Customer Reviews for

Princess Elizabeth's Spy (Maggie Hope Series #2)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Princess Elizabeth¿s Spy by Susan Elia Mac­Neal is the sec­ond b

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia Mac­Neal is the sec­ond book in the author’s fic­tional series about Mag­gie Hope. As in the first book, Mr. Churchill's Sec­re­tary, this book also takes place in Lon­don dur­ing World War II.

After sav­ing Eng­land while work­in...
Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia Mac­Neal is the sec­ond book in the author’s fic­tional series about Mag­gie Hope. As in the first book, Mr. Churchill's Sec­re­tary, this book also takes place in Lon­don dur­ing World War II.

After sav­ing Eng­land while work­ing as a typ­ist for Win­ston Churchill, Mag­gie Hope has her sights on becom­ing a spy. How­ever, MI5 doesn’t think she has what it takes and kicks her out of spy course. Maggie’s new assign­ment is to keep an eye over the teenaged Princess Eliz­a­beth under the guise of a math tutor.

Still emo­tion­ally recov­er­ing from dis­cov­er­ing her father is not dead as she thought all her life, Mag­gie now has to deal with roy­alty and worst… royalty’s entourage. As Mag­gie dis­cov­ers, this is not a cushy assign­ment, but one which involves intrigue, kid­nap­ping and murder.

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia Mac­Neal more per­son­able and enter­tain­ing than the first novel, maybe because the first was an “ori­gin story” with a series in mind while in this one the large cast of char­ac­ters has already been intro­duced. The pro­tag­o­nist, Mag­gie Hope, grows more in this book, still feisty and strong, but also sen­si­tive – fum­bling her way through the castle.

I liked the mys­tery and the story, but I think that the way Mag­gie Hope pro­gressed as a char­ac­ter is the true suc­cess of this book. Mag­gie is becom­ing a com­plex woman grow­ing up quickly in a very com­plex time doing an incred­i­bly com­plex job while try­ing to keep her per­sonal life from com­pletely being shred­ded apart.

While there are cer­tainly his­tor­i­cal fig­ures in the book I would not clas­sify this book as historical-fiction, but rather as a fic­tional story which is tak­ing place in the past. From the author’s note at the end of the book I under­stand that this is the way the author her­self also qual­i­fies the book. That being said, one can get a sense, or a glimpse, of what it was like to live in Eng­land dur­ing World War II, whether in a ham­let or a cas­tle, you were still very restricted but doing all you can to help King and country.

This is a charm­ing book with an enter­tain­ing premise, a light mys­tery and devel­op­ing recur­ring char­ac­ters. It is a fast, page turner with sev­eral inter­est­ing plot lines keep­ing you on the edge using humor and play­ful­ness to keep the story moving.

posted by Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com on November 10, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Princess Elizabeth's Spy (PES) is a major disappointment on the

Princess Elizabeth's Spy (PES) is a major disappointment on the heels of the eminently enjoyable Mr. Churchill's Secretary (MCS). While the latter was was well-researched, balanced and plausible, PES is weak and even silly, with 5th-grader's prose and -- perhaps even ...
Princess Elizabeth's Spy (PES) is a major disappointment on the heels of the eminently enjoyable Mr. Churchill's Secretary (MCS). While the latter was was well-researched, balanced and plausible, PES is weak and even silly, with 5th-grader's prose and -- perhaps even worse -- inexcusably bad editing by Bantam (for shame!).

For example, it is repeatedly stated that the approach path for the Luftwaffe during the Blitz of London was directly over Windsor Castle, which is actually to the west of London (just west of today's Heathrow Airport); simple research reveals that Luftwaffe pilots would follow the course of the Thames from the Channel inland, as the Thames was readily visible at night in otherwise blacked-out England. Or, on page 299, Gregory finishes and disposes of the same liquor flask, twice. Or, Maggie and friends (don't worry, I won't give away the plot) are able to exit a place unimpeded, which place would have been filled with opponents under any circumstances.

Even though I wanted to like Maggie and like the book, the overall plot in PES is so predictable as to be almost sophomoric. The construction of the story is splotchy, at times irrelevant, at others banal, and only rarely exciting. Period details are thrown in hither and yon, and seemingly just for the sake of authenticity. And yet, the author feels free to have Maggie interacting with the PM and the royals as if they were her old college mentors; the mere fact of such interactions would have been unheard of at that time, and if they occurred would have been most strictly limited and formal.

Maggie's history with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret was wholly unrealistic, but for this I'm willing to cut the author some slack as an allowable flight of fancy. Elizabeth's conduct as a 14 year old is way off, though; i would be giving away plot to cite details, but let us just say that Elizabeth is not accurately portrayed as a sheltered heir to the throne would, or should, be.

MCS was an excellent read. PES was not even close. The book feels as if the young author, under pressure to get out a sequel, had sat down and dictated a disjointed and minimally entertaining tale in the space of maybe three weeks. I am no longer looking forward to the further adventures of Maggie Hope, and will choose to spend my book dollars on works which were put together with deliberation, thought and care.

posted by 3574616 on April 18, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    The book is mildly entertaining, but the errors really distract

    The book is mildly entertaining, but the errors really distract from the overall story. The CIA is mentioned, although there was no CIA during WWII; a character empties the flask he's already thrown overboard, etc.
    I do like Maggie, however, and will try one more book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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