Friday, October 12, 2012

Princess Elizabeth's Spy

Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
4.5/5 stars
Bantam, 2012
384 pages
Adult Historical Mystery

Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Earlier this year I enjoyed the first adventure of Maggie Hope in Mr. Churchill's Secretary. After her aid in foiling an assassination plot there, she has been given the chance to join MI-5. However her lack of physicality stops that and leads to her receiving the position of Princess Elizabeth's maths tutor, ie a governess. However she is actually in place to spy on the household and see if she can ferret out a traitor. Also adding to her troubles are her fractured relationship with her father and the presumed dead status of her sort-of boyfriend (it's complicated).

Maggie is as enjoyable as ever-still keen to prove herself and eager to dedicate all of her brains and passion to England's cause against the scourge of the Nazis. This book is set in late 1940 and it was a lot of fun to see the young princesses Elizabeth (falling for a certain midshipman) and Margaret, who I didn't realize was so much younger. We also get to see their parents as well as their uncle David and his wife, that woman, who are content to allow the Nazis into England provided they get to go back on the throne. Winston Churchill also returns-I love him as a historical figure so much! Beyond them, we get to spend a great deal of time with Maggie's good friend David and her handler Hugh who becomes a new romantic interest for her.

As for the mystery, it was much easier for me than it was for Maggie because the reader received several sections told from the perspective of the conspirators. Additionally Maggie twice jumped to crazy conclusions from her own biases while my less clouded view led to me just shaking my head-what was she even thinking? If she could have listened to me, she would have saved herself much time and grief.

Then we have the ending, which I will leave to you to highlight if you are up for the spoiler: so of course Maggie's love John isn't dead. I could have told her that and if she had read a few more pulp romances, she might have been able to keep the hope alive. But I did not expect that he would cross paths with Maggie's half-sister (for who else could she be?) Also did not expect Maggie's mom to be the double-agent-that was a big surprise!

Overall: A really fun read that swept me away to WWII England, allowing me to luxuriate in the glamor of the period but also driving home the grim mood that prevailed as Britain seemed to soldier on alone. I am very excited for His Majesty's Hope!

Cover: I love how it fits with the first cover but I think I like this one even more since we see more of Maggie's body instead of just her bun.


  1. This sounds like such a fun series! I love mysteries and 1940s, so this book seems like the perfect combo. I'll have to check them out!

  2. Wow -- this sounds so fun. I've never even heard of this series, but I might give it a try!

  3. I just read the first book yesterday and I loved it! I can't wait till this one arrives at the library. It was hard not to highlight the spoiler and read but I will be patient :)


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