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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.
Praise for Mr. Churchill's Secretary
"Delightful may seem a strange word to describe a novel that takes place against the backdrop of the bombings of London during World War II, but it's appropriate for this debut novel. . . . As sweet as it is intriguing."--USA Today
"A captivating, post-feminist picture of England during its finest hour."--The Denver Post
"Daring . . . 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."--Bookreporter
"A ripping good yarn that] enthralls and satisfies."--Richmond Times-Dispatch
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-08-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Early in WWII, after the Battle of Britain, fears of a German invasion of England remain high in MacNeal’s enjoyable sequel to Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. American expat Maggie Hope, formerly the prime minister’s secretary, is training in Scotland to become a spy for MI5. Dismissive of so-called “women’s work,” Maggie reluctantly accepts her first assignment—to go undercover at Windsor Castle as math tutor to the 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth. After the initial, somewhat slow scene-setting chapters, which depict scheming Nazis as well as the dubious loyalty of the duke and duchess of Windsor, the plot picks up momentum with false starts, double agents, and red herrings. MacNeal provides a vivid view of life both above and below stairs at Windsor Castle. Excerpts from actual news broadcasts and speeches by the future Elizabeth II and Churchill add historical authenticity. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary. (Oct.)