Special Review, YA Historical

Book Review: Secrets of the Realm by Bev Stout


I want to thank the author Bev Stout for giving me a copy of her book in exchange for a honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

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?


A lot of YA Historical novels that I’ve read, seem to have dumb-downed their language, or they use contemporary english in order to make it easier for the reader to read. Secrets of the Realm is different. The first thing that we notice when reading this book is that we get a very different english than the one we use everyday. We also learn sailor slang of the era the book is set in. If you ever find yourself time traveling into the past, this book might save you from trouble. It also teaches you how to become a cabin boy if you are a girl. 🙂

At first, I wasn’t so sure if I liked Annie. Her temper and her actions seemed to get her into trouble all of the time. Through the course of the novel though, she grew and I started to like Annie a lot more. The secondary characters that I absolutely loved and dare I say loved before Annie, were Doc and Christopher. They both helped Annie in so many ways and made Annie a more relatable and personable character.

Now, let’s talk about someone I’ve been avoiding on purpose for several reasons and that is Captain Hawke. For a while there, I didn’t know how old Captain Hawke was, but towards the end, I figured out how young and handsome he is. I dare not say more for the sake of not spoiling you.

I also want to point out quickly that Annie’s attitude for a girl in 18th Century England is not the norm. I love that she prefers sailor clothes over frilly dresses, and that she is strong willed. We can really see the difference in her attitude when the men are telling a story about something dangerous that happened out at sea and one of the lady’s at dinner is fainting, saying such a story was giving her vapors. The author clearly shows how differently women were viewed in the 18th Century.

Lastly, I enjoyed the culture created by the sailors in the Realm. In the Realm, they are all family and all depend on each other to defend the boat and help it get across the seas to its destination.


I really enjoyed Secrets of the Realm even though it was a little slow at first. It is important you take in everything as you read it because some parts of the book are jam-packed with really fast paced scenes. I had to re-read some parts in order to fully capture what had been written.

If you like Historical fiction and are a fan of the sea and the sea life, I would recommend this book to you.

Rating: 4/5