Jennifer's Reviews > Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
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's review
Jul 30, 2012

liked it
Read from July 21 to 30, 2012

This first outing from MacNeal was disappointing. The dialogue feels flat and forced and-- as another reviewer said-- too 2012 as opposed to 1940. The cast of characters is appealing and has potential, but the omniscient narration-- the author jumps in and out of various characters' heads-- doesn't allow any of the primary protagonists' personalities to develop. Even Maggie, the lead, remains uninteresting, and her internal monologues definitely seem anachronistic. The only character that truly shines is Winston Churchill, and he does so in cameos. The second half of the book sacrifices emotion for action: the pace and scale of events defies credibility to the point where the reader loses interest, and the obvious and frustrating oversights don't help (as in, there's absolutely no explanation for how/why character x knew y). I'm willing to suspend a decent amount of disbelief when I read mysteries, and I like a good mystery-romance with feisty and ahead-of-their time heroines, but this book was just too off key to be truly enjoyable. The stilted execution did not match the author's careful research.

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