The Counterfeit Princess was written by Jane Resh Thomas.
Red haired Iris is 15 when her parents are taken from her home and imprisoned for political reasons. Soon Iris is left an orphan and homeless and penniless. Her fortunes change when she agrees to work as a spy against the Duke of Northumberland who was responsible for her parents’ execution. She works hard as a kitchen maid/spy and then is selected for a dangerous mission as a decoy for the Princess Elizabeth.
OK, I should have adored this. The focus is Tudor intrigue. It has daring missions and disguises and a brave heroine. There is also quite a bit about clothes.
But I didn’t care for it much. Iris, at first, is quite believable in her shock that everything has been taken from her. Her eventual decision to seek her vengeance on the Duke of Northumberland had me rooting for her. But then her focus wavers and she spends a lot of time attempting to avoid accepting her status as a noblewoman. I didn’t think this was particularly believable no matter much fun being a kitchen maid was.
Not that it wouldn’t be believable now. Just not so much then.