Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Series #1)

Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Series #1)

3.7 83
by Susan Elia MacNeal
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, 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.

See more details below

Overview

For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, 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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Advance praise for Mr. Churchill's Secretary

“This wonderful debut is intelligent, richly detailed, and filled with suspense.”—Stefanie Pintoff

“A terrific read . . . Chock full of fascinating period details and real people including Winston Churchill, MacNeal’s fast-paced thriller gives a glimpse of the struggles, tensions, and dangers of life on the home front during World War II.”—Rhys Bowen, author of Royal Blood and winner of the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards 
 
“Think early Ken Follett, amp it up with a whipsmart young American not averse to red lipstick and vintage cocktails, season it with espionage during the London Blitz, and you’ve got a heart-pounding, atmospheric debut. I loved it.”—Cara Black, author of Murder in Passy
 
“England in 1940 is the perfect backdrop for a courageous young woman who outwits the enemy. A vivid tapestry of wartime London.”—Carolyn Hart, author of Escape from Paris

“An engrossing page-turner, with a delightful and spirited new heroine in the aptly named Maggie Hope.”—C. C. Benison, author of Twelve Drummers Drumming

Library Journal
British-born but American-raised Maggie Hope, a math whiz with an MIT graduate school offer on hold, went to London to sell her late grandmother's home. Now it's 1940, and she is passionate about staying to help with her birth country's war effort. As a secretary for the prime minister's office, she is privy to Winston Churchill's inner thoughts. But unbeknownst to Maggie, a mole is working nearby, burrowing deep inside 10 Downing Street and making plans to cripple England's leadership. Already, one secretary has died at the hands of IRA activists colluding with the Nazis, but Maggie's shocking discoveries about her own family further threaten national security. VERDICT Watch out for the smart girl who can crack codes with her slide rule. The appeal of real-life characters populating the story works well in this solid historical cozy debut. MacNeal squeezes in plenty of World War II facts but never slows the pace. I like pairing this with Maureen Jennings's Season of Darkness and Sarah R. Shaber's Louise's War.
Kirkus Reviews
Trying to sell your grandmother's decaying Victorian house back in London can have unexpected consequences. Maggie Hope was born in England, but after her parents were killed in a car accident, her aunt, a college professor, took her along when she accepted a position in Boston. Unable now to sell her grandmother's house, Maggie is forced to take in roommates to keep things going. Her degree in math from a prestigious college apparently means nothing when she applies for jobs that would use her considerable skills to aid Britain, now in the throes of World War II. Her friend David Greene, one of Winston Churchill's private secretaries, prevails on Maggie to take on a secretarial post at 10 Downing Street, where her predecessor was murdered. She does her best with her job and enjoys a busy social life with her friends and roommates: Chuck, an Irish girl training to be a nurse; Paige, a Virginia debutante Maggie met in college; Annabelle and Clarabelle, "the Dumb-Belles"; and, most recently, Sarah, a ballerina. While the Luftwaffe is raining bombs on London, the IRA is doing its best to help Germany with sabotage and espionage. Maggie and her friends are caught up in the situation when it appears one of them may be aiding the IRA. In the midst of this intrigue, Maggie is shocked to learn that her father is still alive. Though she has little time to spare from her job, she's determined to track him down. Brave, clever Maggie's debut is an enjoyable mix of mystery, thriller and romance that captures the harrowing experiences of life in war-torn London.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553593617
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Series:
Maggie Hope Series, #1
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
62,929
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Advance praise for Mr. Churchill's Secretary

“This wonderful debut is intelligent, richly detailed, and filled with suspense.”—Stefanie Pintoff

“A terrific read . . . Chock full of fascinating period details and real people including Winston Churchill, MacNeal’s fast-paced thriller gives a glimpse of the struggles, tensions, and dangers of life on the home front during World War II.”—Rhys Bowen, author of Royal Blood and winner of the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards 
 
“Think early Ken Follett, amp it up with a whipsmart young American not averse to red lipstick and vintage cocktails, season it with espionage during the London Blitz, and you’ve got a heart-pounding, atmospheric debut. I loved it.”—Cara Black, author of Murder in Passy
 
“England in 1940 is the perfect backdrop for a courageous young woman who outwits the enemy. A vivid tapestry of wartime London.”—Carolyn Hart, author of Escape from Paris

“An engrossing page-turner, with a delightful and spirited new heroine in the aptly named Maggie Hope.”—C. C. Benison, author of Twelve Drummers Drumming

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >