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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

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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  • Overall

Historic Mystery

I enjoyed this novel. It was the time period of my parents. An era tough for everyone who lived it. I enjoyed reminiscing. Reasonably good mystery too.

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  • Elizabeth
  • Windham, NH, United States
  • 08-11-16

Fun, but not great

During the expository beginning I just about gave up.

But the story picked up nicely and Our Hero has sundry adventures. A nice action-packed tale once you get in a bit.

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Looking for a good English Mystery?

An interesting story set in 1940's England. Lots of drama and action. A wonderful look at Mr. Churchill. Definitely worth the price of a credit.

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  • Kathy N
  • Long Beach, CA United States
  • 06-30-16

Cozy Spy Story

This truly fits in a genre of cozy spy story. Great historical interest and multiple denouements that sustained my interest - I kept thinking the action had peaked and then it picked up again.

Narrator is great, even evoking Churchill's delivery. The story has a few minor flaws, but if you're already accepting that spy activity could be this gentle, overlooking them is not a step much farther to take .

I was slightly annoyed by something that's a pet peeve: an author injecting modern morality and political views into a past era. But it wasn't bad enough to ruin my enjoyment.

I'll read on in the series.

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Brits pretending to be American

while the book itself was fun, the plot was clunky at times. more than anything what was extremely interesting was the narrator who could not nail down an American accent for the life of her.

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Riviting Story. Couldn't Stop Listening.

If you could sum up Mr. Churchill's Secretary in three words, what would they be?

Good historical fiction.

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

When Paige (Clair) and Murphy killed (?) the dancer.

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

No

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

I loved it. It made me both laugh and cry.<br/>

Any additional comments?

This story made me care about the characters. It was very well done. I can't wait to read the next book.<br/>

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loved the story, hard to hear different girls

I liked the story and the characters. wasn't sure about narrator but she got better as the story progressed. I enjoyed it

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Foyle's War meets The Immitation Game

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

At the top! This series is a more sophisticated version of the Her Royal Spyness novels, which I also love. Enough English history for any history buff in this one!

What did you like best about this story?

Lots of twist and turns and unexpected character development. Just enough "mature" language and plot lines to make the story realistic. I especial liked that problems such as the Irish troubles or the British Hitler supporters were not ignored nor glossed over.

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

I loved the reader, Wanda McCaddon. At first I thought her voice was too mature, but her reading style, her inflection, her accents, made me fall in love with her voice. I'm sorry to read that other books in the series don't use McCaddon, now that I have her characterizations in my 'head'! McCaddon gave life to each of the characters!

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

Not about the book. However there was one or two times when McCaddon didn't get a young gravely voice exactly right, and I thought I heard just a touch of Marge Simpson in the accent.THAT made me laugh! However, I did get very emotionally involved with the characters. So much so that I'm probably hooked on the Maggie Hope series.

Any additional comments?

Congratulations to Susan Elia MacNeal for a wonderful beginning to a very enjoyable series.

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Cozy read!

I enjoyed it and the time era! It was engaging but not rocket science....for relaxation, it is great.

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Wobbly accents

I generally enjoyed the story, but the narrator had difficulty nailing the different accents, which I found distracting.