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December 16, 2015

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary


Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
Maggie Hope Series #1
Mystery
2012 Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Read by Donada Peters
Finished on May 5, 2015
Rating: 3/5 (Good)



Publisher’s Blurb:

Heralding the arrival of a brilliant new heroine, Mr. Churchill's Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge--and the greatness that rose to meet it.

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined--and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family's hidden secrets, she'll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin's murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character, Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.

I’ve enjoyed listening to Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series (set after the Great War), so when the first installment of Susan MacNeal’s series became available at my library, I decided to give it a go. Several of my friends have enjoyed this series and while I liked the historical aspects of the novel, I didn’t fall in love with the characters or narration. It was a good listen, but I doubt I’ll continue with the remaining books. I prefer to read mysteries with a little more substance and suspense. This one felt a bit juvenile and the characters lacked depth.

9 comments:

  1. Doesn't sound like a book for me either, but I think my mom might like it.

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    1. She might. I know this author has quite a following.

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  2. I read it three years ago, and jotted this down: "Fun, interesting, great setting - London and Bletchley Park in World War II, winning heroine and good supporting characters. And a glimpse of Winston Churchill himself. Delightful." That said, I agree with all you wrote, and I haven't read any others by her. Mostly, I don't like mixing my nonfiction and fiction.

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    1. I agree with you, Nan. There was something "off" about having Churchill converse with this fictional character. However, I did enjoy Mary Doria Russell's novel about Churchill and Lady Gertrude Bell.

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  3. I think I'd like this one but missed out when I could get it online.

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    1. I'll bet you can get it from the library.

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  4. I read it several years ago and was disappointed. I know a lot of people love the series, but it is one I can happily skip the sequels.

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    1. Yep, I'm not compelled to read any more. I feel that way about Louise Penney and Jacqueline Winspear's books, too. They were good, but not really my thing.

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  5. I agree with your thoughts, but liked it a little more than you did.

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