Mandolin's Reviews > Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
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's review
Jul 17, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-inventory
Read from July 17 to 20, 2012

When she was forced to suspend her graduate studies in mathematics at MIT to travel to London and sell her grandmother's deteriorating Victorian home, Maggie Hope never dreamed that she'd find herself at home in London and would learn to love the British culture and people as much as she did. Her initial anger at the disruption to her life gradually dissipated as she spent more time in England until she couldn't imagine returning home. When World War II erupted and Winston Churchill took center-stage, it seemed only natural that she remain and contribute her skills to the war effort. Imagine, then, her astonishment when she, a summa cum laude graduate of Wellesley's prestigious mathematics department, was told by the Home Office that her sex limited her to a position as typist and nothing more. Women, she was told, were too prone to getting married and having babies to be trusted with more crucial positions. Despite resenting their argument, Maggie reluctantly agreed to become a typist for the Prime Minister. Little did she know that her new job would throw her into a world of espionage and terrorism that would enable her, after all, to put her intelligence and skills to good use. And it would turn her life entirely upside down in the process.

It's hard to provide a good overview of the book and not spoil the many surprises that occur in it. Suffice it to say that I found it completely enthralling and read it as quickly as I possibly could. MacNeal evokes the atmosphere of World War II London perfectly, creating word pictures that make the scenes come alive. Her rich descriptions, absorbing plot and varied interesting characters all combined to provide the most satisfactory read I've had from a period novel in a while. I am certainly looking forward to the next book in the series!
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