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Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal - Review

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Maggie Hope graduated at the top of her Wellesley College class and planned to continue her studies in mathematics at M.I.T., but due to a change of events needed to travel to London to sell her grandmother's old house. Maggie knows she has the skills to make a name for herself in British Intelligence, but her gender only lets her rank as the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street rather than as one of the Prime Minister's private secretaries. She knows it's not right, but what can she do aside from her best. It turns out that working where she does gets her a lot of access and she quickly finds herself wrapped up in an assassination plot that could potential take down the country at the height of the war.

I started this novel hoping it would be something like the tv shows The Bletchley Circle crossed with Agent Carter, but it just didn't have what made those shows so compelling. A good deal of the story could be cut down and the character's would benefit from being less one-note like they sometimes seem to be. I get what the author is trying to do by modernizing some attitudes and I appreciate it, but sometimes it was a bit much and didn't do the cast any favors. Another two notes about Maggie that got a bit annoying over the course of the story includes how she can't seem to decide how British or American she is and how damp her armpits were from fear at various points. I swear, her armpits began sweating at least four separate times - I didn't really need to know that.

Overall, MacNeal's first book in the Maggie Hope Mysteries series had its moments, but at times it felt overshadowed by soapy melodrama and more talk than action. I may continue to KPO (Keep Plodding On - rather than KBO since we're delicate ladies) with this series, but not anytime soon.

Note: Didn't Diana's description make her sound like Peggy Carter? If only we got to know her, and if only Maggie were that awesome and stylish.

I read this large print novel from April 26 - 27, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.


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