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

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  14,524 Ratings  ·  2,252 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
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Paperback, 358 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2012)
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Miki
Oct 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 weighs it down.

Maggie is an outspoken feminist who often - REALLY often
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David
Jan 31, 2013 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
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Julie
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal is a 2012 Bantam publication.

I enjoyed this first book in the Maggie Hope series.

Set in Britain, just as the country enters the second world war, Maggie Hope is asked to work as a secretary for Prime Minister Churchill.

Maggie had arrived in Britain to sell the old Victorian house she inherited from her grandmother, but ended up living in the home with an eclectic group of roommates.

Although with her incredible mathematical abilities, she is ver
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Carolyn Hill
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
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The Lit Bitch
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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
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Nicole
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Judy Alter
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Susan
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
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Alex Baugh
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Annalynn
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Becky
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dalton Burke
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Gayle
May 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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Hallie
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Kristin
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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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Lynn
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie Hope leaves her home in the U.S. to travel to England to sell her grandmother's large Victorian house. Maggie was born in England but went to live with her Aunt in the US after the death of her parents.

War against Germany has just been declared by England so this is a very turbulent time to be there. Maggie is a mathematician with a degree from Wellesley and is a PHD candidate at MIT. She lands a position as a secretary to Winston Churchill which puts her into the thick of historical int
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Helen
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Elizabeth
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Erin
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

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
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Jennifer Mccann
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Step
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Connie
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Tina
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ariel
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Elizabeth
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Julie
Feb 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
The good thing about this book: the title.

Everything else is not worth the bother.

Do not be mislead by the publicist's review who promises that this is another Jacqueline Winspear or Anne Perry. Not in this life!

Rather than Maisie Dobbs, what we have here is Nancy Drew -- and yet, even that does disservice to likeable Ms. Drew, who as I recall, was always straightforward, unpretentious, and just plain fun. Rather this is Nancy Drew gone very bad.

The writing is amateurish and gratingly in-authen
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Jaylia3
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Staci
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
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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, Agatha, Thriller, 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 Edg
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More about Susan Elia MacNeal...

Other Books in the Series

Maggie Hope Mystery (7 books)
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy (Maggie Hope Mystery, #2)
  • His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Mystery, #3)
  • The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (Maggie Hope Mystery, #4)
  • Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante (Maggie Hope Mystery, #5)
  • The Queen's Accomplice (Maggie Hope Mystery #6)
  • The Paris Spy (Maggie Hope Mystery #7)

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“Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped into the next room I am I and you are you Whatever we were to each other, That we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, Speak to me in the easy way you always used Put no difference into your tone, Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow Laugh as we always laughed At the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, Let it be spoken without effort, Without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was, There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind Because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, Somewhere very near, Just around the corner. All is well.” When” 1 likes
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