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Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia…
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Mr. Churchill's Secretary (2012)

by Susan Elia MacNeal

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maggie Hope (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,04612012,467 (3.53)149
After German Luftwaffe bomb London, Maggie Hope--trained in math and code breaking, but only able to find a job as Winston Churchill's secretary--uses the access her position demands to try to unravel an assassinate plot.
  1. 20
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (yonitdm)
    yonitdm: They both feature brilliant, strong women as main characters, plus mystery, intrigue, and many, many cups of tea.
  2. 00
    The Whole Stunned World: Between Boston and Burma by Jenny Ruth Yasi (rxtheresa)
    rxtheresa: Also an historical novel by a first time author. It is about Burma, not Great Britain and struggles during time of war.
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» See also 149 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
This was only a so-so read for me. I found the plot intriguing, but the style was less than I am accustomed to reading and the characters were interesting but not fleshed out enough. Also there were a number of anachronistic references in language and attitude. Don’t think I’ll continue with the series unless someone wants to convince me otherwise. ( )
  beebeereads | Jul 4, 2019 |
This historical mystery introduces Maggie Hope who is in London to settle her grandmother's estate after being raised by her aunt in the Boston area. She is a college graduate in Mathematics who was accepted to graduate school at MIT. She thought her time in London would be short but, with war looming, the house isn't quick to sell. Maggie also comes to believe that it is necessary for her to contribute to the war effort.

Maggie has taken in a number of roomers to help defray her expenses including a school friend from her high school days, and Irish nurse, a ballerina, and two twins who are in the theater. Her school friend Paige suggests that she get a job for the new Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Maggie wants to be a Private Secretary - a position she is highly qualified for, but her gender is relegating her to the typing pool where she spends a lot of time working closely with Churchill.

Meanwhile, there is the mystery of the death of the young woman whose place Maggie has taken, IRA operatives working in England in the hopes that they can gain more for Ireland if Germany wins the war, and spies of all kinds.

Maggie has secrets surrounding her too. Her aunt told her that both of her parents died when she was an infant. However, she can only find her mother's grave and begins a search for her father. It seems she is the only one who doesn't know the truth about him as her employers know things she doesn't.

This was an entertaining mystery absolutely steeped in the time period. From fashion, to rationing, to bomb shelters and air raids, to the constant haze of smoke that seemed to hover over all scenes, the 1940s came vividly to life. I enjoyed learning more about the secret war to defeat Hitler and Maggie's code-breaking activities. ( )
  kmartin802 | May 20, 2019 |
London 1940. Margaret “Maggie” Hope wants to work for the British intelligence, but as she is a woman she ends up being a typist at No. 10 Downing Street. But she has a knack for code breaking and soon she does a lot more den typing for the prime minister.

This book was OK, not fantastic to read, but enjoyable since I love historical mystery books. Maggie Hope is a good character and there were a lot of likable characters around her. I can't say that I really liked her relationship with John. For some reasons, their relationship didn't click for me. The plot in this book was interesting, there is a plot to kill Winston Churchill and it doesn't take much brain work to figure at that one person around Maggie isn't who she is saying she is the question is who? There wasn't really any real twist to the story, no real aha moments. Everything unfurled nicely along the way and that was the problem, I wanted the story to be a bit more problematic, more nerve chilling, but alas, it was not to be. Still I will continue with the series. I liked the book enough to feel that I want to read more and I especially liked Winston Churchill in this book.

( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |


3.5. I enjoyed this book that's similar in some ways to Masie Dobbs. Although it's not as well written as Winspear's series, I still look forward to the next in this series. They take place in London during WW II. ( )
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
This was good. I really liked it. ( )
  JulesGDSide | Nov 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
MacNeal’s first novel offers such a giddy premise and gathers so much impulse in its opening half that we root for her to close the deal in the second half. Alas, no such luck.

The setting is London during 1940’s Battle of Britain; the heroine is a plucky young American named Maggie Hope who wins a job as a secretary to Winston Churchill. Maggie soon finds herself up against German spies, traitorous English Nazis and IRA terrorists. She outwits all the villains with much aplomb until the story stumbles on its own preposterous plot twists.
added by VivienneR | editThe Toronto Star, Jack Batten (Jun 30, 2012)
 
A plucky heroine isn’t enough to salvage a plot overly dependent on contrivances, as shown by MacNeal’s debut set in 1940 London, the kickoff to a series. The murder of Diana Snyder, a secretary in Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s office, creates a vacancy that American expat Maggie Hope agrees to fill, despite her umbrage at having been previously passed over for a more substantive position there. Maggie adjusts fairly quickly, even as the people of London strive to withstand both German bombs and IRA outrages. Since those behind Snyder’s fatal stabbing as well as their motive are identified early on, the suspense mainly lies in whether Maggie will be able to use her intellect to foil a plot aimed at decapitating the British government. On several occasions, disaster is averted purely by chance, undermining efforts to credit Maggie with saving the day.
added by VivienneR | editPublisher's Weekly (Feb 13, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Elia MacNealprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harris, CarolDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCaddon, WandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stvan, Thomas BeckCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiggins, MickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies. - Winston Churchill
I read about the guts of the pioneer woman and the woman of the dustbowl and the gingham goddess of the covered wagon. What about the woman of the covered typewriter?

What has she got, poor kid, when she leaves the office? - Christopher Morley, Kitty Foyle
Dedication
To Noel, who always believed
First words
Half an hour before Diana Snyder died, she tidied up her desk in the typists' office of the Cabinet War Rooms.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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