The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen

The Girl in the Mask

Written by Marie-Louise Jensen

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March 2012 Book of the Month. How can feisty Sophia take her revenge on her father for forcing her into a life of high society in Bath? Outwardly, Sophie conforms by attending balls and masques. But, at night, she leads quite another life risking all by changing her appearance and turning to crime. It is a dangerous and difficult path to tread and following Sophie’s clever handing of the situations makes a thrilling costume drama.

Marie-Louise Jensen's first novel, Between Two Seas, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and the Waterstones Children's Book Award. Click here for more by this fantastic author.


The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen

'Stand and Deliver! Hand over your valuables if you value your life!'

Sophia's duty is clear. Look pretty, behave well, and find a husband as soon as possible.

Set in Georgian England, fifteen-year-old Sophia is trapped by the limitations of living in a man's world. Forced by her father to give up everything she loves, Sophia is ordered to make a new life in Bath. By day Sophia is trapped in the social whirl of balls and masquerades. By night, she secretly swaps her ball gowns for breeches, and turns to highway robbery to get her revenge ...When one man begins to take a keen interest in her, Sophia must keep her distance, or risk unmasking her secret life.


Praise for Between Two Seas:

'A riveting read ... I was left with a real sense of having been there myself, and can offer no higher praise than that.' Philip Ardagh in The Guardian

The Lady in the Tower:

'Any girl in her early teens is going to love this' - The Bookbag

Daughter of Fire and Ice:

'Shows [Jensen's] talent for suspenseful historical fiction' - Amanda Craig, The Times

Sigrun's Secret:

'With feisty heroines and rich period details, Jensen is one of the best historical writers around.' The Bookseller

'Her novel about a young girl growing into womanhood brings wonderful light into this tale of the Dark Ages.' Trevor Thompson, Carousel

About the Author

Marie-Louise Jensen

Marie-Louise Jensen was born in Henley-on-Thames to an English father and Danish mother. She studied Scandinavian and German with literature at the UEA and has lived in Denmark and Germany. After teaching English at a German university for four years, Marie-Louise returned to England. She completed an MA in Writing for Young People at the Bath Spa University in 2005. Marie-Louise now lives in Bath, reads, reviews and writes books for young people and home educates her two sons.

Marie-Louise’s first novel, Between Two Seas, received brilliant reviews and found many fans, as well as being shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and the Branford Boase Award. The Lady in the Tower was shortlisted for the 2009 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize.

She is a contributor to The History Girls blog - click on the link to visit.

In her own words:

"At age 11, I possibly suffered severe psychological damage having to wait for a week to discover whether Aragorn survived the battle at Helm’s Deep. My family moved around a lot and in 1979 we moved down to the Bath area, where I’ve been based (on and off) ever since. By late secondary school, I’d discovered there is a way of reading all day and calling it work. It’s called literature. I did A-levels in English, German and French followed by a degree in German and Scandinavian (with literature) at the University of East Anglia. I noticed all the books I’d read at school and uni were written by men. So I did a PhD at Bristol on German women writers to balance things up. The reading was great but the thesis got me down and I never quite finished.

"Between 1990 and 1995, I moved to Münster, Germany, to teach English at the Westfälische Wilhelms Universität. My first son was born in Germany. Returning to England in 1995, I resolved that my two boys weren’t going to go to school unless they wanted to. At ages 12 and 9, they haven’t decided to yet. I’ve had endless fun reading them all my favourite children’s books and discovering new ones. I do waste some of their time with maths but I never confiscate their books. Our hobbies are lots of different sports - and going to book signings to meet children’s authors. I finally decided it was time to start writing books as well as reading them. I did an MA in creative writing at the Bath Spa University in 2004-5, and was fortunate enough to have my first novel accepted by an agent and a publisher soon after."

Q & A with Marie-Louise Jensen

1. What inspired you to write your current book?
I live near Farleigh Hungerford Castle (which is in Wiltshire) and when I heard the story of how Lady Elizabeth Hungerford was locked in a tower for four years and that nobody knows how she escaped, it set my imagination going. I researched the family and what I couldn’t discover about them I invented.

2. Describe it in two lines?

An adventure with jousting, betrayal, midnight escapes, friendship, family and romance.

Fifteen months.

I hope they will find it exciting, find that it brings Tudor times to life and that they will care about what happens to Eleanor.

I’ve just finished a Viking book set in Iceland and am working on a second. I’m also working on a project with another children’s author, David Calcutt, which is very exciting.

I love most fruits.

My brother’s jokes.

My laptop with power and an internet link!

My trip round Iceland to research my Viking books in 2007 was pretty spectacular.


11. What is the worst/most unusual job you have ever done?

I worked part time in a cocktail bar for a couple of years.

12. Who is the person you most admire?

All the women who have fought for a fair world in the face of overwhelming odds.

13. What is your most embarrassing moment?

It’s less embarrassing if I keep that to myself.

14. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Never say anything behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t like them to hear. Do I stick to it? Well, not quite…

15. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone?

That would have to depend on the person.

16. Last album bought? First album ever bought?

Last: James Blunt - Back to Bedlam.
First: Marillion – Script for a Jester’s Tear.

17. What are you reading at the moment?

Leila Rasheed: Socks, Shocks and Secrets

18. Favourite holiday destination?


19. Which authors have most inspired you?

JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis were the writers who made me want to become a writer as a child. More recently, JK Rowling and Jennifer Donnelly.

20. What is your favourite children’s book?

There are so many wonderful children’s books: how could I choose just one??

21. Most treasured possession?

My collection of signed children’s books.

22. Where are you happiest?

I love spending the summers in Northern Jutland in Denmark. The air is so clear and fresh and we can hear the sea from the house.

23. Favourite biscuit?

Those Bahlsen ones with the mega-thick milk-chocolate layer.

24. Pet hates?

Apostrophes where they don’t belong and people saying, “He was sat in his car.”

25. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I’d love to be one of those naturally thin, elegant women with good dress sense!

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Book Info


320 pages


Marie-Louise Jensen
More books by Marie-Louise Jensen

Author's Website


Oxford University Press

Publication date

1st March 2012




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