Book Review: Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout

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!
5 stars!

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