Review:Mr. Churchill's Secretary

From author Susan Elia MacNeal comes a fabulous debut and the start of a new historical mystery series featuring Maggie Hope.  The year is 1940, war has broken out in Europe and Maggie Hope - British by birth but raised in America - has arrived to London to sell a house bequeathed to her by her late grandmother.  Intending to return to her life in America as soon as possible (a coveted spot at MIT awaits her), the war soon changes everything.

Choosing to remain in London and support the war effort, a frustrated Maggie finds that her Wellesley education in mathematics doesn't qualify her for any useful employment beyond a typist.  Smarting from her exclusion from the misogynistic British boy's club, she nonetheless takes a position as a the newly-elected Prime Minister, Winston Churchill himself.

Despite feeling marginalized, Maggie excels at her position, but when she accidentally stumbles upon Nazi code in a newspaper ad she finds herself caught up in the world of MI5, sleeper agents, the IRA, cipher breaking, fifth columnists, and double agents.

If you loved the Maisie Dobbs novels, A Reader's Respite is willing to bet that you will love Maggie Hope.  Intelligent and endearing, Maggie's stoic practicality and droll wit are utterly charming while MacNeal's plotting is fast paced and keeps you turning the page.  Perhaps most impressive are the historic details: victory gardens, the Blitz, rationing and blackouts are so expertly woven into the narrative that the reader is almost unaware they are receiving an excellent history lesson.

Short-listed for an Edgar Award this year, Mr. Churchill's Secretary is first-rate historical fiction.  The next book in the series, Princess Elizabeth's Spy is already available and the third book in the series, His Majesty's Hope, will be released on May 14! move over, Maisie Dobbs, there's a new gal in town and her name is Maggie Hope.

Title: Mr. Churchill's Secretary
Author:  Susan Elia MacNeal
Publisher:  Bantam Books
Pages:  349
Source:  Library Copy

Rating:  4.5 Stars....this is good stuff!


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