The agency for scandal

The agency for scandal by Laura Wood

The agency for scandal cover

Eighteen-year-old Isobel Stanhope is keeping a lot of secrets. There’s the fact that she’s head over heels in love with a Duke who doesn’t know she exists; there’s the fact that her family is penniless but nobody in society knows about it; and then there’s her job at the Aviary, an investigative agency run by women that specializes in digging up scandal on powerful men.

When Izzy finds herself pulled into a case that involves gaslighting, blackmail, and missing jewels, as well as the Duke who holds her heart, can she and her friends untangle the web of secrets and lies to uncover the truth and protect the innocent? And when the stakes are so high, what happens when the crush she’s been hiding begins to turn into so much more?



21st February 2024 at 10:49 am

The Agency for Scandal was a fascinating yet fantastic read. It was a big and long book and took a while to get into. However, the book was amazing once it started to get in. The title really showcases the plot of the book. There are many brilliant events that occur in the book and each of them are better than the one from before! The tones of romance are just enough to intrigue but they don’t easily show the main storyline. My favourite character in this book would probably have to be Sylla Banaji as she is graceful and supportive yet quite witty. This is a fantastic read!


20th February 2024 at 10:38 am

The agency for scandal is a really interesting book, which has the perfect blend of romance and detective, with a bit of a mysterious touch, written from the perspective of a female spy who lives in the 19th century. Laura Wood did an amazing job at modifying a book that is about the past to fit the 21st century and make it really approachable. Rather than feeling like reading a dry history textbook this book really brings everything back to life and makes you feel like you have somehow travelled back in time with the author.
I felt like this book had amazing plot twists and heaps of emotions and even though there are no illustrations you feel like you can see the colourful images in your mind when reading this book.
I loved how her background is set as her father passed away and now, she has the responsibility of taking care of her family picture and is forced to find her way into this world while she doesn’t quite agree on the way everyone else thinks she should live (get married to a wealthy man and be a house wife).
Overall, this is a really good book and I really recommend it is definitely one of my favourites!


20th February 2024 at 10:04 am

This book was great. The plot was so amazing I didn’t even know how they could have thought of that it was just brilliant. For me this was a very exciting book and it was hard to put the book down. It was a great book to read.


20th February 2024 at 10:00 am

I loved this book and really enjoyed reading it. I don’t normally like romance books but I really enjoyed this one. I found it really hard to put the book down and I really wanted to keep on reading it.

Will Ardingly year 8

9th February 2024 at 9:06 am

Agency for scandal.
I did not like this book I found it quite boring. In this book there are characters called Max Vain and Isobel Stanhope who is a undercover spy.
In this book there is a hint to LGBTQ and it was set in Victorian times so it was illegal but a good hint.
The spy organisation is called the Agency, Isobel goes around disguised as a boy to walk freely without a problem.
Overall I found this book amazing at some points and boring at others.

George Y8 Ardingly

9th February 2024 at 9:05 am

This book is an intriguing mystery book about a girl Isobel and a young Duke called Max Vain. Isobel is part of a top secret spy group called the Agency. The amount of romance in this book was a bit too much for me but overall I enjoyed this book and it kept me thinking and changing my thoughts if Max fitted into her case. Can Isobel crack the code or is it too much for her too handle?


9th February 2024 at 9:03 am

The agency for scandal was one of the books I was most excited to read and it did not disappoint. From the first line I was immediately captivated with the story. I typically don’t like romance yet here I am, absolutely loving the romance elements of the story. I loved the characterisation of Sylla, especially the letters she sends to Isobel’s mother. I also liked the characters of Winne and Maud and if the author wrote a sequel I would love to see more about them. I would recommend this book to fans of Sherlock Holmes or James Bond and rate it a 10/10.

Charlie, Year 10 PCS

1st February 2024 at 2:28 pm

I enjoyed this book very much. The idea of a special agency that deals with scandals and the upper class is a great idea for a book. I also like the romance element that fits in well with the idea of the book. Izzy is a good main character and I liked her character very much. However one thing I didn’t like was a few unnecessary sections in the book that added nothing to the story.

Cienna Park community

1st February 2024 at 2:25 pm

‘The agency for scandal’ is my favourite book out of the 5. This book really reminded me of ‘Bridgerton’ I also loved that this book had a plot along with the perfect amount of romance. I recommend this for everyone!

Evie, Ardingly

31st January 2024 at 12:08 pm

This book was a long read for me but it was alright. It is set in the Victorian times and is about a girl named Isobel who is a spy. I did like how it is set in a different time and how sophisticated it was. The story line was great. In general I liked the book and would love to read more of Laura Wood’s books.

Madeleine Y8 Ardingly

31st January 2024 at 12:07 pm

The agency for scandal was a fascinating read! I thought that it was an interesting book, though it was long and a bit harder to get in to. I still thought that it was worth the read, and a very well written book. My favourite character was Isobel and I think she had a very fascinating story to her and a great personality so overall I thought it was a great book and I would one hundred percent recommend it to a friend!


24th January 2024 at 10:53 am

This was a very long read but I really enjoyed it! It’s based in Victorian times which I thought was interesting and how it takes you on a journey through the book. I love the mystery aspect of this book in the investigation and I couldn’t put the book down as I wanted to know what happens next! I would definitely recommend!

May, Ardingly

23rd January 2024 at 10:18 am

‘The agency for scandal’ is probably my favourite book out of the four Sothern Schools Book Award books that I have read. I love that it covers a topic that is a real problem and was an even bigger problem in the time it was set; the nineteenth century. It was nice to have a book that touched on topics that I might be interested in but I have never read about before. I also love the romantic aspect to the book that makes it just amazing. I would recommend this book to anyone – male and female as there are aspects that anyone would like if you are into that type of book. Although it was a thick book all of the things in it made it into the great book it is. An amazing read and I will definitely be getting a copy of this book!

Niamh, Year 10 Tanbridge House School

21st January 2024 at 7:35 pm

In this book Isobel is working for all-female detective agency to protect a lady in trouble. To make matters worse her long-time crush, Max, gets involved as she tries to juggle her job and her love life. By the end of the book, they fall in love, their tropes include forced proximity, one bed, fake dating. I loved this book so much! Due to the amazing story line, romance, and unique characters. I can’t wait to read more of Laura Wood’s work. I give this book a 10 out of 10.

Luca Brugnoli

17th January 2024 at 11:08 am

A very long book, took me ages to read but I finally finished it, this book was great, personally it wasn’t one of my favourites but it stretched my knowledge on vocab, so it has helped me in many different ways. I do like a good old detective book. Overall a great book.

George Yr9

16th January 2024 at 11:01 am

I thought Agency for scandal was an ok book; I didn’t really enjoy reading it but I thought that the idea was good just not brilliantly written. The book was set in the Victorian times which was quite nice to read about but apart from the rare good part I wouldn’t read any other books by this author again.

Chloe, Yr 8 Ardingly

14th January 2024 at 4:49 pm

I really enjoyed reading the Agency for Scandal. It was my favourite out of the other SSBA books I have read so far. At first, I was sceptical about the book just because of the length but it turned out to be really well paced and a great page turner. The Agency for Scandal is a mix of detective, mystery and romance which combines really well. I loved the many plot twists and how all of the characters’ personalities were represented. It gives an amazing insight to what life was like for women at the end of the 19th century. Overall, I would rate the book a 10/10 and would definitely recommend to anyone who wants a romance novel with a balance of mystery.

Sophia, Year 9

11th January 2024 at 10:13 am

The agency for scandal is a brilliant book which does a brilliant job of setting up the story, from the way the agency itself is described, but also Issy’s backstory and how she came to work with Mrs Finch. I really liked the pacing in this book, it never speeds over any plot points but there’s always something happening. I also like how the romance is a big part of the book, but it never takes away from the main part of the story. All in all, I would definitely recommend reading this book.

Alex – Year 8 – Tanbridge House School

10th January 2024 at 5:31 pm

‘The Agency For Scandal’ is an excellently written spy novel, with plenty of twists and turns to keep your eyes glued to the page. The characters are all well thought out, their personalities and interests used well, and the plot is a great mix of action, suspense, and romance. On another note, it also shows how poorly women were treated in history, with all their property becoming their husband’s upon marriage. Overall, I would recommend this book to fans of the ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ series, and also anyone looking for a good spy novel.


9th January 2024 at 11:01 am

Agency for scandal was a really thrilling book. It was really interesting how they managed to pull off all their undercover work. Also it was interesting to see how Isobel managed to keep a social life and a spy agent life. I really liked this book and enjoyed reading it.

Grace, Ardingly

8th December 2023 at 10:49 am

I really loved this book! I love how this book contains two different genres: detective mysteries and romance. Isobel is the main character and she has just got a job at a the spy agency after the tragic death of her father. Overall I really loved this book and I really recommend it to all readers!

Edward Y9

5th December 2023 at 10:51 am

This book follows the character of a Victorian female spy named Izzy. I really like the journey throughout this book and how we have to follow each event, and in my opinion the storyline was written fabulously. Also I really like how the book was set and the fact it was in the Victorian era, and how old fashion events such as operas and ball dances were involved, this greatly helped the plot of the book. And finally the subtle romances in this book were very well done as it didn’t outcast the plot entirely leaving for a good complement of love and mystery.

Overall this book had me gripped from the get go and the characters and plot were amazing, I would love for there to be a sequel so we could continue the events of Izzie.

Ana year 8 ardingly

5th December 2023 at 10:00 am

Although the agency for scandal was quite a long book it was enjoyable. It had a mix of two genres, romance and mystery. The way the book was written was simply amazing!
I would definitely recommend this book


5th December 2023 at 8:53 am

This book is a mystery novel, but I love how the author has put romance in the mix, it makes things a lot more complicated and interesting to read. I also like all the plot twists hidden in the novel it makes the reading experience way more exciting. My favourite part of the novel was when Isabella has doubts about the dress that was made for her (because its green) but when she tries it on, she discovers that it fits her perfectly and that the designer is very skillful.

Lizzy, Cavendish

1st December 2023 at 5:17 pm

Simply super

Mouna J, Ardingly College

25th November 2023 at 10:41 am

The agency for scandal. An agency of women. An agency of Justice.
This mystery romance book focuses on an agency made up of women, fighting to help other helpless women who are ruled by men. It is called Aviery.
Izzy Stanhope was an average daughter to a noble, but everything goes wrong when her father dies, and his dark secret comes out. It then becomes Izzy’s job to keep the family from crumbling into pieces and Aviery becomes her only way to glue them back together.
Max Vane is the rich duke of Roxton, and he’s more like Izzy than she thinks.
When they meet at a ball, Izzy falls in love but knows that it was not meant to be…
I enjoyed this book, and unlike many reviews which I have read, thought that the length of this book wasn’t too bad although I sometimes felt slightly lost whilst reading and had to look over a few chapters. I would rate it a solid 8/10 and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Enola Holmes.

Isobel, Seaford Head

24th November 2023 at 10:05 pm

The Agency for Scandal was a great book that had me gripped from the very first page. It focuses on the story of young Isobel Stanhope who is trying to juggle making a living for herself, her family and making her way in Victorian society.​

When Izzy and Max Vane, the Duke of Roxton, find themselves thrown together they find it hard to admit their feelings for each other. As they grow closer the stakes get higher and they have to uncover a sinister plot involving blackmail and murder.​

A thoroughly enjoyable book that had romance, adventure and mystery.


20th November 2023 at 3:29 pm

The Agency for Scandal is a 3.5 star read for me. I adored the idea behind the Aviary, but the writing, in my opinion, was mediocre and there was no real plot. I found it difficult to connect with any character as they were all so bland with no real personality. However, it was enjoyable enough and I truly loved the idea behind it. I do recommend this book if you would like an easy read, especially to get you out of a reading slump, but if you are looking to be more engrossed with characters and detailed plot, I do not recommend this for you. Max is basically a combination of Aaron Warner and Zeus, so if you like Aaron, this book is perfect for you. A lot of things are similar to scenes in other books, and I found the events rather predictable. I also believe it lacked drama and page-turning action. However, I loved James, and he was probably my favourite character along with Sylla. Overall, not bad, but not amazing.


17th November 2023 at 9:17 am

I found this book amazing! I like how it included two genres including romance and detective mystery.
At the start of the book Isobel got a job at The Aviary and whilst working in The Aviary she is also having to cope with her father’s tragic death. Overall I personally loved this book and would definitely recommend it to other readers.


17th November 2023 at 8:01 am

I thought the idea of The Aviary and their work was really interesting, especially considering it’s run by women. I loved Isobel’s double life, especially how easily she slips into the role of Kes. The side characters in the Charm were realistic and fit all the scenes with their multiple characteristics. I especially like Sylla, because she is independent and wilful, but is also unendingly loyal to The Aviary and their mission. I thought the scenes where Isobel and her charm were subtly stealing information or objects were written excellently and added to the female independence that this book projects. However, I thought that the character of Max Vane slightly overshadowed Isobel’s independence and her work. Especially seeing as she is such a strong character, seen in the scenes where she can take down fully grown male opponents.


14th November 2023 at 10:56 am

This is quite a long book that I found very exciting; the main things I really liked in this book were as a start I loved the way it highlights the different sides of societies, secondly I liked how the book educated me on the disappointing sexism and laws of the time, thirdly the thing I absolutely loved about this book was the build ups and the romance with mystery. These really made the book hard to put down as I always wanted to know what happens next.
Great book in my opinion 4/5 stars

Penny yr8

13th November 2023 at 11:26 am

I personally loved this book. It was very long but in the end it was worth it. The plot to it was brilliant because she had combined romance, history and action all together which is so clever! My favourite part in the book is when Izzy and her friend uncover the secrets of the mystery. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who likes romance with a twist of mystery.


13th November 2023 at 11:24 am

I personally loved this book. It was very long but in the end it was worth it. The plot to it was brilliant because she had combined romance, history and action all together which is so clever! My favourite part in the book is when Izzy and her friend uncover the secrets of the mystery. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who likes romance with a twist of mystery.

Louisa year 8 Ardingly

12th November 2023 at 10:54 am

I really enjoyed The Agency for Scandal although I found it was quite a slow read and took a while for the story to develop however once the plot started to get more interesting, I couldn’t stop reading it. This book is the perfect combination of romance, action and spy. This book is set in the 19th century, with the main character being Isobel Stanhope an 18-year-old girl who has recently lost her dad. She is offered a job at the Avery an all-female detective agency that she must accept to keep her family’s reputation.
I recommend this book and will be reading more of Laura Woods books

Heather, Year 9, Ardingly

8th November 2023 at 6:44 pm

The Agency for Scandal was a fun read. Following Isobel on her journey to destroy the power that a man holds, you are transported on a rollercoaster of emotions. Isobel tries to keep her two lives separate but struggles as new factors come into play in her latest case. It showed the struggles of women in 1800s. I loved this book and will look out for other books by this author.

James, yr8, Ardingly

8th November 2023 at 12:02 pm

The Agency for Scandal was quite like James Bond in a lot of ways with an agency, lots of exciting events and some romance as well. Personally I do not like romance stories but it really added to an already very well thought out book. Almost every touch of it drew me in and had me wondering which way it was going to go. If you like the suspense, excitement, disguises, heists and secrecy in your books then this is the one for you. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys romance or spy books.

Ayla (Year 9)

6th November 2023 at 6:37 pm

I really liked this book! The title is alluring and really showcases the plot which, at first, was a bit long to get into but once I did I thought it was great. I liked the fact that the love story aspect of it was entertaining but not overpowering to the main story and that the characters were really well written and went well with each other. I loved that it was set in the 19th century and I enjoyed the whole plot and idea of the book! I rate this a 4/5!


4th November 2023 at 5:14 pm

A must read book that’s almost impossible to put down – both captivating and thrilling. A 19th century London plot of society and mystery all entangled in the life of the wallflower Isobel Stanhope a young women with many secrets.

Since her father passed away, she has had the responsibility of the family, however with her mother ill and her brother very young and oblivious to the struggle for money she has to find her way into society and despite her mother wanting her to get married she’s not interested.
Although, as the story progresses she finds her self hopelessly in love with the Duke of Roxton; her life comes crashing to a halt and everything depends on her work.

Celia (Seaford Head)

4th November 2023 at 1:14 pm

The Agency for Scandal was a thrilling read; it was the perfect blend of mystery, adventure and empowerment, enough to keep any reader on their toes. Set in the late eighteenth century, the book’s protagonist Isobel Stanhope represents all of the problems which women in her world face, and throughout the book we follow Isobel on her journey to forge a place for herself and other women in a world that was not designed for them. Intriguing characters, powerful messages and edge-of-seat-action gives readers all they could want in a book, keeping you gripped until the very end. A wonderful read, worth every word.

Ava, Seaford Head

3rd November 2023 at 4:34 pm

I found that this book was a wonderful rollercoaster of emotions as the reader is guided through the ups and downs of Izzy’s complex life. It shows how difficult it was for women in the 20th century whilst adding modern themes. Overall I loved this book and would definitely recommend.

Florence ,Seaford Head

3rd November 2023 at 4:30 pm

This was an exemplary example of how books from the past can be modified to fit the 21st century. The links to Jane Austen were subtle enough to allow appropriate context.The authorial intent was used in such a way that the main character, Isobel, is relatable and provided morals without boring the reader.In conclusion this book is perfect for those aged 12 to 16, who are looking for a well rounded book.


3rd November 2023 at 3:56 pm

This book in my opinion is incredible. I loved all of the twists and turns and the unexpected ending was my favourite part – to finding out something you wouldn’t think could be possible. I would definitely read it again which I find is rather surprising for me because I’m not particularly a fan of romance however I did get engrossed with it and I absolutely recommend it to other readers.

Rose, Zoe and Georgina – Downlands

1st November 2023 at 5:20 pm

We loved Agency for Scandal because it was a really fun read and contained lots of views and prejudice from the time period but with a creative spin on it. It had a very unique way of showing the differences in society and the impacts of its sexist views and laws. We loved how the romance and tension builds up over the book and ends in a big finale. This was also a really interesting book and it uncovered lots of matters that we had never come across before and that had been hidden over time. This book also showed that lots of the views that society has today aren’t new and have existed for a long time. Although this book comes across as lightweight and silly it shows that our views need to change.

We also like that there are lots of characters with interesting backstories and that the book shows the time period as it was and not as many history books show it. We also liked the way that Izzy simply changed clothes and became an entirely different person, as this shows that men had so much more power then women.

Ivan, Ardingly

29th October 2023 at 7:09 am


This is a loooong book. And in a long book lots of things happen. I like the fact that Isobel also plays kes and that she 1st interacts with the duke of roxton with a different character , not herself. The next thing I like is that she was turned down many, many jobs and then somehow she breaks into the unbreakable safe??? My favourite thing is how mrs finch who knows everything actually doesn’t know some things. I don’t like the fact that the dog is only talked about in the moment when Isobel 1st saw the duke the 1st time and never again after that. So its only 4.5 stars. If we saw the dog again it would be 5.

Lucy, Ardingly

18th October 2023 at 5:20 pm

Isobel Stanhope is, as she would describe it, a wallflower. But wallflowers have petals that can hide something. In love with one of the most eligible bachelors in the country yet working for a spy agency that gives women power and helps save the women mistreated in broken marriages.

The aviary is an agency that uses scandals to blackmail powerful men into giving their wives rights. Essential, but illegal, work and she is technically a criminal and a spy.

She is also running out of money and trying to support her failing household. Yet, as she peels back the layers with her love, the layers of the flower that makes up her are also sifted through. It sends a clear message – share a problem to deal with it. With skill, luck and a hint of romance, she undermines one of the most powerful man, who is set to be prime minister. But will she get through the case unscathed and can she do so without causing a scandal?

Personally, I think agency for scandal is a true modern masterpiece. The way Laura Wood has combined spies, romance and set it in a historical era in one book is pure genius. One of my favourite things about this book is how it is split up into different sections depending on location. A book you can’t put down, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance, adventure and a few twists along the way. I will look for other books by this author.

Bertie, SRWA

18th October 2023 at 12:58 pm

Extremely good. That’s all I have to say.

Isabelle (Seaford Head)

13th October 2023 at 4:21 pm

This is a book I found hard to put down. It is the perfect mix of romance and mystery. This book follows the life of Isobel Stanhope a who is hopelessly in love with Max Vane. But Isobel is not what she seems, she is in-fact a female spy working for a group of woman who’s aim is to help woman from their husbands clutches.
This is a great book in which I highly recommend!

Emily, Yr 9

9th October 2023 at 5:19 pm

The Agency For Scandal was so good! It was intriguing from the start, and I love how it was set at the very end of the 1900’s.
It was also extremely well-written.
I would definitely recommend this book – 5/5 stars!!

Zach (Y8 Ardingly)

9th October 2023 at 9:56 am

This book is a mystery book based about a girl called Isobel Stanhope who’s in love with a Duke called Max.
She is part of a spy organisation called The Agency, in the disguise of a scruffy boy and when she realises Max fits in to her case she tries to work out who is part of this case.
What do they want? Can she crack the code or will the time run out?
Personally I rate this book a 5/5


9th October 2023 at 9:34 am

I really enjoyed this book, Laura Wood is my favourite author so when I saw that this book was on the list I was ecstatic. I was sceptical at first, but when I got into it, I couldn’t put it down, I loved how Iris Grey and Nick Wynter were in the book, I found it a great crossover, all in all, a great book!


4th October 2023 at 8:50 pm

The book is a spy novel set in the 19th century about a female spy. I found it took a bit long to get into but once it did I couldn’t stop reading until the last word. I found the description of the characters was very good and the way that Laura Wood put spy and romance into one was truly wonderful. As I read this book I was transported into the world of 19th century London and what it was like. There was one character called Max Vane who I particularly enjoyed reading about. I found he was almost three-dimensional because he didn’t have just one side to him but multiple.
If you like the combination of action and romance in a historical setting then I think this is the book for you. Happy Reading!

Jauhara, Year 8 Ardingly College

29th September 2023 at 9:27 am

A women is a man’s property, a woman is like a doll, she has to be gorgeous to be loved and wedded. But not all marriages are meant to be, that’s where the Avery -a spy company- comes in, to get ladies away from harm’s tentacles. Men’s tentacles. The protagonist, Izzy is a skilled lock-picker, you’d never expect a noble lady like her to be a spy. But why is she a spy?


24th September 2023 at 11:19 am

This book was amazing, now I’m not usually a person who likes romance but Laura Wood’s way of entwining it into the detective side of the story is extraordinary, this book had me gripping onto to it till the very end. The ending was unguessable and the journey of the characters is very interesting. I especially like theme period that the book was set in, the late Victorian age with ballrooms and opera in the prime makes it even more exciting.

YP Year 8 Ardingly College

22nd September 2023 at 9:23 am

This is a fantastic book and one really hard to put down. Every time I read it, I kept telling myself ‘Just 1 more minute,’ until it was too late to be reading! One thing I would like is if Laura Wood makes this book into a series. I would enjoy hearing about Izzy’s next missions. Overall, I love the book and I would definitely recommend it to other readers! 🙂

Lizzie, Year 9 Ardingly College

21st September 2023 at 9:03 pm

This book is brilliant. The title is amazingly worded, and really showcases the plot of the book. Which, incidentally, is fabulous as well. There are so many brilliant events, and each of them is better than the one before. The underlying tones of romance are just enough to intrigue, but don’t overshadow the main storyline. The characters are excellently thought out, and complement each other wonderfully. If I had to choose, I think my favourite character would have to be Sylla Banaji, because she is witty and graceful and supportive, but not overbearing. She does exactly what is needed for the Aviary, and for Isobel.

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