Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed debut, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain's beloved royals against an international plot - one that could change the course of history.
As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in math. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous - and deadly - than Maggie ever expected.
The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspiracy that places the entire royal family in peril. And as she races to save England from a most disturbing fate, Maggie realizes that a quick wit is her best defense, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family.
©2012 Susan Elia Macneal (P)2012 Random House Audio
I would recommend the print version. The reader had a deplorable tendency to drop her voice at the end of each sentence. I listened to and enjoyed Mr. Churchill's Secretary which was read by, I believe, a different person. The story and plot of both are engaging. I really enjoy listening to an audio book unless the reader gets in the way of that enjoyment.
Mr. Churchill's Secretary.
I think so. I listened all the way to the end and managed to stay pretty engaged despite my personal dislike of the way the book was read.
I think it is important to realize that of course, what one person finds distracting, will not bother another person. So, take this review with a grain of salt. I'm sure reading is a very challenging job.
I enjoyed both of these witty novels featuring Maggie Hope--a combination of social and political commentary and thriller (of the less intense sort) set in England at the start of WWII. This second book, however, is marred by the quality of the reading. I hate to say anything negative about someone who did such an admirable job in many ways, particularly her use of different voices for various characters, but her sing-songy cadence sentence by sentence was so distracting that at times I found it hard to listen. I persevered and I'm glad I did,but unless Duerden can overcome this very unhelpful vocal tic, I can't recommend books read by her.
The lead character is very intelligent and able to think on her feet. Enjoy reading about real woman.
History of WW ll is very well tied into the story.
What I usually say is that if the story is my main point of interest and I am not noticing the narrator, they are doing a fine job. That was the case hear.
I never do that. The reason I like audio books is that I can ""read" while I am driving or working. My life doesn't lend itself to engulfing whole books at a time.
Looking forward to the next book. Still have questions about the fate of one character and the relationship between Maggie and her dad.
When I bought the book on the day it was released, I thought "OO, maybe I'll be the first to write a review."
When I finished listening to the book, I thought, "Um ... I hope I'm not the first to write a review; I'll wait a while ..."
Unfortunately, this second Maggie Hope book is not as good as the first.
The narrator for this book is not very good at all. In fact, the opening pages of the book are ... well, I almost gave up even before the real action started, and I wasn't sure if it was just the narrator or not.
Once the action got going, it kept me interested enough to listen to the end.
It was my own fault ...
This second book has come out so soon after the first book, that I made an assumption. I assumed it would be the same reader as the first book, and did not bother listening to the sample.
I haven't listened to it. So I do not know if it includes any of the voice given to Maggie --
which is far too childish and petulant for someone in her position and of her age.
The action of the story was enough to let me overlook that annoying factor.
But, the few times that Mr. Churchill appears in the novel, I would expect some attempt to be made to sound like him. Nope. He sounds like any gruff older man in any manor house story of early 20th century Britain. Sorry -- that was a very poor decision by the director and producer of this audiobook.
Of course, having a woman try to sound like Churchill is sort of like female Elvis impersonators ... **Shudder**
And, almost any attempt to mimic a Churchillian voice is almost a joke -- but it still needs to be attempted if he speaks in an audiobook.
And the attempts at the few German character voices -- **bigger shudder** -- almost more of a cartoony sounding voice than an honest attempt.
Now, as for the novel itself -- I'm sorry, it is not as good as the first Maggie Hope book. However, it is good. :-)
But, I doubt I will be picking up the third book when it comes out until after at least 10 people review it -- and then, I'll probably try to borrow it from the public library and listen to it before I purchase it. Based on the set up for that book as set down in the final pages / moments of this book -- it's not really something that I think I'll be interested in. Bummer. I really liked the first book and had eagerly anticipated more books about Maggie Hope in the future. **sigh**
Be sure to listen to the sample before you decide to get this as an audiobook. It is a good book -- maybe get the print version. Or if you really want to listen to it -- honestly, if it is available as a Kindle book with the "text-to-voice" option enabled -- you may just prefer that voice ... (I have actually found two books, so far, that I did prefer the text-to-voice version even though it can't handle words like "Mrs." [comes out as "M R S"] or "c'mon" [which comes out as "C Monday"] ...)
The narration by Susan Duerden ruins the book. Her uplifting of every word especially at the end of sentences is annoying beyond belief. The main character's voice varies all over the place from high pitch school girl to dusky barmaid. Her Churchill is awful. Her German accent is comical. I see she is narrating the third book - so I won't buy it. Disappointing to start a series and not continue because the narration is so awful. I'm sure in other settings her narration works better but it is distracting and annoying with this material.
Possibly -with a differnt narrator.
Some one else reading it. The first book's narrator was very good. Not sure why they switched to some one else.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, novelist.
No. The narration was grating.
Rhys Bowen's series about Lady Georgiana Rannoch, as both series feature the royal family as well as a mystery, though they take place a decade apart.
Susan Duerden has an incredibly annoying lilt to her voice, as she drawls the last word of every sentence on rising intonation. Her dialogue is fine, the differentiation of character is good, but the narrative sections make my skin crawl.
No, I could barely listen to it at all.
Bring Wanda McCaddon back as narrator.
After enjoying "Mr. Churchill's Secretary", we looked forward to this 2nd book in the series. It is a wonderful story, moving briskly and giving insights to the characters and events of WWII. Our one disappointment was the narration. We might have been satisfied with Susan Duerden as narrator if we had not become accustomed to the superior narration of Wanda McCaddon in the earlier book. "Princess Elizabeth's Spy" ends in a real cliffhanger situation and we are anxious for the release of Book 3.
Yes, if they like this genre, it was interesting and historical.
Writing was well done, but the narrator's voice was a tad annoying at times.
Not sure, she just got a bit overdone and sugary at times, rise and fall of her voice was odd and she seemed to struggle with the American accent.
All the twists and turns - and how real it seemed.
She did a good job - but was to many pauses - I preferred the narrator in Mr. Churchill's Secretary
I was a bit hesitant to listen to the second book, with a new narrator, but I am so glad I did! The narration was wonderful, and the story was almost better than the original! Twists and turns, romances, happy and sad. And a thrilling cliffhanger. I cannot wait for Book #3 to come out!
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