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Princess Elizabeth's Spy Audiobook

Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 2

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (696 )
5 star
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4.1 (621 )
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Story
3.7 (629 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kim South Bend, IN, United States 10-23-13
    Kim South Bend, IN, United States 10-23-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator voice is a HUGE distraction."
    What did you like best about Princess Elizabeth's Spy? What did you like least?

    This should be a pleasant light read, but the narration is so distracting that I almost had to stop listening.


    What other book might you compare Princess Elizabeth's Spy to and why?

    Pretty similar to the Rhys Bowen series.


    What didn’t you like about Susan Duerden’s performance?

    There are problems with the narration. The weird breathiness was the first thing that I noticed. It sounded like she was narrating a dream sequence. It wasn't long before I noticed the very strange cadence that marked every sentence of the third person narration. It was kind of like she was a BBC newsreader. Very strange and distracting to the point that I almost stopped listening. But I paid for the download and I felt compelled to finish. The other very annoying thing was her interpretation of Maggie's voice. There is a tendency for some British actors to make their Americans sound like idiots, but this one was over the top. It sounded much like the voice of the "Barbie" doll in the Toy Story animated movies. Maggie is a mathematics genius, not a bimbo. It made me laugh when she would say something technical, because it was so ridiculous to hear that voice citing math theory. I thought maybe I was being hard on Ms. Duerden, thinking she was directed to have her voice have the weird monotone, breathy cadence,so I went and listened to a sample of some of her other books. Unfortunately, they were the same. So, if I want to read the rest of the series, I will probably get the books from the library.


    Did Princess Elizabeth's Spy inspire you to do anything?

    Avoid Susan Duerden narrations.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rachel NORTHFIELD, MN, United States 10-16-13
    rachel NORTHFIELD, MN, United States 10-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "So-so book, terrible narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I like historical mysteries, but I found this predictable and not very engaging. The narration was so irritating I almost quit part way through and returned it. So listen carefully before you invest.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy 10-01-13
    Tammy 10-01-13
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    "Unfortunately I can't rate it below one star."
    What would have made Princess Elizabeth's Spy better?

    Honestly, I could not tell you anything about this book because the narrator was sooo horrible. I loved the first Maggie Hope book, and was really looking forward to this one but could not make it through the first hour of the book. The narrator had a habit of ending sentences on a higher note almost like she was asking a question or announcing an award. This is really ineffective when you are try to talk about a serious or sombre subject. She was terrible with the different voices, and listening to her was .....painful. I am normally not so negative, and have suffered through so-so and below par narration because the story was good. This however, was intolerable.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm going to listen to Firebird but can't wait for My Heart's Own Blood and the Century Trilogy Book #3.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden’s performances?

    NEVER!


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

    Couldn't tell - the narration was too bad to get that far.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chickadee skagit valley 09-29-13
    Chickadee skagit valley 09-29-13 Member Since 2012
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    "The narrator was so distracting!"
    What did you love best about Princess Elizabeth's Spy?

    I loved the first book and the narrator was fantastic. I should have taken a closer look at the reviews and just bought the second book instead of buying the audiobook. I am having a difficult time not being overwhelmingly distracted by Susan Duerden's manner of speaking. While I was listening to this audiobook, my 12 year old daughter walked in the house with no prior knowledge of this book or my opinion of the narrator and said "What's wrong with her voice? Why is she talking like that?" Wanda McCaddon, the narrator of the first book, does a terrific job of bringing Maggie Hope into my living room. The version of Maggie Hope I discovered in Book 2 seemed flighty, breathless, insecure, and overly "girlish." I don't believe that Maggie actually changed between Books 1 and 2, but it did illustrate to me how very different a character might seem depending on the narrator.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Duerden?

    Wanda McCaddon!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrie Cambridge, MA United States 09-21-13
    Carrie Cambridge, MA United States 09-21-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Great story, monotonous voice"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden’s performances?

    I got this book because I very much enjoyed the first Maggie Hope mystery. As far as I can tell, this story is similarly good, but the narrator's intonations make it difficult to lose oneself in the story. The timbre of the voice is fine. However, every. single. sentence. is spoken with the same intonation: a rising inflection near the end, leaving the listener with the feeling the phrase is unfinished. There is some variation in tones when the characters are speaking, but other than that the inflections are regrettably unvaried. Unfortunately I already purchased the third Maggie Hope mystery read by this narrator, but I will be avoiding her in the future.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris Victoria, BC, Canada 09-13-13
    chris Victoria, BC, Canada 09-13-13 Member Since 2005
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    "Difficult to rate story"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different reader?


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

    I enjoyed the first one I listened to. I will just find a hard copy and enjoy that.


    How could the performance have been better?

    to me the reader tried to make ever line suspense filled...tiresome.


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

    As i mentioned I could not continue listening.


    Any additional comments?

    In all the years i have been an audible listener this is only the second book I could not listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorrie 08-18-13
    Lorrie 08-18-13 Member Since 2013

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "Good story; awful narrator"

    Whoever Susan Duerden is, she has no future as a book narrator - she reads in a monotonous and twee fashion that is more suitable to announcing the bus schedules for British Rail than reading a fast-paced and well plotted book.

    I really enjoy the 1920s-30s-40s female-centric mysteries (Maisie Dobbs; Lady Georgiana etc.) (that all seem to be written by American women BTW) and quite enjoyed the first book of the Maggie Hope series, read by a different narrator, so was looking forward to the next book. That narrator wasn`t wonderful but she wasn`t completely horrible.

    Unfortunately, despite it being a good read, full of bright characters and strong plot, the narration put me off so thoroughly that I abandoned listening to it and checked the book out of the library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia 08-09-13
    Cynthia 08-09-13
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    "Like Listening to the News"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I was so excited to get the second installment in this series. And then...the narrator. I took me a few chapters to pinpoint what was bothering me about her and then I realized: It's as if she's reading the news. The odd phrasing, the overdone dramatic pitch of her voice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maryruth 08-05-13
    Maryruth 08-05-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "annoying reader.."
    What would have made Princess Elizabeth's Spy better?

    A different reader would have made a big difference... this reader has an annoying habit of ending every sentence the same way; as if she questioning it.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Her speech pattern is really annoying; I tried really hard to get past it, but I never got past Chapter 6, and it was hard to listen to it that long.


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

    I like the characters, the plot was good, and I was looking forward to what Maggie would find out about her parents. The plot twist at the end is a great lead-in to Book 3, but now I am afraid to invest in another book that might have such an annoying reader.


    Any additional comments?

    I held out as far as Chapter 6, then I gave up and bought the book. I really enjoyed the book, but I listen as I work, so I wasn't able to hear the story. Very disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debera W. Douglas San Diego 08-03-13
    Debera W. Douglas San Diego 08-03-13 Member Since 2016

    gusperrysmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Narrator's cadence is very annoying"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Princess Elizabeth's Spy to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print version, so I couldn't say whether the audio version is better. I like to listen to books during my commute, and the books I buy to listen to are very different from the ebooks I chose to read. I like to listen to books that have an historical context and describe the surroundings in detail. The Maggie Hope series keeps me entertained during rush hour driving. Never mind a long commute if I'm listening to a good book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Princess Elizabeth's Spy?

    I love books set in a different time period. I like getting a feel for how it was 'back then'.


    What didn’t you like about Susan Duerden’s performance?

    Really disliked the way Susan Duerden reads the narrative. It's the same cadence for every sentence. Each sentence ends on the same note. It is so annoying that once during a long narrative, I had to shut it off. Does a great job on the voices, however. You can always tell when it's a different person talking.


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

    Can't say that I was moved, but at times I was annoyed by the main character's behavior. She's supposed to be a spy, but has very volatile outburst to her handler and boss. Rather than using a logical argument, she's screaming and having a tantrum. Is that supposed to be an 'American' trait? British reserve seems to have gone missing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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