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Reviewed by Colleen Turner
Princess Elizabeth’s Spy continues the story of spunky Maggie Hope, first introduced in Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Having proven herself to be reliable, intelligent and intuitive while working for Mr. Churchill, Maggie has now completed her MI-5 spy training and is eager to put her new found skills to the test behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, Maggie’s physical abilities, or lack thereof, make any drop into WWII Germany too dangerous and she is instead relegated to an undercover job at Windsor Castle, posing as a math tutor and glorified governess to the Princess Elizabeth.
Disappointed to miss out on the action and feeling that her exemplary brain and skills as a code breaker are not being put to proper use, Maggie is nonetheless happy to serve when she is told that there is a German plot to murder King George VI, kidnap the Princess Elizabeth and put the Duke and Duchess of Windsor – the former Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson – on the throne of England as they have shown themselves to be German sympathizers. Determined to keep her eyes and ears open to any abnormal behavior, Maggie Hope is on the case to find the mole MI-5 who is hiding within the castle walls, sending correspondence to the Germans.
Maggie soon learns that the cold, cavernous castle holds many secrets and the people within it often aren’t who they initially appear to be. Following the various clues, Maggie soon learns that keeping emotion and personal preferences out of her professional job isn’t as easy as she thought and can lead her down the wrong paths of discovery. Will she be able to find out who is working to bring down the current monarchy before it’s too late? And, even if she can, will she be able to do so and come out alive? Spy work, it seems, is anything but boring.
Maggie Hope might be one of my new favorite characters. She is sassy, smart and incredibly brilliant at both math and spy work. While it might take her some time to get used to figuring out who to trust, she is undoubtedly dedicated and ready to serve. With a host of wonderful supporting characters – her hilarious friend and roommate, David Greene, her coworker and possible new love interest, Hugh Thompson, and an endless supply of intriguing servants and gentry living at Windsor – there is someone for everyone to enjoy.
Having not yet read Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, I did find myself wondering about some of the relationships that were obviously developed in the first book. While I didn’t feel lost by not reading Mr. Churchill’s Secretary first, I would definitely recommend doing so so the characters and connections are better fleshed out before beginning Princess Elizabeth’s Spy.
I think my favorite aspect of the book was how well the author dropped little hints and left you guessing, right along with Maggie, as to who was innocent and who was working with the Germans. While I had an idea as to which characters were bad I did not see how they were all connected and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
There is at least one more book in the series to come and Susan Elia MacNeal does a wonderful job of hinting at certain themes and cliffhangers to be resolved. I am excited to read Mr. Churchill’s Secretary next and will definitely be picking up all upcoming Maggie Hope mysteries to see where this dynamic character finds herself.
Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Bantam. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.a Rafflecopter giveaway