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Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Novel, Book 1 | [Susan Elia MacNeal]

Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Novel, Book 1

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 at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined....
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Publisher's Summary

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 at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined - and opportunities she will not let pass.

In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character, Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.

©2012 Susan Elia Macneal (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“This wonderful debut is intelligent, richly detailed, and filled with suspense.” (Stefanie Pintoff)

“A terrific read.... Chock full of fascinating period details and real people including Winston Churchill, MacNeal’s fast-paced thriller gives a glimpse of the struggles, tensions, and dangers of life on the home front during World War II.” (Rhys Bowen, author of Royal Blood and winner of the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards)

“Think early Ken Follett, amp it up with a whip-smart young American not averse to red lipstick and vintage cocktails, season it with espionage during the London Blitz, and you’ve got a heart-pounding, atmospheric debut. I loved it.” (Cara Black, author of Murder in Passy)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (800 )
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4.1 (703 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Penny 12-24-12
    Penny 12-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    12
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    "Interesting read!"
    Where does Mr. Churchill's Secretary rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top grouping.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Maggie HopeI enjoyed how she fit her intelligence into solving the puzzles and confounding the men.


    Have you listened to any of Wanda McCaddon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I had never listened to one of her performances before. She does a wonderful job.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    From typist to protector of the Crown...


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful book. I found it a little hard to follow in the beginning, but the story soon absorbed me and I couldn't wait to see how it ended. The reader has a wonderful voice and makes listening a pleasure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KerryL 12-24-12
    KerryL 12-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story, awful reader"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mr. Churchill's Secretary to be better than the print version?

    No, I didn't like the reader at all.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Most of the time, especially in the second half of the book.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Wanda McCaddon?

    The same one as the last book (Duerden) or Caroline Lee.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Athens, AL, USA 12-20-12
    Michael Athens, AL, USA 12-20-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    95
    36
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Slightly Interesting & Disjointed"
    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    McCaddon did a good job on the voices and narrative. Without her strong performance, I would have given a lower overall rating.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I have read a lot of history on Churchill and Britain before and during WWII. I love the time period and the resolve of the people. The story does give one an appreciation for the complexities and dangers of that era for the British people.


    Any additional comments?

    Too many long periods of 'dull' in the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toni 12-19-12
    Toni 12-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    26
    3
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    "GREAT BOOK!"
    If you could sum up Mr. Churchill's Secretary in three words, what would they be?

    Very entertaining reading


    Any additional comments?

    It was one of the shorter books I have listened to, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Solange 12-19-12
    Solange 12-19-12

    Mixed media artist, drummer, and Audible listener - 863 titles and counting!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    68
    12
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    2
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    "A nice light read"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, if they like stories about a spunky femme proviing herself in adverse circumstances


    Would you be willing to try another book from Susan Elia MacNeal? Why or why not?

    Yes...


    Which scene was your favorite?

    A conversation between the Churchills.


    Could you see Mr. Churchill's Secretary being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Maybe a TV series. That sexy redhead cop from The Mentalist would be perfect.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celia Topanga, CA, United States 12-18-12
    Celia Topanga, CA, United States 12-18-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    94
    31
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    2
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    "Weak"

    Poorly written, weakly narrated, (can't tell the characters apart), and just rather dull. It should be an exciting time in history, but the story never gets going, and never seems to go anywhere. Don't waste your credits, try Hornet Flight by Follett if you want excellent WW2 fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Kasane, Botswana 12-17-12
    Patricia Kasane, Botswana 12-17-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Step into a piece of History."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mr. Churchill's Secretary to be better than the print version?

    I love audio books because I can hear them while I drive endlessly or sew. They cannot take the place of reading but they supplement books in a wonderful way. So no, it is not better than the printed version just different. Having said that, however, I found Wanda McCaddon's reading irritating in the extreme. She has an unfortunate habit of ending each sentence with a strange intonation and lost her accents at times. So I think that I would have preferred to read this particular novel.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    This is not an edge of your seat kind of book. But it certainly kept my attention. By the end of both the books in the series I was sad to say goodbye to new friends.


    What three words best describe Wanda McCaddon’s voice?

    Irritating, inconsistent and distracting.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No exteme reaction - just a comfortable familiarity. The plot is not riveting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kristina 12-16-12
    kristina 12-16-12
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    "interesting historical fiction"
    Where does Mr. Churchill's Secretary rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is a good read for a light afternoon. Not too deep, not too obvious.


    What three words best describe Wanda McCaddon’s voice?

    easy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    interesting story, with a good twist. some slightly jarring notes when modern social issues are over represented, but overall can move past those episodes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daina 12-14-12
    Daina 12-14-12 Member Since 2010

    67 year old artist/filmmaker.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    15
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    "This book is boring."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The author doesn't really have a feeling for the characters.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Susan Elia MacNeal again?

    No.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Performance was OK. Material was not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abena Washington, DC, United States 12-12-12
    Abena Washington, DC, United States 12-12-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spy Fun!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes if they liked historical spy mysteries


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Maggie finds out her fiance is MIA and presumed dead


    Any additional comments?

    Donata Peters is a better narrator than the one who does Princess Elizabeth's Spy the next book. I want another book!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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