Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
by Susan Elia MacNeal
Read: Dec. 9 –15, 2017
Source: Purchased new
Blurb: 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.
Review: So this was my December pick chosen by you dear readers! I was really looking forward to digging into it! So what did I think? ……
Well. The beginning was excruciatingly slow. EXCRUCIATINGLY. No joke. To be completely honest, had I not been also reading this one in conjunction with a Goodreads challenge that required the book to be finished by Dec. 15th, I have a pretty good feeling I would have walked away from this one.
But. But. But! …. I am very glad that I stuck it out because it got really good around the halfway mark and was a lot better from that point on. The first 100 pages or so was really setting the scene. I understand that. But it just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. So once I got past that 100 page mark it got a lot easier, and by the halfway mark I was fully invested in the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie’s character. She felt very real to me. And the supporting characters were all well-developed with their own backgrounds. This book is very character driven and I personally enjoy that. I like series where I can get invested in the characters. So just that alone makes me look forward to continuing on in this series!
Like I said, once you get past the first 100 or so pages the pace really picks up and the book gets a lot more interesting from that point on. I would definitely recommend this book to historical fiction lovers as well as mystery lovers and even espionage lovers too! It’s a good book that will appeal to a variety of readers. And I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series in the future.
So, dear readers …. you did pretty good for me this first go around! I’ve got another three selections coming up for you to vote on for my January version of this! Hopefully it’ll be another good read! See you next week!