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

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,735 Ratings  ·  1,693 Reviews
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 a
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2012)
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Dec 31, 2015 Miki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out with a bang, and I thought "Wow! I am going to like this!". I was hoping for something along the lines of Jacqueline Winspeare's Maisie Dobbs series. But no.

The writer apparently believes that in order to write a period book, the characters must constantly refer to the events, locations, and objects of the times, much in the manner of a guidebook. Most of this doesn't advance the plot at all, it just sort of weighs it down.

Maggie is an outspoken feminist who often - REALL
Feb 03, 2013 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: female codebreakers stuck as typists, but actually no one
I thought this book would be about cryptography and codebreaking in World War II. I expected Bletchley Park and Alan Turing and Nazi double-agents, with a female mathematician as the protagonist, which sounded cool... maybe something like a light cozy version of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon.

Alas, no. This was a "cozy" of the most offensively stupid and badly-written kind. Characters who are just quirky/"charming" composites of personality traits (expect many, many recyclings of British/Americ
Judith Starkston
I picked up Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and could not put it down—there went all my other responsibilities in life, neglected. MacNeal writes clever, enticing mysteries set in London during World War II with an inventive mathematician named Maggie Hope as her sleuth.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary grabs you with superbly detailed historical setting and excellent character development. The book places you into the middle of London under the Blitz; bombs fall, sirens wail, and Maggie Hope ends up, by see
The Lit Bitch
May 15, 2012 The Lit Bitch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie brings Hope to a new and thrilling series!

Maggie is a spunky, refreshing heroine–a mixture of Mary Russell and Maisie Dobbs! I thought she was very real and genuine. Maggie marches to the beat of her own drum and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself but not in an obnoxious, rude way which I loved. Maggie makes me want to don red lipstick and dye my hair flaming red to match…too bad I can barely balance my checkbook otherwise I would be a dead ringer for Maggie Hope! See my full review her
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
I won this book as a prt of the GoodReads First Reads Program

I truly enjoyed this book and was looking forward to reading it. One of the biggest problems with being a history major and loving historical fiction is that you get caught up on whats right and whats wrong about the era. Thankfully there wasn't much wrong for me to get caught up on. The amount of research that was devoted to the writing of this book was amazing, and I commend MacNeal on her efforts. Following the conclusion of the boo
Carolyn Hill
An entertaining story, I suppose, but it didn't live up to the hype. For some reason, despite the author's obvious attempts to display her research, it didn't seem real to me. The characters, the circumstances, the situations all just seemed unbelievable. Furthermore, I never felt great sympathy for the main character. Perhaps it was her tendency to go off on a very modern sounding rant totally out of place for the setting and the times. Or maybe it was because I was continually jarred into the ...more
Judy Alter
Jun 17, 2012 Judy Alter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't quite born when WWII started in Europe, and I find now that what I learned in school was that it really began with Pearl Harbor. This absorbing book taught me a lot about British history in 1939--the anticipation and fear that pervaded England as Hitler marched across Europe, the plots, bombings and assassination plots of the IRA as it attempted to bring down England at its most vulnerable time, the English resentment that the United States had not taken sides. We see little of Mr. Chur ...more
I generally love historical fiction, especially if it is heavy on the history, and I'm interested in the WWII era. This story about (well, this should be obvious) Mr. Churchill's secretary, fell flat for me.

The first thing I noticed about the book is that the writing seemed to lack flow, that the dialogue seemed stilted. And then I realized that the story itself was boring me. It wasn't until about two-thirds through the book that the action picked up.

Yes, there were mysteries and surprises incl
Feb 12, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this historical fiction thriller/romance/mystery. The main character, Maggie Hope, an English girl raised in America by a maiden aunt, becomes Winston Churchill’s typist after a murder. Although a mathematical genius, she is relegated to typing when she applies for a job as a cryptologist for the government at the beginning of the Battle of Britain. After setting up the situation, the plot moves along quickly and is engaging. This is obviously the introduction for a series of war time ...more
May 19, 2012 Gayle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by the Goodreads first look program, but life events have slowed my reading and review.

When Maggie Hope takes the position of typist in 10 Downing Street, she finds herself taking dictation for the prime minister himself: Winston Churchill. In May 1940, this means having an inside perspective on British government in World War II. But Maggie has problems as well. How will she and her roommates protect themselves from the bombings? Why was her predecessor murdered? And how w
Alex Baugh
Jul 16, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
Mr. Churchill's Secretary is a debut novel and the first in a series centering on Maggie Hope, the American raised daughter of British parents, a Wellesley grad who went to London in 1939 to sell the house she inherited from a grandmother she never knew. Then war was declared and Maggie stayed on to do her bit for the war effort.

Unable to sell the house, Maggie now shares it with a few other young women - Paige Kelly, an old college friend, Charlotte McCaffrey A/K/A Chuck, and twins Annabelle a
Dalton Burke
Aug 19, 2012 Dalton Burke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Margret Hope (Maggie), Is an American that moved to Great Britain to sell her late grandmother. But once she is there, she finds herself unable to leave. Her good friend David acquires her a job working for Mr. Winston Churchill. She starts off with this small job and she proves herself to be to smart for this job. She helps decode Morse code messages, helps stop Nazi terrorist attempts, and still manages to have a social life.
The culture is different from American culture because everyone is
May 08, 2012 Annalynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't recommend this book enough - it was 100 kinds of fabulousness, all bundled together to create the perfect read for me. It had everything I love. British setting? Check. World War II? Check. Spies and intrigue? Check. Smart, brilliant feminist for a heroine? Check. Historically accurate? Check. A handsome, brilliant, understanding romantic male lead? Check.

I couldn't put it down - the descriptions of the cars, the dresses, the stockings, the air raids, the music in the clubs, the Cabinet
Apr 10, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I was pre-disposed to like this book as it was written by a sister Wellesley alum and the heroine is a Wellesley alum.

I'm not a big reader of historical fiction but I very much enjoyed this one written about war-time London. There were many twists and turns in the story and I got so crazy about it that I read the whole book in about 24 hours. Now, that part is fabulous--not since the Harry Potter books have I been so crazy to finish a book.

On the (very tiny) downside, there we
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I am so disappointed Susan Elia MacNeal's Mr. Churchill's Secretary didn't work for me. It looked like such perfect fit - a mystery set against my favorite historic event, but try as I might I just couldn't get into this one.

Part of the problem was the tone in which the story is written. Despite taking place in London during 1940, the characters seemed detached from monumental events taking place around them. They were too
Jul 17, 2012 Hallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Elia MacNeal's historical "Mr. Churchill's Secretary" is set in 1940. England is on the brink of war, besieged by the Luftwaffe from without and the IRA from within. The novel opens with a typist for the newly anointed Prime Minister gratefully accepting a lift home from a young, smartly dressed young woman. On her own doorstep, she is stabbed by the woman's masked accomplice.

A replacement typist is apparently so hard to find and so urgently needed that one of Churchill's private secretar
Oct 25, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, england, wwii
Maggie Hope is an English girl who was orphaned at a young age. She was sent to an aunt in New England and was raised there. Maggie is an intrepid young woman who is a math whiz and is taking a relatively unprecedented step in going for her doctorate in mathematics at a prestigious university. When she is bequeathed her grandmothers house in London she planned on making a quick trip across the pond to sell it and get back to her life. The house proves hard to sell and Maggie keeps it open by ren ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, wwi
Keep plodding on.- Winston Churchill

"Maggie had originally come to London to sell her late grandmother's house. Yes, at first she'd felt angry because she had to give up a doctoral program in mathematics at M.I.T. To do so-no small achievement for a woman, even a Wellesley woman.
When she had first come to England , she'd been full of resentment-of the narrow-minded people , of bad food and weak coffee, of the dilapidated houses and antiquated plumbing. But when the house didn't sell Maggie was f
Nov 12, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This new series is set firmly in World War II London with a smart, sassy, gutsy protagonist Maggie Hope. Although she was raised in America, she is British by birth and so is eligible to serve England during the war in a very sensitive and secret undertaking. A graduate of Wellesley, with a degree in advanced mathematics, she abandons her chance to get a Ph.D. in math at MIT in favor of working for the Brits. She presumes her consummate math and code breaking skills will land her a job in that d ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Step rated it it was ok
This would be a one-star review, but I only give those to books I actively hate. For this book, I just didn't care. Sketchy, broad characters who I didn't care whether they lived or died, with overly pretentious language, a meandering plot with absolutely no sense of urgency despite being in the middle of a war, shallow, insincere attempts at romance, a boring 'mystery', unimaginative villains that were beyond incompetent, and a main character that wasn't in the least compelling. This felt like ...more
Jennifer Mccann
Apr 17, 2012 Jennifer Mccann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction, so this is right up my alley! When it comes to historical fiction I am somewhat demanding. I want it to be accurate. I want it to be authentic. I hate anachronisms! I love the way historical fiction blends fact and fiction, being simultaneously educational and entertaining.

Here it is evident that the author spent much time and effort making sure her setting was authentic. The background tapestry is richly woven without overtaking the main characters or plot. This is a
May 26, 2012 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place during WW II in England. Maggie Hope is the main character. I really enjoyed this especially because it was fascinating to learn more about politics and espionage in WW II England. However, I was dismayed to learn that Joseph P. Kennedy, who was the US Ambassador to England at this time (and the father of John F. Kennedy, the future President of the US), was Pro-Nazi in this book. I intend to research this fact, but I suspect that it was true. Disgusting!!

This is the first
Sep 02, 2012 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie Hope somewhat reluctantly takes the job of new Prime Minister Winston Churchill's secretary. The last secretary was was murdered and it seems that Maggie is being watched in her new job as well. England itself is facing Hitler preparing to pummel England with bomber planes as households build bomb shelters. Additionally, the IRA is bombing sites in London and could be Nazi sympathizers, joining against England - the common enemy.

Maggie's British parents were killed when she was still an
Sep 17, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful light read with a bit of mystery to it to keep you intrigued--and I was! I'm already smitten with historical fiction, so this was an easy pick for me. As with many historical fiction novels, some of the subtle details like language rang false. It is fairly obvious that this was not written by a British person, and that little fact, which played out in syntax and word choice, bugged me throughout the book. That said, I enjoyed all of the characters, though a few less would h ...more
Feb 26, 2012 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maggie was supposed to be at MIT earning a graduate degree in advanced mathematics, but instead finds herself in WWII London trying to sell the rundown but elegant house she inherited from a grandmother she had never known. Born in England to British parents, Maggie hadn't been back since she was a baby, which was when she left to live in America with her aunt after her parents were killed in a car accident. At first the blip in her academic plans felt like an annoying roadblock, but after livin ...more
I was torn between a 3 star and a 4 star for this book. When it was good, it was delightful. It got much of the incoming "tide of war" feel beautifully. The sense of living on the edge of a cliff, and then falling over as the first wave of the Blitz happens. The changes in aspiration that the war brought to both men and women, in terms of work, romance, promise. So much was beautifully done.

And the mystery itself was interesting, especially in how it took up a thread of intrigue that wasn't the

I felt as if I had stepped back in time while reading this book and had a front row seat to all of the danger and tension in London during WWII. The author does a superb job of creating a main character that has a lot of pluck, is strong-willed, but yet still has that touch of innocence about her. I quickly came to adore Maggie Hope and fully enjoyed her endeavors at No. 10 Downing Street.

Recommend? Yes! The author blends fact and fiction seamlessly, so much so that you actually believe Churchil
**2.5 stars**

Mr. Churchill's Secretary is not really a mystery. There's a dead body but no investigation as to who killed this person. Instead, it's more of a spy tale set in WWII.

Mathematician main character: Women are into science too and it's high time we have more of them in books.

London during the Blitz: I don't know much about the political climate in England in 1940. Learning how many people thought Hitler was going to leave them alone, what people thought of Churchill, the resi
Feb 24, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! If you like the WWII era, England, mystery and likable characters, then do watch for this book!

To be up front with information, I did win an advance copy of this book from Random House - thank you!

The story is of Maggie Hope, a young woman living in London as WWII breaks out. She becomes a secretary to Winston Churchill and is privy to secrets and things going on behind the scenes. Although this is fiction, there are elements of reality to it. You can feel the fear, the living
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Goodreads Librari...: same book listed separately should be combined 2 23 Aug 15, 2013 01:56AM  
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  • Dying In the Wool (Kate Shackleton, #1)
  • A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford, #3)
  • Louise's War (Louise Pearlie, #1)
  • Miss Dimple Disappears (Miss Dimple Kilpatrick #1)
  • The Ninth Daughter (Abigail Adams #1)
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)
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy (Maggie Hope, #2)
  • 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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