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Mr. Churchill's Secretary Audiobook

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

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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

4.0 (1213 )
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4.1 (1068 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Coffee Virginia Beach, VA, United States 01-17-13
    Coffee Virginia Beach, VA, United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2012

    Coffee and a Book Chick

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting Story, but the Wrong Narrator"

    I struggled with this one. It may be because my reading preferences have changed, or perhaps it was the narration, but any way you dice it, it didn't work for me. The narration for the main character of Maggie sounded much, much more mature than a twenty-four-year-old woman and while she may have grown up with her British aunt, she most assuredly did NOT sound like a woman who had grown up in Boston. It sounded as though the narrator tried desperately to deliver a "type" of American accent, but in fact, at several points throughout the narration, slipped into an odd Southern accent which was jarring. All the British characters sounded pretty much the same and it was rather difficult to identify who was who, other than a deeper voice for a man and a higher voice for a woman, so it was the most challenging to identify who was who when Maggie was only with her girlfriends. While the story was interesting, the narration couldn't maintain my attention and in fact took me three weeks to finish when it's only a little under ten hours of audio time. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate picking up the next in the series in audio. In reading other bloggers' reviews, it's clear I would have had a likelier chance for a better reaction had I read it instead. However, do take note of the majority of reviews on Audible.com, as it's evident others loved the audio. The average rating on Audible is 4 out of 5 stars for performance.

    Fans of Jacqueline Winspear and the like, who enjoy the cozy thriller and mystery experience, may like this story. I would recommend reading it versus listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NormaB Surprise, AZ USA 01-14-13
    NormaB Surprise, AZ USA 01-14-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, story was not what I expected, even better.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Pace was good and lots of accurate detail about England at war.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betsy 01-14-13
    Betsy 01-14-13
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    "Engaging combo of historical fiction and mystery"
    Would you listen to Mr. Churchill's Secretary again? Why?

    Yes -- fascinating to imagine the characters in that historic time.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Maggie, the heroine.


    Which character – as performed by Wanda McCaddon – was your favorite?

    I liked her portrayal of Winston Churchill


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

    I didn't laugh or cry -- but I was reminded of what a difficult time this was for the British people.


    Any additional comments?

    Reminded me a lot of Trapeze.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TravisD 01-10-13
    TravisD 01-10-13 Member Since 2007

    Travis

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    "Pleasant Period Piece"
    Where does Mr. Churchill's Secretary rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Pleasant. Easy on the ears. I ran out of Rhys Bowen to listen to and tried this one. Not sorry, but not yet a "can't wait for the next one" series. I'll order the next one, but not sure about the third.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mr. Churchill's Secretary?

    Silly question for a mystery read. When the character reveals him/herself to be a scoundrel.


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

    Mine wasn't done by Wanda. It was Donada Peters, which is what the cover says, and she was very good. Get it straightened out, eh?


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

    Nope. Just very pleasant.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Roos Marietta, GA 01-09-13
    P. Roos Marietta, GA 01-09-13 Member Since 2005
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    5
    3
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    Story
    "Good first book."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I like Mr. Churchill's Secretary! Like many first books in a series Ms. MacNeal wanted to tell you everything about everyone so some parts were tedious. Overall I enjoyed the book and I did not figure who the duplicitous character was until very near the revolution point. This was very cleverly done.

    I did find one mistake. I am not sure if it was written incorrectly and the editor missed it or if the narrator misspoke. However, it was Edward VIII who abdicated for the woman he loved not Edward VII.

    If found it easy to listen to as I drove to and from work. you can follow what is happening without taking away from paying attention to road.

    I plan to get the second book and will follow the series as it progresses.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mr. Churchill's Secretary?

    The last few chapters were the best but isn't that usually the case with a mystery. I particularly liked the last scene between Mr. Frame and Michael Murphy.


    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wanda McCaddon (Donada Peters) does a good job of narrating the book. Her lovely British accents are very well done and you just can't get that when reading. She does a darn good American accent for Maggie too.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Depending who was in the cast I would go see it. It might make a better "made for TV" movie than a feature film but still the casting is everything.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Auberry, CA, United States 01-08-13
    Kathy Auberry, CA, United States 01-08-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Plodding plot, and poorly developed characters..."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Time spent was okay since I commute an hour each way. But I almost bailed on the story. Just does not move well, not much of a plot, and in my opinion the character development seemed weak. I never seemed to really get a feel for each of the characters, poorly developed. Almost felt like Churchill was a cartoon-like character.


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

    Probably not...


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Narration was fine...but as with most audio files, chapter starts and finishes seemed clipped.


    Did Mr. Churchill's Secretary inspire you to do anything?

    Maybe spend a little more effort looking for a good historical novel dealing with this period.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Dicken St. Joe, MI United States 01-08-13
    L. Dicken St. Joe, MI United States 01-08-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK but could of been better."
    What did you like best about Mr. Churchill's Secretary? What did you like least?

    I really like the premise, but the writing is almost schoolgirl level. It is very predictable and never achieves any level of sophistication, The author has the girls thinking in the present way of thinking and not of the 1940s times so obviously no research was done into the way they thought, and talked back then. I know for I have done such research and was not impressed with this authors writing on it.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No, unless the script writer was amazing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betsy 01-07-13
    Betsy 01-07-13

    I am a one time English major, a lifelong reader, gardener, culinary experimenter, and fiber arts artisan. A perfect day for me is spent working with my hands while listening to an absorbing book. I love history and horticulture.

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    "Entertaining fun for fan's of Foyle"

    I enjoyed this book about young woman who finds herself working at Number 10 Downing Street during WWII. It reminded me of other books I had read that were set during the same period in England, but pleasantly so. I am a longtime reader of British Lit and fan of BBC TV. This book reminded me of the fantastic series Foyle's War, which I recently watched on Netflix. Some likable characters and a few surprises.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madelyn United States 01-07-13
    Madelyn United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'm not sure if any of my friends are interested in the same things I am. This book did not shake my tree. The performance was quite good. The basic idea was intriguing. It was a bit of a cookie cutter type style.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    WWII and Churchill


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

    No.


    Was Mr. Churchill's Secretary worth the listening time?

    A bit.


    Any additional comments?

    There were interesting tid bits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Canada 01-07-13
    Christine Canada 01-07-13
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    "Spoiled by the narrator"

    This was a not bad story completely spoiled by a narrator who attempted accents so badly that it was hard to tell where Lancashire ended and Atlanta Georgia began. The accents were so irritating that they detracted from the story. I was sorely disappointed as it was an interesting premise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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