Book Review: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

October 29, 2012
Article first published as Book Review: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal on Blogcritics.

About:
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal is a historical fiction book taking place in the early days of World War II. This is a debut effort for Ms. MacNeal who has a wonderful World War II blog which is well worth a read.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Original edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553593617

Book Review: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

My rating for Mr. Churchill’s Secretary3

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Thoughts:
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (website | Facebook | @SusanMacNeal) is a very enjoyable book. The second book in the series, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy (post coming next week), is already out and I’m already looking forward to the third one.

The emphasis on the book is certainly more on the fiction part and less on the history which makes it a fun ride (even though I like my books to be historically accurate). When reading this book keep that in mind, it is not meant to be substantial on the historical front.

Ms. MacNeal managed to write a compelling and captivating debut, while creating a saucy character (damn, I never thought I’d use the word “saucy” anywhere but a bar-b-q pit). While one could certainly sense that this book was meant to be part of a series, and hence an “origin” story, it is still energetic and involving.

It seemed likely to me that the book was not written by an English person but by an American, the language did not ring true and the choice of syntax was a little distracting throughout.
But that’s being picky since, as I mentioned, the book is a fun ride and the author fully admitted that she was not writing a historically accurate and the characters are fun and engaging despite (or maybe because) the funny talk.

There are many characters in the book, a few too many whose qualities are repeated over and over again. We are told multiple times how annoying the twins are or that another character is gay and it should be kept hushed at points which, seem to me, simply there to remind the reader with no plot advancement. Due to the many character and the fast pace of the book, many of them are sketches or caricatures of characters.

I liked that the book concentrated on war time London, the little day to day hardships and how people made do with the little they had. The rapid advancement of the Germans scared the population immensely and each citizen took it seriously, as they should have.

Despite the plot which stretched my believability and at points gets out of control I liked the book and the story. I am looking forward to more adventures of Maggie Hope as she discovers her new country, family and saves England… again.

Synopsis:
Maggie Hope, an English citizen raised in America, journeys across the pond to sell the estate of her late grandmother. While unsuccessful at her original endeavor, she feels Camaraderie with the British people who are in war.

Maggie puts her PhD in mathematics on hold, makes friends and get a job as a secretary at 10 Downing Street typing up Prime Minister Churchill’s memos. As a brilliant mathematician, Maggie recognizes code when she sees it helps crack an espionage ring.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*

More Book by Susan Elia MacNeal
Check out this & more World War II books on Man of la BookStore

Zohar — Man of la Book 
Dis­claimer:
 I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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6 Comments

  • Carol Wong October 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    It didn’t matter whether it was believable or not, it was a great mystery. Lots of fun.

  • Anna October 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I loved this book. It was a fun page-turner, even if it was a little over the top at times.

  • Michael @ Literary Exploration October 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Sounds like a fun read

  • Ryan October 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    This was a fun book to read, I finished it yesterday and started and finished the second one yesterday as well. I keep wanting to compare them to other series set in London around the same time, but I think it’s unfair for me to do so.

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours November 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I’ll keep in mind that this one isn’t heavy on the historical accuracy – I’m sure it will allow to really enjoy this book (and the others in the series)!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  • Linda January 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Loved this book & the series. If you loves stories about England, especially London & WWII, you’ll love this series!

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