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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Review - Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante

I have been behind in posting my reviews...and reading.  I am attempting to catch up.  

I have followed and reviewed each of the books in the Maggie Hope series:  #1 Mr. Churchill's Secretary (click here), #2 Princess Elizabeth's Spy (click here), #3 His Majesty's Hope (click here), #4 The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (click here), and a wonderful interview with Ms. MacNeal (click here).  Today I review the newest addition to the series.

Author: Susan Elia MacNeal

Copyright: Oct 2015 (Bantam) 352 pgs

Series: 5th in Maggie Hope Spy series

Sensuality: mild 

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Intrigue

Main Characters: Maggie Hope, a spy who started as Churchill's secretary

Setting: December 1941, Washington DC

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States’ entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady’s aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s inner circle—as Eleanor herself is implicated in the crime. Although Maggie isn't undercover behind enemy lines, she manages to find her unique talents in need.  Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.

Maggie maybe in a secretarial support role with Churchill, but she is a spy in her core.  She can't be anything else and is finding her new place in the war effort.  She must also face her ex-fiance, John Sterling as he is trying to reconcile their relationship.  John is on the trip with Churchill too, which provides some insights into his character that Maggie must consider. John's future seems to be taking a surprising turn as well.  David Greene is Maggie's dear friend and Churchill's right-hand guy.  David is always a joy in the stories.  Clara Hess, Maggie's mother and captured Nazi spy is with us again to keep the story off balance and unpredictable.  We finally meet Maggie's aunt Edith and it highlighted how difficult it can be to keep your real work secret.  Plus Tom O'Brian, a journalist and former classmate of Maggie's joins us for the adventure.  Will he be a significant factor in Maggie's life?

Washington DC was fascinating for a setting as America was just entering the war and the impact on the Capitol was manifesting.  The few scenes set in Hollywood were nostalgic.  The prison scenes were particularly well utilized.

 The plot hinges on how a scandal involving the First Lady would have repercussions that would jeopardize the war effort and the fragile new alliance between Britain and America.  It is hard to imagine now, but for the era I think it is a viable plot scenario.  The story-line kept me interested and turning pages with the subplots interwoven seamlessly.  The showdown with the killer was tense and the remaining questions get answered.  The wrap up set the stage for the next book...and left some developments as tantalizing possibilities.

This series has been a tour de force since it's debut, and this book does it justice.  The world of Maggie Hope is compelling drama set amidst grand historical events that transports you as only a topnotch storyteller can.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.

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