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

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,645 Ratings  ·  756 Reviews
Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed début, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain’s beloved royals against an international plot—one that could change the course of history.

As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Wi
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
276th out of 1,205 books — 3,203 voters
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Favorite Historical Mystery Series
266th out of 760 books — 829 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 25, 2013 Kelly rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2013 Colleen rated it did not like it
After reading the first book in this series, I was excited to pick up the second. I expected a enjoyable, if not particularly historically accurate, novel and that is what I got. The characters are fun, the insights into life in WWII England interesting, and the code-breaking tidbits intriguing. All was well until the entire sub-plot regarding Maggie's parents started to emerge- as a fan of the TV show Alias, I was shocked to discover the wholesale use of the entire plotline about Sydney's paren ...more
Judith Starkston
With the recent celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, it’s especially engaging to read a novel about her as a young Princess—set in some of England’s darkest days during the brutal bombing attacks by Germany during WWII. While the adventures of Maggie Hope, spy and mathematician, with the fourteen-year-old Princess are fictional, MacNeal’s portrayal of Elizabeth rings delightfully true. Here’s the very young woman who already holds a powerful sense of duty to her people and carries her respo ...more
Nov 03, 2014 Laura rated it did not like it
Shelves: quit-reading
Awful! As an American, I'm ashamed of the poor writing and historical errors in this book. I'm a true anglophile and in particular love mysteries set around either of the first or second world wars. I'm also well versed in the history of the British royal family. I thought the first book in the series, Mr. Churchills' Secretary, was okay. Oftentimes I find the first book in a series is the weakest as so much of it is set up for future books, so I thought I'd give the second book a try in spite o ...more
Dec 30, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: suspense, historical
Did nobody else see how closely (almost unethically closely) parts of Maggie's story followed that of Sydney's from the TV show Alias? It was enough that it pretty much disturbed the way I felt about the rest of the book - which paints this supposedly intelligent, reasonable woman as a complete dunce with all the clues she misses.

After reading the book, I was curious about the connections to Alias, so I pulled up Netflix and was astounded.(view spoiler)
Ashleigh Hvinden
Apr 22, 2013 Ashleigh Hvinden rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read this book and it is nothing short of fantastic! I absolutely loved this book. I was absolutely saddened in the beginning by the twist of the novel in the first twenty pages but Mrs. MacNeal has an excellent way of sucking in readers and delivered what is a spectacular sequel! I squealed at the end it was so fantastic! Thank you, Mrs. MacNeal for writing something so wonderful! I cannot wait until the third novel!
Oct 09, 2012 Mara rated it really liked it
In my review of Winston Churchill's Secretary, the first of the Maggie Hope books, I said that the series showed promise as MacNeal settled into her talents as a writer. With this second installment, MacNeal is certainly starting to live up to that promise. Although some of the language is still a bit clunky (and there are far too many mentions of birds), the story itself flows much more smoothly than it did in the first book and MacNeal takes fewer shortcuts to get her characters in and out of ...more
I was intrigued by the first book in this series, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. I didn't particularly like Maggie (in face she seemed to be a bit of a Mary Sue in that book, and this book reinforced my opinion of her - men instantly falling in love/lust with her; we're constantly told how unbelievably intelligent she is; it seems like she knows or is good at everything except where the plot point requires that she doesn't, though she is always quick to correct that). However, I loved the supporting ...more
Rebecca Lane Beittel
Jun 28, 2012 Rebecca Lane Beittel rated it it was amazing
I finished Princess Elizabeth's Spy. I read it as an ARC (advanced reader copy) and it is beyond excellent.

If you are looking for an exciting, WWII, feminist story, with a look at a young Princess Elizabeth, read this novel.

This story is filled with bits and bobs of detail, little kernels of knowledge that shows Susan Elia MacNeal's scholarship, reverence for history, and ability to weave a story about this fascinating era. We get an inside look at war-torn England, the upstairs/downstairs of Wi
Aug 04, 2012 Sharon rated it it was ok
I have the same concern with this second title in the series as I did in the first: the characters' speech is not realistic to the time and place. Both in their inner thoughts and in dialogue, they speak in contemporary American, with Britishisms thrown in awkwardly. And some of the attitudes and opinions seem anachronistic. Also, the set-up for the third book is wildly improbable. It's a fun adventure, however, plenty of adrenaline, and the atmosphere and details of life in Windsor Palace durin ...more
I am in the middle of catching up on this amazing series, and I can't possible stop to do one of my regular long reviews. Suffice it to say that I am now wonderfully ensconced in the Maggie Hope series that takes place in England, with London as jumping off point to all else, during WWII, a time of devastating bombing in London and much need for the activity and skills of MI-5 and MI-6, the secret service agencies of Britain. MI-5 deals with domestic secret service activities, and MI-6 deals wit ...more
Jan 16, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, audio, 2015
Boy, did I enjoy this book! It has been awhile since I read the first in the series so had forgotten how atmospheric these stories are. I really enjoyed my jaunt through Windsor castle with the 2 young Princesses. And the mystery was a solid and satisfying read.

The only quibble I had was that the author did not recap any so I had to really think if I knew the character from a previous book or not. A small paragraph about previous visits would have been nice.

Also, because I was listening to this,
Andrea Guy
Nov 14, 2012 Andrea Guy rated it it was amazing
I've been reading a lot of pre WWII cozy mysteries. Just a few days ago I posted the review for Elegy For Eddie and now there's Princess Elizabeth's Spy.

This book is fabulous.

I really loved the author's attention to detail in the historical aspect of the story. It was great to get a picture of Queen Elizabeth II in the days when she was just Princess Elizabeth.

It is a historical novel of intrigue that touches on the cozy side, but Maggie Hope is a little more than your typical cozy mystery heroi
Oct 11, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeil was so very good there is no way that I can write a review to do it justice. It is the perfect marriage of historical fiction of World II and a delectable mystery. I loved peeking in the Prime Minister’s life and the future Queen Elizabeth’s. Each time that I sat down with this book, I knew I would that I would be entertained and learn some history at the same time.

The book even has a little bit devoted to reading codes and some history behind them.
Judy Alter
Nov 12, 2012 Judy Alter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have become really enam0red of Susan Elia MacNeal's WWII mysteries, first Mr. Churchhill's Secretary and now Princess Elizabeth's Spy. The first, as I said in an earlier review, is set during the gathering storm, when England still hoped it could pacify Germany and Winston Churchill knew it couldn't. With Princess Elizabeth's Spy, MacNeal moves further into the war, with the devastating bombing of England's major cities.
Maggie Hope, frustrated mathematician turn spy for Prime Minister Churchi
See this review and others like it at Badass Book Reviews!

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy was even better than Mr. Churchill's Secretary! It had a quicker pace, a higher-stakes plot, and added more interesting characters. Susan Elia MacNeal has engaging, flowing prose and it is obvious that she has done her research about the time period. Her characters are all well-rounded and the events throughout the book come together beautifully to create an absolutely intriguing mystery. The tone and events in
Oct 24, 2012 Staci rated it really liked it
I am once again hooked on historical fiction and it's all Susan Elia Macneal's fault! I absolutely loved everything about this book. The characters, the setting, and the entire story was so much fun and it felt so realistic that I have conjured up actual images for each person in this book. Susan does a fantastic job of transporting the reader back in time to World War II. I enjoyed roaming around Windsor Castle and meeting the young Princess Elizabeth. So many of the books that I've read regard ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Cece rated it it was ok
The author provides an extensive list of references at the end of the book, although she misnames historian Carolly Erickson as Carollyn; however,this outing for Maggie Hope felt off historically (the age gap between the Princesses is exaggerated, ladies-in-waiting were not hanging about at Windsor, travel was not nearly as frequent, and even the King had to wait to have phone calls put through by an operator-no 'direct lines') incorrect as far as Royal family details (the Princesses called thei ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
The author is a smart and vibrant writer who brings her character to life with strength, grit and grace. Can't wait to see more from author Susan Elia MacNeal and the leading lady, Maggie Hope!

The threads of the story are woven tightly! The reader has to stay on his or her toes to keep the details straight and stay with the mystery. Historical details of London, WWII, Winston Churchill and the emotion of the times flow through the story giving readers that wonderful "fly on the wall" quality onl
Jul 26, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it

I won an advance copy through a Random House drawing, and if possible, would give it 4.5 stars. Mr. Churchill's Secretary laid the groundwork, and Princess Elizabeth's Spy is where the series seems to be establishing its stride. It kept me up late reading for several nights, and is a strong choice for historical fiction and mystery fans - the author has done an amazing amount of research. (I have known Susan MacNeal for several years, and would expect nothing less than a thorough study of every

Finally able to write a review!

Maggie Hope is assigned to be a tutor for the young princess and she quickly realizes that this is hardly a fluff assignment. More than an hour math tutoring session will be needed for this mission!
We read of smart women on both good and bad sides and we see that Princess Elizabeth is spunkier than we might have thought :-)
The rest of my review can be found here.
Jul 26, 2013 Ashley rated it did not like it
While not great literature, this would have been an enjoyable beach read if not for its wholesale plagiarism of a major Alias plotline. Ridiculous. The author should be ashamed of herself.
Janet McCord
Mar 09, 2015 Janet McCord rated it did not like it
I think this is the last book of this series I'll be reading. Besides the irritating behavior of the main character and the fact that she literally failed at her task because of her own pig-headedness, I could not get past the egregious editing errors and the seemingly plagiarized--in some places--plots. I noticed in the first book a few hints of copying scenes and backgrounds from the TV show "Foyle's War" but I was able to suspend my disbelief. This one, not so much. I also noticed, that altho ...more
Hannah Sillars
Jan 22, 2015 Hannah Sillars rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2012 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing
I have been looking forward to reading this sequel since I finished Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, and I was not disappointed. With a skillful combination of evocative writing and detailed research, author Susan Elia MacNeal transports the reader into WWII Windsor Castle where antiquated dungeons now serve as air raid shelters for the royal family and staff. Using a knack for calculation and codes to do her part for the war effort, Maggie Hope is the same sensible, quietly passionate character she w ...more
Oct 02, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing
"Princess Elizabeth's Spy" is the second of Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope mysteries. I enjoyed the first one, "Mr. Churchill's Secretary," so much that I was elated at the opportunity to review this book. It most assuredly did not disappoint.

In this book, Maggie washes out in the physical requirements of being an undercover agent for MI-5 during WWII. Instead, she is sent to Windsor Castle under the guise of teaching advanced mathematics to the young Princess Elizabeth -- against whom a kidna
Nov 25, 2012 Bookworm1858 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 21, 2012 Ericafoferica rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads first read giveaway.

I was actually surprised at how good this book really is. From the very first chapter all the way to the end, there is nonstop action and suspense. I literally could not put the book down as I learned about Maggie and her mission as a spy in the King's castle. It's hard to give a good review when the book hasn't even hit the shelves yet and it would totally ruin it for the next reader if I gave all the details away. But what I ca
Sep 11, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
This charming mystery grabbed me from the start when feisty Maggie Hope is struggling with the physical requirements of becoming a spy. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any luck but she feels somewhat better when she is chosen to protect young Princess Elizabeth from a death threat. Her job is to pretend to be a Maths tutor to the teenage princess at Windsor Castle.

Here she has to stay with a fairly nasty pair of girls (one even has a pet snake), a drunken ex-soldier and various other strange cha
Maureen Timerman
Dec 07, 2012 Maureen Timerman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I just finished reading this page turner. Susan Elia MacNeal spins a web of espionage to the point who don't truly know who the good guys are, and they change.
We travel the road in England during WWII, and before the American's enter. Maggie Hope, with her smarts and skill, is sent to protect the Princess's Elizabeth and Margaret, at Windsor Palace. While Maggie's desire is to be a spy on the Continent for the MI-5, she washes out in her training. Churchill wants to keep her and thus she is sent
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New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Dilys Awards.

The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill's Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for Best
More about Susan Elia MacNeal...

Other Books in the Series

Maggie Hope Mystery (6 books)
  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope, #1)
  • His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Mystery, #3)
  • The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (Maggie Hope, #4)
  • Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante (Maggie Hope, #5)
  • The Queen's Accomplice (Maggie Hope Mystery)

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“Jolly good!" ... King [George VI] exclaimed [after Queen Elizabeth fired the gun at Hitler's photograph]. "You got him right in the n-n-n-naughty bits."... "Good," she said. "That's where I was aiming.” 3 likes
“His one indulgence was attending the occasional Chelsea Blues game” 3 likes
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