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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2012 Susan Elia Macneal (P)2012 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

“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 whip-smart 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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Katherine on 10-22-12


I didn't actually like the Jacqueline Winspear books, although I wanted to, but I did like this one. I've started the second in this series and it's even better. In this first book, I think the writing was a bit 'loose', if that makes sense. I mean that sometimes people seemed to talk too long about a topic, but overall I liked it very much. It really is, as someone said, a cozy spy book, which I think is a new genre. There was a lot more plot than I expected, with some real surprises and the heroine is definitely the 'heroine', meaning a bit larger than life. It's many decades since I read Nancy Drew, but I remember admiring her as a young girl and this heroine is worth looking up to as well, as she solves problems that don't tend to happen in everyday life.

One always associates the "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto to the British and the 'stiff upper lip", but I had never really connected it to wartime, Winston Churchill, and that resolute attitude he helped the Brits maintain, before it was known that Hitler was not going to be able to steamroll over Britain as well. I find it a more inspiring quote now, plus we learned a variation: KPO for Keep Plodding On and another variation in Book 2. Good for some days at work! Also, helps one to remember every day to be grateful for NOT being in a war zone.

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34 of 34 people found this review helpful

By Electic Chef on 11-19-12

Enjoyed This New Author For Me.

What did you love best about Mr. Churchill's Secretary?

I had no particular problem with any of the book. All women know the predjudice involved in evaluating our skills. I always enjoy a book about a woman who has interests, as an adult, that uses intellectual skills with being dehumanized. Maggie is smart, analytical, but very empathetic too. She doesn't try to be one of the guys except to try to excel at the things she does best.

The blending of history and fiction is very masterfully done. I am a Churchill fan and have read his biography. What a character.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Maggie because she is bright, grows with each experience and is very plucky.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Maggie was being pursued and was hiding in the Anderson shelter. It taxed one to think a out how she could escape. Kept your attention.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

What History Didn't Tell Us.

Any additional comments?

Immediately listened to the second book and am looking forward to the next. My dad was a WWII vet and I have read extensively about that era. It is fun to see the authors skill in using fact and fiction.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Queenortart on 01-29-14

Fantastic Story

Would you listen to Mr. Churchill's Secretary again? Why?


Who was your favorite character and why?

Maggie - she's bright, clever and stubborn and resourceful

What about Wanda McCaddon’s performance did you like?

She has a great range of voices, but sometimes she did appear to select the wrong accent from her repertoire

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - but it's too long for that

Any additional comments?

Loved all the books in print, now thoroughly enjoying the audio versions

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Jayniepaynie on 04-28-13

almost very good

I really enjoyed the concept & the clever plot, with good characters and good twists & turns in the plot.I would've given it 5 stars but for the irritating 'americanisms' which replaced the english eg windshield & hood; fall instead of autumn, alluminum instead of alluminium etc etc. if it was an english story set in London, then that irritation spoiled it for me. I also didnt enjoy the narration - whilst I enjoy some accent characterisation, I felt it went a bit all over the place at times, getting accents mixed up in the wrong places and following the accent through after the dialogue was over &this distracted rather than added to the enjoyment. Having said that, i'm going to give the sequel a go!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Jennifer2 on 01-03-18

OK story

At first a pleasant war story with interesting information about codes, mathematics and their role in espionage.
The story was somewhat muddied with repetition and a lack in clear order of events. New characters appeared as they were needed. Maggie’s newfound relative is an unlikely type who could have been interesting but was really a nothing. The narrator is very good.

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By Diane on 10-11-16

WWII Melodrama & Spies : Britain at War

If you could sum up Mr. Churchill's Secretary in three words, what would they be?

Verbal descriptions magnificent

Who was your favorite character and why?

Magic is a young woman who epitomises what we would like all ( or most) young omen to be... Kind. Moral. Ambitious. Intelligent. with a delightful ability to be a caring & sharing friend to so many. This is what so many would like to achieve and be respected for.

What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Thanks for the opportunity to congratulate Wanda on her wonderful abilities to slide into so many characters - so seemingly effortlessly !! What skills she has.... Her abilities to maintain so many character voices is just amazing

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes such a mixed bad of emotions - but none to give away the plot. I'm sure each certain the emotions of happiness, sadness, disappointments. & attitudes to character foibles ....

Any additional comments?

Well recommended by a special friend who knows me well .... Am looking forward to the next !

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