Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi
English | 2020 | YA Historical Fiction | ePUB | 2.2 MB
A reimagining of the story behind Agent 355–a New York society girl and spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War–perfect for fans of Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key and the novels of Julie Berry.
Rebellious Frannie Tasker knows little about the war between England and its thirteen colonies in 1776, until a shipwreck off her home in Grand Bahama Island presents an unthinkable opportunity. The body of a young woman body floating in the sea gives Frannie the chance to escape her brutal stepfather–and she takes it.
Assuming the identity of the drowned Emmeline Coates, Frannie is rescued by a British merchant ship and sails with the crew to New York. For the next three years, Frannie lives a lie as Miss Coates, swept up in a courtship by a dashing British lieutenant. But after witnessing the darker side of the war, she realizes that her position gives her power. Soon she’s eavesdropping on British officers, risking everything to pass information on to George Washington’s Culper spy ring as agent 355. Frannie believes in the fight for American liberty–but what will it cost her? Inspired by the true “355” and rich in historical detail and intrigue, this is the story of an unlikely New York society girl turned an even unlikelier spy.
“Shut up, Wilcox,” said the other one. Then he glanced at me like he wanted to know, too.
“Tell me where I’m being sent and I’ll answer.” I already thought I knew, but I needed to be sure.
They shared a look.
“Go on, Wilcox,” said the one with the shears. “Tell her.”
“You tell her, Bradley.”
Bradley lowered the shears and exhaled, his breath sour with the smell of tobacco. “There’s whispers amongst the men you’re going to the Jersey prison hulk.”
My knees nearly crumpled beneath me. Prison. I’d guessed right. But even worse—the Jersey. Where men were sent to die. Where no women were sent at all. I’d be the first one. The only one.
“Your turn,” Bradley said, impatient for my answer.
“No. I’m not a spy,” I lied, though I could’ve told the truth. I’d been caught; the worst had already happened. But I didn’t owe these men anything. Certainly not what I valued most. “This is all just a misunderstanding,” I added, and in spite of everything, I felt a smile tug at my lips.
Snip went the shears.
When he was done, I ran my hand over my scalp, learning a part of myself for the first time. I felt sharper. Honed. I could feel the air around me the same way I used to feel the ocean when I dove.
The marine with the rope—Wilcox—stepped outside and came back with a bundle of folded clothing.
“You’re to change into these.” He set the bundle on the berth, then turned away. Bradley went to stand beside him.
I stared at their backs for a moment, letting a wave of fear pass. Hands trembling, I unlaced my gown and petticoats and let them slip off. My stays laced in back, though.
“I need help,” I said.
“I’ll go get—”
“No.” I knew who they’d bring and I couldn’t bear to see him again. I went to Bradley, turning my back to him. “Cut the laces.”
“Lord forgive me,” he muttered. Then he sliced a path up my spine.
The pressure of the stays gave way and my lungs eased fully open. I stepped away and tossed them on the berth, then pulled my shift over my head. As it billowed to my feet, gooseflesh rippled over me and I had the strange realization this was my first time bare in the presence of a man. That it was two men and nothing at all how I’d hoped it would be.
I pulled on the shirt and trousers, the ozenbrig material rough as a cat’s tongue. Such a part of my past—and now my future. There were leather shoes as well, dirty and worn, but a decent fit.
“I’m ready,” I said. Another lie, but a strange calm had befallen me. I felt as quiet inside as winter. I was trapped—but freed from decisions. From calculations and lies. All I could do now was continue.