner. I hope that the Secrets of the Realm is the first book in a series. That would make much sense. It is “must read” even if you are YA only in the heart.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dick

    This is a wonderful story about a young girl who disguises herself as a boy and becomes the cabin boy on an 18th century English merchant ship. Annie Moore is a character that you can't help but fall in love with. I would recommend this book for all teens through seniors.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Justine Winans

    Being a fan of the sea and boats myself - there is no better feeling in the world than being out on the water - I was immediately intrigued with the idea of Secrets of the Realm. Although the plot point of a girl disguising herself as a man seems to be used quite often, it is usually in excellent stories. Also a fan of historical fiction, I had high expectations for this novel. Fortunately, they were all met, if not exceeded. I believe that Annie is a great voice for the story and an excellent ch Being a fan of the sea and boats myself - there is no better feeling in the world than being out on the water - I was immediately intrigued with the idea of Secrets of the Realm. Although the plot point of a girl disguising herself as a man seems to be used quite often, it is usually in excellent stories. Also a fan of historical fiction, I had high expectations for this novel. Fortunately, they were all met, if not exceeded. I believe that Annie is a great voice for the story and an excellent character to connect to. She is spirited, knows what she wants, and is not afraid to speak exactly what is on her mind. Although she may sometimes make decisions that are not agreeable, it just adds to her charm, and makes her a more realistic character. After all, I am sure everyone can say that they have acted without thinking quite the amount of times. One of the things that I look for most in a novel is the characters, and if you read my reviews, I believe I mention them quite often. Stout did an excellent job with her characterization. Captain Hawke is one of my favorites. There are so many different layers to him, and even after the book is finished, I want to know so much more about him. Being intimidating and commanding at times, he is also able to show a softer side of him, without losing his air of authority. He holds a very interesting story that will have readers consumed with his character. Another thing that I enjoyed with Secrets of the Realm also makes it stand out as a YA novel. Most books in the genre seem to emphasize male characters and a strong central romance, which unfortunately causes for a lack of development within the female lead. Stout strays away from this, and although - given the nature of the story - not too many strong female characters can be around, the female characters that are present, Annie in particular, more than make up for it. Along with that, there are many hints of romance without the subject taking over the entire plot. Dealing with love, loss, determination, the bond between crewmates, standing up for what you believe in, and many other topics that can hit home, Secrets of the Realm is brilliant, entertaining, and a fantastic read for all ages. Those who enjoy a great sailing story and historical fiction in general will devour the novel. Even for those who normally don't, I would recommend giving the book a try.

  11. 4 out of 5

    LAWonder10

    Who can resist a fun, historical story involving ships and the ocean? Secrets of the Realm was a very well written historical novel. It starts out briefly with an orphaned girl given to the care of a cruel aunt. Her slightly older cousin fears for her safety so helps her escape to the city where she might be able to find work. She soon fears she will die of starvation and exposure. If somehow she could be hired at the docks…she so loves the sea! This is a cute tale with action, adventure, intrigu Who can resist a fun, historical story involving ships and the ocean? Secrets of the Realm was a very well written historical novel. It starts out briefly with an orphaned girl given to the care of a cruel aunt. Her slightly older cousin fears for her safety so helps her escape to the city where she might be able to find work. She soon fears she will die of starvation and exposure. If somehow she could be hired at the docks…she so loves the sea! This is a cute tale with action, adventure, intrigue and some romance. The reader’s interest is captured with the first paragraph and from that point on it is very hard to put the book down for anything. Oh, and grab a box of Kleenex to have on hand towards the end of the story. There is never a dull moment. The heroine is a sassy, determined young woman. So many in that time of history had to be in order to survive in a man’s world. I do hope this is only the beginning of other sequels. Although the ending was complete, the reader was left with so many questions concerning the future of various characters. They seemed so real. The author sent me a copy for an honest review. The cover on the book was not nearly as good as the final cover. This new cover is so much more appropriate to the story line. This is definitely a strong Five Stars rating per my review of this book. It was sent for an honest review, of which I have given.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Giard

    When Annie's aunt blames her for her uncle's untimely death, Annie knows her only choice is to run. Disguised as a boy, she hides among the street urchins of eighteenth century London until a bold captain discovers her and hires her as a cabin boy. If life on the street was dangerous, it's nothing compared to the risks Annie faces as a female hiding among superstitious sailors. If she is to survive, her secret must be kept, and she'll have to earn the respect of the crew members. If she's discove When Annie's aunt blames her for her uncle's untimely death, Annie knows her only choice is to run. Disguised as a boy, she hides among the street urchins of eighteenth century London until a bold captain discovers her and hires her as a cabin boy. If life on the street was dangerous, it's nothing compared to the risks Annie faces as a female hiding among superstitious sailors. If she is to survive, her secret must be kept, and she'll have to earn the respect of the crew members. If she's discovered, she will lose the freedom she cherishes and the life on the sea she's learned to love. Filled withe memorable characters, this is a fun read that pulls its readers from one chapter to the next all the way through from beginning to end. Adventure lurks around every turn, along with a few surprise twists and a hint of romance. This is a great YA book for fans of historical fiction or readers looking to get lost in a grand adventure.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda Harley

    It is not often that I am surprised by a good story, but I found this story of Annie endearing and tugging at my heart strings through out. I could not help but cheer for her throughout, laugh with her, and cry with her. Annie is an orphan that is forced to live on the streets, and her stubbornness and sense of adventure is what lands her the prestigious job of cabin boy (or girl?) on Captain Hawke’s ship the Realm. Filled with pirates, daring fights, adventure, stormy seas, and new places, this It is not often that I am surprised by a good story, but I found this story of Annie endearing and tugging at my heart strings through out. I could not help but cheer for her throughout, laugh with her, and cry with her. Annie is an orphan that is forced to live on the streets, and her stubbornness and sense of adventure is what lands her the prestigious job of cabin boy (or girl?) on Captain Hawke’s ship the Realm. Filled with pirates, daring fights, adventure, stormy seas, and new places, this is definitely a book for every young adventurer at heart to enjoy. The writing was superb, the pace was excellent, and the story left me wanting for more, definitely a page turner. This is one of those rare books that I think younger kids will enjoy reading, and where parents can feel save about letting them read it without any worries. Bev Stout definitely kept her audience in mind throughout, and kept everything above standards. Well done!

  14. 5 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    A cute book about the adventures of Annie - a 15 y/o girl-posing-as-a-boy - on a ship. Storms, sailors, pirates, that sort of thing. It's adorable and naive, more suitable for a younger reader. I'm sure I would have loved it at age 14 or something, but right now it didn't do much for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    zapkode

    {my thoughts} - This book is about a teenage girl named Annie Moore. She is given a rough start at life when her parents and sister die. She is then forced to live with her Aunt and Uncle. When her Uncle passes she is told by her Aunt that she is cursed and then she is beaten. She runs away under the disguise as a boy in London. She is forced to beg for money and food. She is a ambitious, respectful, determined girl. She finds herself as the Cabin Boy on a Vessel called The Realm. She makes life {my thoughts} - This book is about a teenage girl named Annie Moore. She is given a rough start at life when her parents and sister die. She is then forced to live with her Aunt and Uncle. When her Uncle passes she is told by her Aunt that she is cursed and then she is beaten. She runs away under the disguise as a boy in London. She is forced to beg for money and food. She is a ambitious, respectful, determined girl. She finds herself as the Cabin Boy on a Vessel called The Realm. She makes life long friendships and she learns so much more about herself then what she had ever known before. This book is well written, it is attention grabbing and it certainly managed to make me cry a few times. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from start to finish. {reason for reading} - I was given a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christoph Fischer

    "Secrets of the Realm" by Bev Stout is an exciting historical adventure novel set on an 18th century ship, called Realm. 16 year old Annie runs away from an abusive aunt and after begging for a while pretends to be a boy to hire on the ship under the name of Andres. The ship is full of colourful and interesting characters, the life on the ship has been immaculately researched and described with excellent detail about all day routines and sailing at the time. The story is a great adventure with pi "Secrets of the Realm" by Bev Stout is an exciting historical adventure novel set on an 18th century ship, called Realm. 16 year old Annie runs away from an abusive aunt and after begging for a while pretends to be a boy to hire on the ship under the name of Andres. The ship is full of colourful and interesting characters, the life on the ship has been immaculately researched and described with excellent detail about all day routines and sailing at the time. The story is a great adventure with pirates and action as well. Very enjoyable.

  17. 4 out of 5

    MaryannC. Book Freak

    This was an exciting read and I was totally engrossed with this story about young Annie, who orphaned escapes her aunt's physical abuse by disguising herself as a boy and joins a ship's crew as the cabin boy. On the ship Annie must keep her secret while learning the duties of a seaman, facing danger and proving herself worthy. I liked Annie's determination and her spunk throughout this story, a great summer read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathi

    Very well written, adventurous book! Young and old will enjoy this amazing adventure! I could see the whole story unfolding before my eyes! Loved Annie and can't wait to see what adventures are in store for her!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    NOTE: The cover has changed now to one that I feel is much more appropriate for the content of the book! I really like it :) Secrets of the Realm was such a pleasant surprise for me. When I was first asked to review this book, I was a little hesitant and I'll have to admit that my hesitation came from the cover. You know the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" rule? This is one of those instances where you definitely shouldn't. After reading the promising premise and an excerpt from goodreads NOTE: The cover has changed now to one that I feel is much more appropriate for the content of the book! I really like it :) Secrets of the Realm was such a pleasant surprise for me. When I was first asked to review this book, I was a little hesitant and I'll have to admit that my hesitation came from the cover. You know the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" rule? This is one of those instances where you definitely shouldn't. After reading the promising premise and an excerpt from goodreads, I was hooked and knew I had to accept the request. I have really begun to enjoy reading historical fiction and Secrets of the Realm was no exception for me. The story follows Annie Moore who has been under her Aunt Mary's care since her family's death eight years ago and is working as a maid and companion for a girl named Abigail Spencer. But after her uncle dies in a tragic accident, Aunt Mary blames Annie and she is forced to flee with the help of her cousin Erik. They come up with the idea to make Annie appear to be a boy and she travels to London to become the cabin boy for Captain Hawke on a merchant ship called the Realm. While on board, Annie must keep her secret--if anyone found out she's a girl, her life on the Realm would be short-lived. The world-building is so great. I really felt like I was in a past London and aboard the Realm myself. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the characters that Annie met on her adventurous journey. Annie was a strong and fierce protagonist who knew what she wanted. She always tried to do what was best for those around her while also following her own dreams. I also enjoyed the interaction between Annie and her shipmates. She could definitely hold her own against them and earned her place on the ship. But while there is adventure on the high seas, there is also heartbreak. Working on a ship isn't the easiest job, especially during storms when a lot of bad things have the potential for happening. There is also the threat of pirates, making their voyage much more dangerous, and with the infamous captain of the Realm, a run-in with the pirates seems inevitable. If you're looking for a short, easy read with adventure, travel and a strong main character I suggest picking up Secrets of the Realm. I personally would have loved to read more about Annie and her shipmates; the book felt entirely too short. If Bev Stout decided to write more about Annie Moore's adventures, I wouldn't hesitate to read it. Such a lovely debut. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of her books in the future!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kimber Wheaton

    I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. When I received this review request from author Bev Stout, my first instinct was to turn it down. It's not my normal read and frankly, I was swamped. But I never turn anyone away without reading at least the first few pages. I'm so glad I did since I was immediately hooked and drawn into Annie's world. I can't even begin to say how much I loved Annie. From the very first moment we met her, my heart bled for this strong girl. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. When I received this review request from author Bev Stout, my first instinct was to turn it down. It's not my normal read and frankly, I was swamped. But I never turn anyone away without reading at least the first few pages. I'm so glad I did since I was immediately hooked and drawn into Annie's world. I can't even begin to say how much I loved Annie. From the very first moment we met her, my heart bled for this strong girl. Following along on her adventures was a real treat. She's intelligent, curious, and hard working. Many boys in that time wouldn't survive a week on the Realm, yet Annie manages through perseverance and enough moxie to make her character leap of the page. The long cast of characters on the Realm were so interesting. Christopher, the crippled former cabin boy was especially endearing. I really wish I could adopt dear, sweet Christopher. Captain Hawke was somewhat of an enigma. It will be interesting to see where Ms. Stout takes his character in the next book. Symington, Barrette, Abigail, and Doc are just some of the many characters that make Secrets of the Realm an interesting story. This novel is a very fast read; I couldn't put it down once I started reading. It was so easy to become lost in the story. Ms. Stout combines rich descriptions with entertaining dialogue and nonstop action to create a memorable coming of age tale. The only thing that bothered me a bit was the ending. It had what I consider a realistic ending. The last page or so did help make up for my disappointment. Secrets of the Realm is a great novel for everyone middle school and up. I know this is just the kind of adventure that my son and his middle school friends are always on the lookout for. It doesn't really matter that the main character is female. I think this novel will appeal to boys and girls alike. If you're looking for an exciting read that will sweep you up into a world full of adventure, add this one to your to-read list.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Marie

    It’s been a long time since a Middle Grade (MG) historical fiction has caught my interest. Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout drew me in hook, line, and sinker and kept me interested and wanting more throughout the whole book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect right off the bat with this one, I knew that it was historical fiction, but the title of the novel sounded somewhat mystical to me. While I was slightly surprised to see that it wasn’t, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed in the story. Sec It’s been a long time since a Middle Grade (MG) historical fiction has caught my interest. Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout drew me in hook, line, and sinker and kept me interested and wanting more throughout the whole book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect right off the bat with this one, I knew that it was historical fiction, but the title of the novel sounded somewhat mystical to me. While I was slightly surprised to see that it wasn’t, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed in the story. Secrets of the Realm is a gem of a book! Anne/Andres is a wonderful character who you are rooting for from the beginning to the end. I was constantly wondering if her crew mates were going to discover her secret— that the captain’s cabin boy is really a female in disguise. Annie was everything you could want in a young female protagonist. She was extremely independent and brave in an environment where many people thought women did not belong. It is easy for children and adults alike to connect with such a strong character. The supporting characters in this book were equally as intriguing. I found Doc to be one of my favorites. While he had a sad story, he was kind to Annie and took on such a wonderful fatherly role. Captain Hawke was an interesting man of many secrets, some of which I would still like to find out. The rest of the crew ranged from hilarious and endearing to unpredictable and somewhat frightening. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them all as well as the story. Secrets of the Realm was not only a wonderful, sea-faring voyage, but it was a rare look at a coming-of-age story. 5/5 Stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Full review on: http://novelteasereview.blogspot.ca/2... I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was curious when I had first seen the novel and read the description, but was not expecting to be enchanted. It's a wonderfully written historical adventure - a safe, clean, & perfect read for the YA audience that enjoys living vicariously through the pages of a book. The characters - especially the heroine - feel like old friends, and you won't want to put t Full review on: http://novelteasereview.blogspot.ca/2... I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was curious when I had first seen the novel and read the description, but was not expecting to be enchanted. It's a wonderfully written historical adventure - a safe, clean, & perfect read for the YA audience that enjoys living vicariously through the pages of a book. The characters - especially the heroine - feel like old friends, and you won't want to put the book down. It's descriptive and captivating. Thanks to Bev Stout for the opportunity to read & review - I'll be sharing it with my own children when they're a bit older.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    A teenage girl escapes abuse at the hand of her vindictive aunt by fleeing to London and, disguising her identity, becomes the cabin boy on the merchant vessel The Realm, which holds its own secrets. A quick, fun read, Secrets of the Realm manages to balance historical plausibity with beguiling adventure. Early on, I hoped for richer description of the characters, but they were subsequently fleshed out more in the midst of the novel's narrative. Overall, an enjoyable tale, definitely worth check A teenage girl escapes abuse at the hand of her vindictive aunt by fleeing to London and, disguising her identity, becomes the cabin boy on the merchant vessel The Realm, which holds its own secrets. A quick, fun read, Secrets of the Realm manages to balance historical plausibity with beguiling adventure. Early on, I hoped for richer description of the characters, but they were subsequently fleshed out more in the midst of the novel's narrative. Overall, an enjoyable tale, definitely worth checking out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mikehewett

    What a great story for teens of all ages. A real page turner and a delight to read. Can hardly wait for the sequel to arrive.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hafiza

    My favorite type of adventure story- girl masquerades as boy on a pirate ship. I hope we get a sequel soon! Fun story,

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This book is amazing! I really enjoyed it, and can't wait for the second book to come out.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was given a copy of “Secrets of the Realm,” by author Bev Stout. I had met Ms. Stout in a forum on www.goodreads.com where she was discussing her book. Being a huge historical fiction fan, I was so excited to her book. Ms. Stout’s book she penned takes on the YA genre and turns it upside down. Where most YA book with teen angst and such inner conflict that makes a grown person just want to scream, “Secrets of the Realm” takes a different approach. ***** Annie Moore has been living with her Aunt M I was given a copy of “Secrets of the Realm,” by author Bev Stout. I had met Ms. Stout in a forum on www.goodreads.com where she was discussing her book. Being a huge historical fiction fan, I was so excited to her book. Ms. Stout’s book she penned takes on the YA genre and turns it upside down. Where most YA book with teen angst and such inner conflict that makes a grown person just want to scream, “Secrets of the Realm” takes a different approach. ***** Annie Moore has been living with her Aunt Mary for eight years. When an unfortunate accident kills her Uncle William, Aunt Mary turns her anger onto Annie. After several beatings and verbal attacks, Annie realizes that she has only one option. If she’s going to survive this life and have some chance of a future, she has to leave the farm. Her cousin Erik offers his help in Annie’s escape. Chopping off her hair, giving her some of his clothing, Annie takes off and vows she will never return back to the farm. Knowing that she needs to leave London before she is found out, Annie devises a plan. Assuming the alias of Andres de le Cruz a 14 year only boy, Annie decides that becoming a cabin boy aboard the Realm is her only way out. However, Captain Hawke has other plans. After lining the potential cabin boys up, he decides that a young man named Lawrence is the prime choice. Enraging Annie and fearing that she will never get out of London, she pounces on Lawrence and proceeds to give him a pounding like she never knew she was capable of. With Captain Hawke’s first mate assisting to separate the two youngsters, Mr. Montgomery realizes that Andres has been wounded. Having given his orders to take Andres aboard and taken to the doctor, Annie has finally gotten what she was after; she is now aboard the Realm. Now if she can just convince the Captain to retain her once her wounds have healed. Annie (Andres) does everything that is humanly possible to conceal her sex. Knowing that a female about a shipping vessel is bad luck, she struggles to hide who she really is. Striving to gain the trust and companionship of her fellow sailors, Annie learns that work onboard the Realm is harder than expected. It’s the evenings that Annie longs for to help strengthen her bond with her shipmates. With singing, storytelling and just visiting, she learns that the friendships of these men are what she actually needs. The only problem is that the doctor and Captain are forbidding her to spend time below with all the men. It’s through the friendship and kindness of strangers that Annie learns that her future lays at her feet. However, when they come to port in London, everything turns upside down for Annie. Her past comes to haunt her as she struggles to hide who she was and has become. Will Annie come learn to face the truth and her past? Is she capable of divulging who she actually is without ruining the friendships that she has created? Is Annie even capable of dealing with her own truth about what is hidden deep inside her? ***** I can honestly say that for this being a YA book, I did enjoy the story. Unlike your typical YA novel, this one doesn’t deal with all the angst that many teenagers deal with. This story is more of a coming of age and learning to deal with the past that she is forced to leave behind. The main character learns that in order to survive, she has to create an alter ego. It’s through this alter ego that Annie finds that she is a much stronger person than she ever knew. I could see this story having a sequel. The bonds that Annie has developed with all the crew on the Realm would be a great story. Each character in this story has such a great back story. To take those secrets and develop it around Annie, would just tickle me pink. In conclusion, this may be categorized as a YA, but I feel that anyone would love this story of how one person struggles to find what is important in life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marie Clarisse

    [ I recieved an e-book copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ] To tell you guys the truth, I'm not much of a reader of Historical Fiction. I don't usually read this particular kind of books. So despite signing up to review this, I didn't really have a lot of expectations. Upon reading the first chapter, my initial toughts were, This sounds boring, the writing sucks, this is pretty hard to understand and so forth and so on. But as the plot unraveled, I started to like the story more a [ I recieved an e-book copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ] To tell you guys the truth, I'm not much of a reader of Historical Fiction. I don't usually read this particular kind of books. So despite signing up to review this, I didn't really have a lot of expectations. Upon reading the first chapter, my initial toughts were, This sounds boring, the writing sucks, this is pretty hard to understand and so forth and so on. But as the plot unraveled, I started to like the story more and more. The author's storytelling abilities really came to surface. Crazy as it sounds, I wanted to be Annie while reading this book. I wanted to be in 18th century England. I wanted to be on that ship. I know it sounds insane, considering that ship was filled with men. But who cares? She was enjoying herself. She was having the time of her life even though she was pretending to be a boy. She was free. And I want to feel how it's like to be in that position. I'll also make a comment on how Old English is so damn hard to read. (I just want to extend my thanks to the genius who invented the dictionary plugin on e-readers. It really helped me this time.) The terminologies were really foreign to me, but that's okay. Learning old english words was fascinating. And the way the sailors spoke was really amusing. The reason I'm giving this book four stars is because sometimes, there was too much going on at once. That's not a good thing. I wanted to finish this book in one sitting but I couldn't. I had to put this book down halfway to catch my breath. It was all too overwhelming. The ending though, was surprising. This is a stand-alone book, if I'm correct. But then the ending left many questions unanswered. Many blanks only your imagination could fill in. I liked that and hated it at the same time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Bennett

    Secrets of The Realm was a pleasant surprise to read. Very well written, the descriptions of life on the sea were intriguing and educational without being overdone and bogging down the story. I really got a feel for the places, people, the sea. Character development was good, each person in the story stood out with their own weaknesses, strengths, quirks, all were believable, especially Annie. Most of the story takes place on the sea as Annie, the heroine, struggles to keep her feminine identity Secrets of The Realm was a pleasant surprise to read. Very well written, the descriptions of life on the sea were intriguing and educational without being overdone and bogging down the story. I really got a feel for the places, people, the sea. Character development was good, each person in the story stood out with their own weaknesses, strengths, quirks, all were believable, especially Annie. Most of the story takes place on the sea as Annie, the heroine, struggles to keep her feminine identity a secret from the crew and be the best cabin boy the sea has ever seen. A small portion takes place back on land, and although the contrasts are great between the two scenarios (on sea, it's a rough and tumble world, on land, much more genteel) they still work together well to form the complete story. By the end, I was completely caught up in the world Bev Stout has created. This book is the first in a series, and the author ended it at a good spot, setting the scene up nicely for following adventures. The only aspect that bugged me a little bit (but not enough to drop the book down in ratings) was that I felt the possible romantic angles in the story weren't as developed as they could have been. More hints during the book of suggested feelings, especially on Annie's part, would have strengthened the ending and given a greater pull for the reader to eagerly anticipate the next book. Aside from that though, I thought this was a pretty great read and would highly recommend it. It's clean but still full of adventure, great storytelling and a hint of possible romance to come. Nik's Picks Book Reviews www.nikki-bennett.com (The author provided me with a free copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Riss Smith

    this book had great potential. it was written by someone who clearly had an amazing outline; I was really excited about it when my book club picked it, based on the description. but, yeesh it was poorly written. There is plenty there to have a great adventure story: the death of a beloved uncle, the sadistic abuse by the aunt, an escape from the small town and trip to London, where she scraped by a meager existence, and all before she made it onto the ship, The Realm, where the main story took p this book had great potential. it was written by someone who clearly had an amazing outline; I was really excited about it when my book club picked it, based on the description. but, yeesh it was poorly written. There is plenty there to have a great adventure story: the death of a beloved uncle, the sadistic abuse by the aunt, an escape from the small town and trip to London, where she scraped by a meager existence, and all before she made it onto the ship, The Realm, where the main story took place! but these things are barely touched upon, in fact, they're hardly expanded from the basic mention I gave! there's no description of sights, sounds, smells... you get the bare summary of events, without any of the richness of details that help a person to really feel engrossed in the world of the book. this author clearly had enough of an idea to have made an excellent book. had it been fleshed out, it easily could have had the action and adventure to make for a robust trilogy. for goodness sake, the heroine of the story is shot at one point, and from the beginning of what lead to it and the conclusion of her healing process took barely a couple pages! there was no chance to build up anticipation, or any kind of excitement for the impending action. in order to get that we have to have a chance to delve into the characters' minds, to know how they feel, to sense the mounting tension as the scene unfolds... it was frustrating how completely devoid of that this story was. I gave it a well deserved one star.

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