A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Saturday, July 22, 2017

SATURDAY SERIES SPOTLIGHT: Mr. Churchill's Secretary By Susan Elia MacNeal

Welcome to The Book Review's SATURDAY'S SERIES SPOTLIGHT !!

What is a series spotlight, you ask?

I am always starting a new book series, but I also have a habit of starting long running series, which means I get to hunt down all the volumes, hoping to read them from start to finish.  This means I get to enjoy older books that are a new discovery for me.  Unfortunately, older =books don't get the same interest as new releases, which means my readers may be missing out on some really great books.

So, each Saturday, I will feature a book from a series I am working my through them. Mostly, I  will highlight a long running series, but I will also feature new ones too, and keep you posted on the latest installments.



The first book in the series is:



For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne PerryMr. 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.



Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery, #1)Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal is a 2012 Bantam publication.

I enjoyed this first book in the Maggie Hope series.

Set in Britain, just as the country enters the second world war, Maggie Hope is asked to work as a secretary for Prime Minister Churchill.

Maggie had arrived in Britain to sell the old Victorian house she inherited from her grandmother, but ended up living in the home with an eclectic group of roommates.

Although with her incredible mathematical abilities, she is very over qualified for her new job, as a woman, she finds herself relegated to taking dictation, but before long, Maggie begins to decipher codes, while also inadvertently discovering a shocking family secret.

Before she knows it, she is helping to flush out a spy, and doing a little investigative work concerning her own family, which is somehow connected. When all is said and done, Maggie’s life will have taken a turn into a new and unchartered course, not only with her career, but in her personal life, as well.

This novel is, of course, a mix of fact and fiction. There are ‘real life’ characters in the story, but it is not intended to be taken too literally.

I liked Maggie, who is a person well ahead of her time, is quick on her feet, and very smart, which earns her the respect of her male friends and colleagues, albeit, grudgingly at times.

The plot moves along a quick pace, but the characters have time to develop, which is especially important in the a ‘first in a series’ novel.

There were several ‘whiplash’ twists and surprises I never saw coming, which I loved, plus, I liked the tone of the story, which includes some interesting dialogue and political debate, a mountain of intrigue, with a little bit of romance blended in for good measure.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this book, but this series starter, was interesting enough, and the spy angle was a nice surprise. Overall, I think the series got off onto solid footing, so I’ve queued up the next three books from the library.





New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Agatha, Thriller, and Dilys Awards.

The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill's Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Mystery Readers International's Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was also nominated for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's 2013 Dilys Award for "the mystery title of the year that booksellers have most enjoyed hand-selling," Mr. Churchill's Secretary was also declared one of Suspense Magazine's Best Debut of 2012, Deadly Pleasures's Best Paperback Original of 2012, and chosen as one of Target's "Emerging Authors" series. 

The sequel, Princess Elizabeth's Spy, was a New York Times bestseller and chosen by Oprah.com as "Mystery of the Week" and one of "7 Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader)," as well as Tagret's "Emerging Authors" series. It was nominated for the Macavity Award's Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award.

His Majesty's Hope made the New York Times- and USA Today-bestseller lists and was chosen as one of Target's Emerging Author Series.

Books #4, The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, will be published in spring of 2014.

Susan graduated cum laude from Wellesley College, with departmental honors in English Literature and credits from cross-registered classes at MIT. She attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Her first job was as an intern at Random House for then-publisher Harold Evans, before moving her way up the editorial ladder at Viking/Penguin and McGraw-Hill, then becoming an associate editor at Dance Magazine.

Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fodor's, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Publishers Weekly, Dance Magazine, and various publications of New York City Ballet. She's also the author of two non-fiction books and a professional editor.


  1. Sounds interesting-- I will have to read this one! : )

    1. Thank you, hun!! I hope you will give this series a try!! Happy reading!


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