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

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

by Susan Elia MacNeal
3.8 82

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Overview

Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Series #1) by Susan Elia MacNeal

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.

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: 42,037
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal is the Barry Award–winning and Edgar, Dilys, and Macavity Award–nominated author of the Maggie Hope mysteries, including Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, and The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and child.

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Mr. Churchill's Secretary 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun to read and I learned a bit of history. I really liked the main character who was a woman mathmatician. It's rare to find a female main character who enjoys and excells at math and/or science!
Iwant2Bawriter More than 1 year ago
This is not an incredibly well-written book, but it is fun to read. All the cryptography and researched details about Churchill are good and it truly transports you to London in the WWII era. Recommend it as a fun read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful look at WWII and the role of women during that time. While not much of a whodunnit, it is a very intriguing historical mystery with wonderful characters. My only disappointment was that it ended too quickly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, the author's style is poor and the plot tends to wander. For really good books of this genre, try Deborah Crombie or Jacqueline Winspear - both masters of the British mystery with memorable characters and vivid English settings.
JacksonvilleReader More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this book. The story was interesting, but the writer's style was poor. I found it hard to follow her transition from one character's situation to another at times. I had to go back and re-read several pages to see where I missed the connection. There were a number of unconnected sections. For instance, letters from the Aunt were included, but nothing was ever mentioned from Maggie's point of view that the letters were received and read and the impact. I doubt seriously I'll buy another book written by this author.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
Maggie Hope is a new character in the many mysteries about women in war times. She was British born, but was raised by her aunt in America after her mother was killed in a car crash and her Dad 'lost it' mentally.  After graduating top in her class with top skills in math and languages, she's planning to get a graduate degree at MIT, but her plans change when she returns to England to sell the old family home.  Getting a job in England is hindered by the prevailing attitude that 'women belong in the home, or in support jobs'.  She has mixed feeling about her secretarial job at #10 Downing Street but is prepared to do ALL  for home and country. Frustrated by her seeming menial secretarial job, her position changes when she decodes a covert message she finds in the newspaper.  This comes along with her replacing PM Churchill's sick secretary.  Everything's comes fast and furious after that.  Murders, spies, bombs, and differing views about Hitler mixed with Irish IRA resistance actions, keeps everyone anxious and working to keep England in the winning mix of war. What adds extra interest to this book is the well researched addition of views on women, spies, Churchill, and decoding enemy messages. The factual research for this fictional book is spectacular!  There are also relationships between diverse friends and family secrets that made this book a cut above the present popular WW2 women mysteries like the Jacqueline Winspear series.  If you enjoy this genre, you need to add this Maggie Hope series to your reading list!!
dr_cac More than 1 year ago
Ms. MacNeal's first Maggie Hope is simply great fun. It may not be great literature but it is fast paced and keeps your interest... if you are a mystery buff. I happen to enjoy WWI and WWII novels so this one is spot on. Maggie and her chums are people you'd be interested in but remember... not all is as it seems. The only unfortunate aspect is having to wait till October for the 2nd in this series.
Maryrm More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable with good story and interesting people in the story. Kept up interest until the end. Waiting for the second book in the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. It wasn't as heavy as most WWII novels. An easy read with likeable characters.
Pat-in_IL More than 1 year ago
Even though the book started out a little slowly, the majority of the book made up for this. There were several plot twists that kept me reading just to find out what would happen next. I enjoyed the mixture of fiction with the descriptions of actual occurrences during World War II. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly pleasurable story to read, full of intrigue and adventures
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found the Nook edition a little difficult to read. Paragraphs flowed into one another, when characters and setting changed. It was very confusing. Seems like their should have been a break between the different scenes. On the other hand, this fictional piece was very well researched by the author. The story was very interesting and filled with twists and turns. I enjoyed the book, and had problems putting it Down. Interesting story, learned a bit more about Winston Churchill and pre war England.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not well written, not historical. Predictable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book has it all: suspense, thriller, love, intrigue, history
LadyZin More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I just finished reading Series #2, equally exceptional. Cannot wait to read Series #3. Being born in Coventry, it brings back a lot of my parents memories as they lived through it.
K_Holt More than 1 year ago
An exciting blend of historical fact and well-woven fiction. I LOVED this first book in a series. Fascinating, three-dimensional characters, twists in the plot I didn't see coming (but knew they had to be there, somewhere), delightful inclusion of real people from history (Winston Churchill), and the threat of war. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book.  I've read all of them.  If you like the PBS series "Foyle's War," Youll love this!
Deacon_Tate More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It sets up the series and introduces the characters. I had read the second book first. I will be keeping this series on my to read list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next one!
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Susan Elia MacNeal set her Mr. Churchill’s Secretary in 1940 London. Maggie Hope is a young American woman, all set to attend prestigious MIT in Massachusetts when she is called to London to oversee the sale of her late grandmother’s home. With the looming war, Maggie is unable to sell the house, so she stays in London and finds work as a secretary for Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Maggie had her sights set on working in British intelligence, using her education in math to help break German codes, but as a woman that avenue is closed to her. There is a mystery to Maggie’s life. For some reason unknown to Maggie (or the reader), British intelligence is keeping tabs on Maggie. At the same time, she discovers something about her dead father that puts her in the middle of a dangerous situation. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary is a fast-paced and well-researched novel. McNeal reveals in a Historical Note at the end of the book that she came upon the idea while touring the fascinating War Cabinet rooms in London, and researched the women who worked there. (Don’t skip this interesting section.) Maggie is a wonderful character, and several times in the book, MacNeal had me audibly gasping as she put Maggie in some tight situations. If it was a movie, I would have spilled my popcorn many times. MacNeal plunges the reader into wartime London, and you get a real sense of what it was like to live with the terror of bombs descending on the city where you live. MacNeal has six more more books in this terrific series, with a seventh due this August, and I can’t wait to read them all in succession.
MysM More than 1 year ago
Mr. Churchill has just been sworn in as prime minister, war is raging in Europe, the Blitz is imminent, and when Diana Snyder is murdered, Maggie Hope is recruited to take her place as one of the Prime Minister's secretaries. British, but having been raised by an aunt in America, Maggie has returned to England to sell her grandmother's house. When it doesn't sell, she decides to stay and contribute to the war effort. She shares her large Victorian house with five other young women and begins her job at No. 10 Downing St. in a bit of a snit because, being an exceptionally clever mathematician, she had none-the-less been turned down for a job working in cryptography because of her gender. However, there are hints that something more is going of which Maggie is unaware. While Maggie doesn't go out of her way to try to solve Diana's murder, she finds herself the target of spies, one of whom is a roommate living a double life. The danger for her intensifies when she tries to find out why her father isn't buried beside her mother. This causes friction between her and her aunt back in Boston because Maggie hadn't been aware that her grandmother had been living in London while she was growing up nor had she been honest about her parents' deaths. In wartime London, Maggie and her roommates purchase and install a bomb shelter, the IRA is responsible for letter bombings, anti-Semitism is growing, and Maggie and her friends in cryptography — David and John — share information and give us glimpses into both the underground war room and the character of Prime Minister Churchill (based on research from interviews with and books by real secretaries who worked with Churchill at that time). This is a well-written historical fiction novel with lots of tension as bombs drop and terrorists close in as well as some laughs, interesting characters and relationships, and some of the deprivation as well as the pleasures of wartime London. It is fast-paced and compelling and the first of a series. I'm looking forward to reading all of the novels in this series.
MaraBlaise More than 1 year ago
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 reason 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.
MerleF More than 1 year ago
Fascinating combination of historical novel, mystery, and character development. As one who remembers much of WWII (as an adolescent) and has read much of the Enigma Project, I loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The basic story is interesting, if unlikely. I did not find it absorbing...it had too much farfetched and improbable stuff in the plot, and the romance is too predictable. Maggie is a well-drawn character and the portrait of Churchill was good. The dialogue in general does not sound right for Brits or Americans of the period, but it moves well. There are other annoying anachronisms that a little more research would have avoided. One that isn't a spoiler is that Maggie's aunt could not have got a PhD from Cambridge. Not only were PhDs uncommon in Oxford and Cambridge back then but Cambridge did not grant women degrees until later than the aunt would have been in school. Stuff like this doesnt bother everyone, and if you just like a sperficial thriller, it might be fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago