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Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Novel (Maggie…

Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Novel (Maggie Hope) (edition 2012)

by Susan Elia MacNeal

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,07312212,431 (3.54)152
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.
Title:Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Novel (Maggie Hope)
Authors:Susan Elia MacNeal
Info:Bantam (2012), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:WWII, London, Mystery

Work details

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

  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 152 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
A few too many climaxes before the end. ( )
  Mary_Beth_Robb | Feb 4, 2020 |
This book took me a while to read. It gets bogged down during the first third of the story- the author took a bit too long introducing us to the characters and their situations. If I hadn't liked Maggie and her friends so much, I would have given up on the thing. The action picks up later, but you can still tell that this was the author's first book. Mistakes were made and, apparently, the editor was on holiday. (For example, there was a sentence about Maggie's sore feet. But because of the way the sentence was constructed, it appeared that she took her shoes off and rubbed them because they were tired. A good editor would have caught that sort of thing.)

The plot was a good idea, but segue-ways from scene to scene were choppy. I felt also that she used one too many sudden, dramatic plot twists. I'm hoping that future books in the series will be smoother as the author refines her skills. And I do plan to continue the series, because they (and their author) have great potential. ( )
  tiasreads | Dec 11, 2019 |
While this started out slowly and the number of characters was a bit confusing at the beginning, I'm glad I stuck with it because wow, what a ride! Maggie Hope is an intelligent, strong young woman who launches her career just as London's Blitz begins. While she possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, her gender qualifies her only to be a typist for Winston Churchill. That doesn't stop Maggie from outwitting the enemies. The author shares several clues and tidbits before the mystery really gets underway, but once the plot thickens with espionage, spies, and danger, I couldn't read this fast enough.

This is the first in a series and I'm looking forward to reading more. ( )
  PhyllisReads | Nov 11, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (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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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
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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