Read Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal Online

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Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed début, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain’s beloved royals against an international plot—one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister WinSusan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed début, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain’s beloved royals against an international plot—one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in maths. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous—and deadly—than Maggie ever expected. The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspiracy that places the entire royal family in peril. And as she races to save England from a most disturbing fate, Maggie realizes that a quick wit is her best defence, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family....

Title : Princess Elizabeth's Spy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780449808504
Format Type : Audiobook
Number of Pages : 11 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Princess Elizabeth's Spy Reviews

  • Julie
    2019-04-10 13:54

    Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal is a 2012 Bantam publication. This second book in the Maggie Hope series is better than the first!!The story picks up with Maggie being told she can’t quite cut it at MI-5 from a physical standpoint, so she’s shipped home and reassigned. At first, she balks, but becoming a math tutor for Princess Elizabeth turns out to be much more than 'woman's work', when it becomes clear the princess could be in serious danger. On a more personal note, Maggie is still struggling to figure out her father and how their relationship should progress, and sadly, she has personally felt the effects of war. On a lighter note, there is a wedding to plan, and Maggie is reunited with her friend, David, but also makes new, very significant friendships while working undercover. Well, my goodness! This series is such a pleasant surprise! I love the real life historical figures feature, which, in this case, is Princess Elizabeth, her sister, and of course the king and queen of England, which is always fun, but Maggie’s character is so perfectly balanced, and she is a delightfully smart, strong, and genuine. The plot was, once again, very fast-paced, with all kinds of action, shocking revelations, intrigue beyond measure, mixed in with romance, humor, and some personal introspection and growth to round things out. The conclusion was a real stunner! I think I actually gasped out loud. Thankfully, I already have the third book queued up and ready to go. I can’t wait to see how all these developments play out. Should be very interesting indeed!! I love how quick and easy these books are to read, but at the same time they seem to come to an end all too soon. 4 stars

  • Kelly
    2019-03-24 16:08

    Well, I really wanted to like this one because I enjoyed the first book in the series, "Mr. Churchill’s Secretary," although it also had its flaws (see my Goodreads’ review). My major problem with this book, though, was Maggie Hope herself. I liked her spunky, Nancy Drew style in the first book, but in this volume, I am not sure if she could have been any more clueless, annoying, irritating, whiny, petulant, etc.I could not believe how both ridiculous and ridiculously unprofessional Maggie acted towards her boss and her coworkers in MI-5. Are you kidding me? Where should I start? How about with Maggie’s childish reaction to her Windsor Castle assignment, being a “sponge” and protecting the Princess? Maggie, did you forget that you were failing your training at “Camp Spook” in Scotland? Did you remember how Peter Frain, the freakin’ head of MI-5, saved your butt and gave you an awesome assignment at Windsor Castle in spite of your craptastic training? Since when is it a disappointment to work with the rulers of England, both the Royal Family and Mr. Churchill? It must really be difficult to have to deal with such high powered people while on the job. Poor, poor Maggie. *sigh* To Maggie’s credit, I will say that her request for more information about the assignment was a fair request, as Frain should have given her the details to start with, but I cannot believe that she was so upset to be considered a “sponge.” I mean, isn’t that what a lot of espionage is—soaking up information? Here’s a small peeve: Maggie’s complete cluelessness about formal etiquette and, I suppose, royal etiquette. She apparently does not know what “dress for dinner” means. I know much is made of Maggie’s American childhood—seriously, MUCH is made of it—but wouldn’t she have realized that living and working in a castle with the Royal Family would entail some specific etiquette rules to follow? Wouldn’t that have come up in pre-assignment training, if she had any?Another small peeve: Maggie’s oft-repeated bitterness about giving up her dreams of a mathematics graduate degree from MIT, which leads into a bigger peeve: the reader is told over and over how smart Maggie is, but the reader is certainly not shown that. Maggie blunders about while trying to find some answers after Lily is killed (really gruesomely, too, may I add. Geesh.) and stumbles across a book that holds a very significant clue, but then when Maggie receives a book from her father, a SPY at Bletchley Park (hello, clue!), she does not realize the significance of the book (perhaps there’s a code in it, Maggie!) until Princess Elizabeth spills tea on it. Edmund even states in his note with the book, “Dear Margaret, So sorry we missed each other. Thought this book might answer some of your questions.” And now we come to one of my biggest problems with this book: how is it in any way appropriate for Maggie to blackmail her boss, the HEAD OF MI-5, because she no longer wants to work with a different, but more experienced, handler? Yes, Nevins is a total jerk, but guess what Maggie: sometimes we have to work with jerks. And her original, rookie handler, Hugh? A total dreamboat of a man, whom Maggie falls for, in spite of the fact that her almost-fiancé, John, is MIA (literally, his plane has been shot down in Germany, but they have not recovered a body, so he is probably still alive, as far as Maggie knows). Maggie really is a piece of work here. I dislike the introduction of an unnecessary potential love triangle (does this story really need the romance? No.). I dislike Maggie’s speedy recovery from the heartbreak of John’s disappearance. I especially dislike the completely unprofessional relationship between Maggie and Hugh, which results in Maggie’s childish tantrum that results in blackmailing her boss, the HEAD OF MI-5. Perhaps in real life spies really do fall into bed with one another; I do not know because I am not a spy, but I do know that it is probably not a good idea to be romantically and sexually involved with a supervisory coworker as Maggie is with Hugh. After all that ranting, let me just point out that I did not mind the actual character of Hugh, per se; I just really disliked the romantic relationship he and Maggie have.I also disliked the bizarre red herring-ish subplot of Alistair Tooke, the Head Gardener, who according to Sam Berners, the Royal Falconer, put up the wire that decapitated Lily. Apparently, Tooke was so upset that his German wife was removed from the castle, but not the German lady-in-waiting, Lily, that he rigged up this crazy way to murder Lily. What? What if someone else had been riding ahead of Lily, like one of the princesses? This was just a very unlikely way someone would murder a specific person.Finally, the revelation about Maggie’s mother was surprising, but, after everything else that has happened to Maggie, not shocking. What is shocking is the hare-brained new assignment Maggie will apparently be working on in the next volume of this series in which she goes undercover to Berlin and will at some point interact with her mother, the dreaded master spy Commandant Hess (this is from the set-up in chapter 30). MI-5 must be desperate to send such an inept spy undercover to Nazi Germany to deal with her own Nazi master-spy mother, whom she thought was killed in a car accident twenty years ago. Yeah, no potential for disaster there!

  • Colleen
    2019-04-07 08:05

    After reading the first book in this series, I was excited to pick up the second. I expected a enjoyable, if not particularly historically accurate, novel and that is what I got. The characters are fun, the insights into life in WWII England interesting, and the code-breaking tidbits intriguing. All was well until the entire sub-plot regarding Maggie's parents started to emerge- as a fan of the TV show Alias, I was shocked to discover the wholesale use of the entire plotline about Sydney's parents. Even the lines that Hugh utters about a wall of poppies are lifted from Vaughn's speech to Sydney about the wall of stars at the CIA. This was no small similarity in circumstances- this is essentially lifting the plot of several Alias episodes and just changing the names of the characters!I was deeply disappointed by this lack of originality and it undermined my enjoyment of the novel as a whole. If I were not a fan of Alias, I would have given this book four stars, but knowing how a central plot element was shamelessly stolen from the TV series, I'm only giving it one star because that is as low as I can go.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-16 10:04

    Did nobody else see how closely (almost unethically closely) parts of Maggie's story followed that of Sydney's from the TV show Alias? It was enough that it pretty much disturbed the way I felt about the rest of the book - which paints this supposedly intelligent, reasonable woman as a complete dunce with all the clues she misses.After reading the book, I was curious about the connections to Alias, so I pulled up Netflix and was astounded.(view spoiler)[1. Both of their fathers are also spies with whom they have stilted relationships. During their investigations they both come to believe that their fathers are working for the enemy.2. Both fathers give their wives books that have secret codes that seem to implicate them as double agents.3. Both of the women fall for their handlers. Both handlers have lost a father who was also working for the good guys - and was (more than likely) killed by the woman's parent. And both handlers are referred to psychiatrists right after this information becomes known to them.4. Both young handlers are taken off the job and replaced by someone older, who then compromises their agent's safety.5. Both handlers "borrow" the agency's file on the women's fathers and give it to the women.6. Both women realize that the agents investigating their fathers died in the same car accident as their mothers7. Both women are told that they don't have enough clearance to know all of the information about their mothers' deaths.8. Both women find that their mothers aren't only alive, but are working for the bad guys.And- it goes a little deeper than that. I kept finding myself reminded of scenes from the tv show as I read, and while I'm not a superfan, I though things were a bit too convenient - and some of the dialogue is eerily similar. Here are some examples:A. Maggie and Hugh are called into a meeting after they accuse her father as a double agent: "I didn't realize this was going to be such a big meeting." Sydney and Vaughn are called into a meeting after they accuse her father as a double agent: "It's a big meeting."B. Maggie's father in that same meeting: "I knew weeks ago that my file had been removed. And that certain people were suspicious of my actions during the great war..." Sydney's father in that same meeting: "I knew weeks ago that my file had been pulled and that you were suspicious of my activities 25 years ago regarding the KGB..."C. Same meeting, Maggie's father: "The pinprick encryptions you found in those books - yes, they were orders from the Sektion. Yes, they were orders to kill British Intelligence officers. But Maggie, I wasn't that agent." Same meeting, Sydney's father: "Those cyrillic codes you found in those books - yes, they were orders from the KGB and yes, they were orders to kill. An agent recieved those orders and carried them out, murdering officers of the C.I.A., including your father, Mr. Vaughn. All this is true. But, Sydney, I was not that agent."D. After that meeting, Maggie: "And having a child? Was that part of the plan, too?" After that meeting, Sydney: "Even her wanting to have a family? Was that just part of the plan, too?" (hide spoiler)] I don't know if it was meant as an homage, or if it was inadvertent or deliberate, but parts of the story and the dialogue skirt the edge. Beyond all the that, the story wouldn't have been so bad had Maggie, this gifted woman, actually noticed obvious things that were right in front of her. The elements of life for the princesses in Windsor were interesting, but for me, not enough to overcome the shadow of Alias.

  • Judith Starkston
    2019-04-20 12:54

    With the recent celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, it’s especially engaging to read a novel about her as a young Princess—set in some of England’s darkest days during the brutal bombing attacks by Germany during WWII. While the adventures of Maggie Hope, spy and mathematician, with the fourteen-year-old Princess are fictional, MacNeal’s portrayal of Elizabeth rings delightfully true. Here’s the very young woman who already holds a powerful sense of duty to her people and carries her responsibilities with great love and care, even while she’s still a mischievous child as well—and those black-and-sable corgis! No matter that Elizabeth’s favorite dog has the habit of biting, the Princess is still devoted to him, and riding is her favorite activity. The “inside view” from Windsor is warmly entertaining from beginning to end. Maggie’s rooms at the top of Victoria Tower come complete with a loo on the roof. Creative plumbing added in later, apparently. Keep checking the closets because the scoundrels have slipped into the castle and it will take all of Maggie’s intelligence and gumption to keep the Princess safe. As with her first Maggie Hope book, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, MacNeal excels both at creating a sense of place in history and at developing characters that draw us in and hold us there. She’s particularly good at giving us a cast of characters with multiple people we feel compelled to suspect. She’s great at planting clues, along with a fair share of misleading but true clues, so that you keep turning the page in anticipation of figuring out what’s up, but you’re unlikely to catch the Nazis before all is revealed. MacNeal’s plot is pleasantly twisted.The idea of betrayal and what drives people to it arises in a number of ways in this book. Sometimes blind chauvinism, too arrogant to see the value of a woman’s mind, causes inadvertent, stupid betrayal. Sometimes war, both on the home front and on the battlefield, wounds so deeply and destroys men so thoroughly that they thrash about trying to save themselves from emotional drowning and in doing so betray those around them. Sometimes the heart has to have certainty to hold onto love, and a kind of betrayal can hide in the shadows among even the most loyal. Sometimes people must choose who to betray and who to protect when they are forced by evil circumstances. The variations on this theme underlie many of the intertwined plotlines of the mystery, but despite this seemingly heavy idea, the novel is primarily a fun read with a sense of humor and a playfulness that will entertain you. Take for example—at one point Princess Elizabeth takes a cue for defensive action from her Corgi and bites a villain in the ankle. If you’re not laughing, you’re made of stone (and biting your own nails—it’s a scary moment, clever of MacNeal to combine with humor). I definitely recommend curling up with Princess Elizabeth’s Spy. For an interview with Susan Elia MacNeal about Princess Elizabeth's Spy, her research, the dungeons of Windsor and why the theme of betrayal appears in her books click here.

  • Laura
    2019-04-03 15:16

    Awful! As an American, I'm ashamed of the poor writing and historical errors in this book. I'm a true anglophile and in particular love mysteries set around either of the first or second world wars. I'm also well versed in the history of the British royal family. I thought the first book in the series, Mr. Churchills' Secretary, was okay. Oftentimes I find the first book in a series is the weakest as so much of it is set up for future books, so I thought I'd give the second book a try in spite of reviews saying the plot was "stolen" from TV's Alias. However, I truly couldn't get past the American slang, errors in continuity, and blatant feminism to finish the book. The entire idea that the Nazis are trying to kidnap Princess Elizabeth doesn't make sense. Why would they want to kidnap her? She was the heir to the throne at that point, yes, but she also had a sister and numerous cousins who were also in direct line behind her for the throne. If the Nazis wanted to reinstate the Duke of Windsor as King Edward VIII, they would have had to kidnap and/or kill more than just Princess Elizabeth. I was also disgusted early on (around 3rd chapter) when MI5 is trying to recruit a defiant, smart-aleck Maggie to become Princess Elizabeth's tutor. The head of MI5, Peter Frain, refers to Princess Elizabeth as 2nd in line to the throne. What? Who else was in line before her that would bump her down to 2nd in line? Was this book edited at all or was it edited by someone who knew absolutely nothing about Great Britain? Doesn't matter, as along with Jacqueline Winspear's awful Maisie Dobbs series (who magically senses things), I'm done with reading any of Ms. MacNeal's books. Americans CAN write good mysteries set in England: Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George, Dorothy Cannell all come to mind. Ms. MacNeal needs to learn from them how to write a good British mystery.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-16 11:02

    I have the same concern with this second title in the series as I did in the first: the characters' speech is not realistic to the time and place. Both in their inner thoughts and in dialogue, they speak in contemporary American, with Britishisms thrown in awkwardly. And some of the attitudes and opinions seem anachronistic. Also, the set-up for the third book is wildly improbable. It's a fun adventure, however, plenty of adrenaline, and the atmosphere and details of life in Windsor Palace during the war seem well-researched and are engaging, despite the distraction of inappropriate phrasing when characters speak. And I was glad to see my dear Churchill make plenty more appearances!

  • Katy
    2019-04-12 12:59

    I was intrigued by the first book in this series, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. I didn't particularly like Maggie (in face she seemed to be a bit of a Mary Sue in that book, and this book reinforced my opinion of her - men instantly falling in love/lust with her; we're constantly told how unbelievably intelligent she is; it seems like she knows or is good at everything except where the plot point requires that she doesn't, though she is always quick to correct that). However, I loved the supporting characters - David, Chuck, John, etc. - and I thought Susan Elia MacNeal did fairly well with the historical characters.Though it was obvious that the author did research, both books were rife with historical inaccuracies. I’m the sort of person that is easily bothered by something like that, particularly when a five minute google search can correct an inaccuracy. (view spoiler)[ For instance, there were no British fighters flying over Berlin in late 1940 (and it must be winter 1940 because of the Coventry raid); the earliest known flight was a reconnaissance flight in March 1941, and operations didn’t begin in earnest until 1943. What was John doing, then, flying a Spitfire over Berlin? How did he get through training in two months, anyway? The last book was late September and this is one is mid-November of 1940. (hide spoiler)]Perhaps because of the errors, I never got a really good feeling for the time and place the novels are set in. Wartime London never really comes alive for me. Time is compressed very oddly in these stories anyway. In the first book for example, we are in June in chapter one and then must be in late September in the next, because the bombing of London has started. The readers are never advised, either through placards before the chapters or in the text itself, that there is any sort of time change (though time is signposted more clearly in PES than MCS - the Coventry raid provides context to figure out when this is supposed to be happening).The editing is also kind of bizarre as well, though that’s been covered in other reviews, so I’ll leave it.These things bugged me while reading both books. I thought the author was actually pretty good and that Secretary was clearly a debut novel. There was a good story there and I thought the second book would get better. I tried to turn my brain off and enjoy a fluffy read. I originally thought both books were about three star range; enjoyable, not great, may read future books sort of level.But then, as I was progressing through the second book, I realized several plotlines were very familiar. A friend had just recommended the British TV series Foyle’s War on Netflix and I had just started watching it. The first episode deals with an older man who is married to a German immigrant. His wife is detained for possibly spying (the letter in the book and a photograph in the tv show) and dies of a heart attack while in the internment camp. His son, I think, goes to the local wealthy, powerful man in the show; Mr. Tooke goes to the King, and both are turned away. Both the son and Mr. Tooke remind the powerful man that an important person in their life is German, as well - the wealthy man’s second wife in the show and Lady Lily in the book. Both women are later killed gruesomely - decapitated by a piano wire strung between trees while out on their usual rides.The similarities do not stop there. The Detective Chief Superintendent called to the crime scene in both the book and the show is a middle-aged widower with a son serving in the military (Foyle’s son is in the RAF and Wilson’s is in the Royal Navy). They both served in WWI and tried to offer their services for the war effort during the current war, but were turned down. I was shocked reading it, as it was instantly recognizable to me and probably anyone that has seen the first episode of Foyle’s War. I googled it, and found that it seems the author not only did not properly attribute these borrowed plot points, she also borrowed another, even more important plot point from another TV show, down to some of the dialogue.It may not be out and out plagiarism, but what happened here is very, very close. I can’t give this book anything more than one star as a result. I certainly won’t be purchasing any further books in the series.

  • Love Fool
    2019-04-13 14:05

    Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed début, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain’s beloved royals against an international plot—one that could change the course of history. This is part 2 of a series. I wasn't aware of it when I bought it but that doesn't matter because you can read it without reading the first one, however I want to read the first one now! I love history, especially British history and add fiction, a hot British guy, and a tough woman and you get a great book. It was fun with a twist of mystery and romance. I read that they are going make a series out of this and that sounds amazing. On board 100%. Can't wait to read the whole series.

  • Ashleigh Hvinden
    2019-04-04 16:04

    Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read this book and it is nothing short of fantastic! I absolutely loved this book. I was absolutely saddened in the beginning by the twist of the novel in the first twenty pages but Mrs. MacNeal has an excellent way of sucking in readers and delivered what is a spectacular sequel! I squealed at the end it was so fantastic! Thank you, Mrs. MacNeal for writing something so wonderful! I cannot wait until the third novel!

  • Mara
    2019-03-24 09:05

    In my review of Winston Churchill's Secretary, the first of the Maggie Hope books, I said that the series showed promise as MacNeal settled into her talents as a writer. With this second installment, MacNeal is certainly starting to live up to that promise. Although some of the language is still a bit clunky (and there are far too many mentions of birds), the story itself flows much more smoothly than it did in the first book and MacNeal takes fewer shortcuts to get her characters in and out of situations.Newly installed with MI-5, Maggie Hope is placed at Windsor Castle at Christmas in 1940. Posing as Princess Elizabeth's math tutor, she is really there to ferret out a possible plot against the future queen's life. Descriptions of life at Windsor Castle during this period are well-done, and glimpses of historical personages are clearly well-researched. Once again, MacNeal does an excellent job bringing to life a fascinating aspect of Britain during WWII, while at the same time allowing Maggie to grow as a character and as a spy. I look forward to reading more!

  • Mahoghani 23
    2019-04-05 10:13

    Another handful of deceit, action-filled drama, malice and a woman to save the day. Very interesting and appears as if the author took her time and described scenes, acts and the people in great detail. There is no unbelievable, fairy-tale saves; just real live drama that keeps you on your toes trying to figure out who has the most to gain from treachery. Maggie has a new assignment; governess to Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Someone is trying to abduct Princess Elizabeth but how no one knows. Until the King & Queen of England decided to have a Christmas celebration at Windsor Castle. Who can you trust when everyone has an agenda?

  • Rebecca Lane Beittel
    2019-03-25 07:54

    I finished Princess Elizabeth's Spy. I read it as an ARC (advanced reader copy) and it is beyond excellent.If you are looking for an exciting, WWII, feminist story, with a look at a young Princess Elizabeth, read this novel.This story is filled with bits and bobs of detail, little kernels of knowledge that shows Susan Elia MacNeal's scholarship, reverence for history, and ability to weave a story about this fascinating era. We get an inside look at war-torn England, the upstairs/downstairs of Windsor Castle, the inner workings of MI-5 and the machinations of the spy industry in World War II Europe. This book sparkles with strong females - on both sides - in all walks of life, from the humblest Morse Code operator, to the future Queen of England. Maggie shows us that math IS for girls, that it is essential in the spy trade, and that just maybe, it can even save your life.

  • Kimberly
    2019-04-16 08:11

    This second book in the Maggie Hope series was not quite up to par with the first. I enjoyed it, but there were some sections that downright annoyed me. In this book, we see Maggie train to become a spy. She then moves on to protecting Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. The premise is that the ruling powers in Germany are planning to kill the King and kidnap the Princess in order to weaken England and open a window of opportunity for the Germans to invade. On a personal note, Maggie continues to dig into her father's history to try to uncover his past and get to know him better.The plot was intriguing and I enjoyed MacNeal's fictional characterizations of such historical figures as Winston Churchill and the royal family. I found the novel suspenseful and interesting, enough to keep me reading/listening. But around Chapters 19 and 20, Maggie, in her quest to find out about her father's earlier life, seems to become a somewhat petulant child. I could almost see her stamping her feet demanding to know things that were better left unknown, at least at that point in the story. I, too, would want to know about my father, but her manner just became so annoying that it kind of tainted the whole story. My review is 3 stars, but it's really more like 2.5 stars.

  • Barbara (The Bibliophage)
    2019-03-27 15:08

    2.5 starsI wish I could say I enjoyed this book as much as the first in the series. It just fell flat for me. I found myself doing a thousand other things before reading on. I decided not to bail, because things picked up just as I was considering it. At 80%. That's just too damn late in a book!I found quite a lot of small things annoying, but my biggest gripe is that the author wasn't subtle about any of the foreshadowing or clues in the early to middle part of the story. I've read enough mysteries to notice. I grew up with Anglophiles, and visited England and its castles as a kid. I confess that I've always wondered what it would be like to live in one. The author says, "Living at Windsor was like ‘camping in a museum,’" which didn't make it appealing. Unlike Downton Abbey, I didn't find the rituals or descriptions charming. Instead the people and the trappings of royalty were dull, dull, dull. It's not a spoiler to say that our heroine, Maggie Hope, is a trained (if green) agent. It is however a spoiler to say that she disregards the first rule of kidnapping at a key moment. Even I know that you never ever let the villains move you from the original location. If she truly had proper training or a better author, she would've put up a bigger fight. Instead she just kept hoping for rescue. I guess I just like my heroines more kick ass than Maggie. As the story progressed the author resorted to stereotypes instead of character development. For example, the Brits are always sniping at Maggie about her American accent or the way she uses silverware. There are more complex ways to make someone American than just incessantly repeating those.I also didn't feel like the portrayal of Maggie's friend David, who is gay, was appropriate and respectful. He's just a cardboard cutout with a "gay best friend" label in it. Truthfully, he's a good guy but again only a stereotype. However his tendency to use odd exclamations like "Merciful Minerva" is just annoying and nearly as hokey as saying "Jumping Jehoshaphat" like everybody's weird great aunt. Maggie is a mathematician. She says, “It was so much easier when it was just maths. You throw all these people into the mix—” I think that's what the author thought too. The code breaking sections are fun but limited. The people are just frustrating. Too frustrating to continue on with the series.

  • Andrea Guy
    2019-03-26 15:55

    I've been reading a lot of pre WWII cozy mysteries. Just a few days ago I posted the review for Elegy For Eddie and now there's Princess Elizabeth's Spy.This book is fabulous.I really loved the author's attention to detail in the historical aspect of the story. It was great to get a picture of Queen Elizabeth II in the days when she was just Princess Elizabeth.It is a historical novel of intrigue that touches on the cozy side, but Maggie Hope is a little more than your typical cozy mystery heroine. She wants to work for the MI-5. She's a brilliant woman. She knows math and code-breaking.There are 2 murders fairly quickly on that keep the story flowing as well as the intrigue that surrounds Maggie's father. There's also a little bit of a romance that tries to brew between Maggie and her handler Hugh, once she starts to become acclimated to the fact her fiancee perished in the war, when his plane went down.When reading this book, I felt like I was with the royal family. Even though this book is fictional, I feel the author portrayed the family well. I loved the interaction between Elizabeth and Margaret. It can't be easy writing about people that are still alive! It makes me wonder what Queen Elizabeth thinks of this novel!I can't wait til spring when the next book in the series comes out!

  • Cece
    2019-03-28 16:02

    The author provides an extensive list of references at the end of the book, although she misnames historian Carolly Erickson as Carollyn; however,this outing for Maggie Hope felt off historically (the age gap between the Princesses is exaggerated, ladies-in-waiting were not hanging about at Windsor, travel was not nearly as frequent, and even the King had to wait to have phone calls put through by an operator-no 'direct lines') incorrect as far as Royal family details (the Princesses called their father Papa, not Daddy and the corgi's name was Dookie, not Dukie), and completely unbelievable when it comes to plot, even for an espionage thriller. She does provide a caveat "This is a work of fiction..." but I firmly believe that when an author puts real people, places and events into a fictional book, the author is still obligated to accurately portray those people, places and events within the fictional shell.

  • Shannon
    2019-03-31 14:19

    I won an advance copy through a Random House drawing, and if possible, would give it 4.5 stars. Mr. Churchill's Secretary laid the groundwork, and Princess Elizabeth's Spy is where the series seems to be establishing its stride. It kept me up late reading for several nights, and is a strong choice for historical fiction and mystery fans - the author has done an amazing amount of research. (I have known Susan MacNeal for several years, and would expect nothing less than a thorough study of every possible historical angle from her.) Book #3 cannot come soon enough!

  • Laura
    2019-04-22 10:04

    Finally able to write a review! Maggie Hope is assigned to be a tutor for the young princess and she quickly realizes that this is hardly a fluff assignment. More than an hour math tutoring session will be needed for this mission!We read of smart women on both good and bad sides and we see that Princess Elizabeth is spunkier than we might have thought :-) The rest of my review can be found here.

  • Karen ⊰✿
    2019-03-24 15:17

    It has been almost 2 years since I read the first book, but someone recommended I continue the series because it improves, and I agree. The audio narration on this one was much better, but we also get a bit more into the characters and a longer storyline starts to develop.Naturally it ends with a cliffhanger, so I'll read the third book shortly!!!

  • Lisa
    2019-04-23 13:56

    In many ways, Princess Elizabeth's Spy was just as good as Mr. Churchill's Secretary, to which I gave a 4-star rating. But I had to deduct one star from my rating for this one because there is an entire plot line straight out of the TV show Alias (see Spoiler for more details), which was very distracting for me. Maggie Hope remains a great character, and I look forward to reading more in the series, but every time the Alias plot line cropped up, I felt jolted back into the 21st-century. (Also, it made me laugh. And reduced the suspense, since that plot line played out in exactly the same way that the Alias one did.)If you liked the first one, by all means read the second. And if you never watched Alias, then that plot line probably won't bother you at all! Or perhaps this particular plot line is an extremely common device in espionage novels, and I simply haven't read enough of them to recognize its universality.(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Random House!)(view spoiler)[Maggie Hope grows up believing that her parents died in a car accident when very young. In Mr. Churchill's Secretary, Maggie goes to visit her parents' graves and discovers that only her mother is buried there. Later in the book, she discovers that her father is still alive, working as a spy for the British government. So far, so good.In Princess Elizabeth's Spy, Maggie becomes a spy for the British government. She learns that her father was suspected of being a double agent decades ago, around the time of the car crash that killed her mother. Then she learns that some in the agency still believe that her father is a double agent. Her handler, a young man with whom she is developing an attraction, pulls her father's file for her to look at. In it is information about the investigation into dad's alleged treason, with some key pieces of information redacted. Then higher-ups decide that Maggie is too valuable an asset to be handled by such a junior agent, so they pull young attractive agent off the case and assign a more senior agent to be her handler. He meets with Maggie and is extremely condescending. Maggie tells the higher-ups that they will reassign her original handler back to her case or she will quit. Young attractive agent is promptly back in his position as Maggie's handler.Either Maggie or her (young attractive) handler discovers a newspaper report about the car accident, which says that there was another car involved. The driver of the other car was the MI-5 agent who was investigating her father as a possible double agent. Maggie concludes that her father was in fact a double agent, that he was fleeing the agent tailing him, and that it's therefore his fault that her mom died.Somewhere in there her father mails her a book that he had given to her mother as a gift long ago. After someone else spills a drink on the book, Maggie discovers a code hidden in the pages of the book. (In Alias, Francie spilled lemonade on Laura Bristow's book, which revealed the code that had been written in pencil and later erased. In Princess Elizabeth's Spy, Princess Elizabeth spills tea on Clare Hope's book, revealed the pinhole pricks scattered throughout the pages and encoding instructions. So, you know, totally different!) The code in the book includes the names of 3 British agents, all killed in the line of duty during the period when Maggie's father was suspected of working as a double agent. One of those three agents was the father of her handler. Her handler even gives her the same little speech about how there's a wall at the agency, and when an agent is killed in the line of duty, no one ever says how he died, they just put his name up on the wall, and when he became an agent, he saw that wall... and suddenly this 1940s British man had Michael Vaughn's voice in my head!So Sydney... I mean, Maggie... is convinced that her dad was a double agent, killed the father of her handler (and now possible love interest), and was responsible for her mother's death. Along the way, a shadowy German, referred to only as Commandant Hess, has emerged as the mastermind behind several daring plots, including the one to kidnap Princess Elizabeth. Meanwhile, higher-ups in MI-6 become aware of Maggie's suspicions and call a meeting involving Maggie, her handler, her father, and several higher-ups. They tell her that it wasn't her father who was a double agent, it was ... wait for it... her mother! Also, her mother didn't die in the car accident. She escaped and went back to Russia... I mean, Germany. And she is now known as The Man... I mean, Commandant Hess. One can only presume that in the next installment, Commandant Hess will somehow manage to shoot Maggie in the shoulder because it's the only way to save her life. (hide spoiler)]

  • Cathy Daniel
    2019-04-17 16:09

    Excellent , captivating writing just like the first. I didn't care for the romantic thread. I don't want to give too much away but I really didn't like how quickly Maggie moved on. I'll leave it at that. Reminding myself these aren't romance novels. Incredible, crazy twist at the end!

  • Cathy Cole
    2019-04-19 10:59

    First Line: The midday summer sun in Lisbon was dazzling and harsh.Adolph Hitler is determined to conquer England, and a plot is set in motion to get King George VI and his family out of the way so the much more amenable Duke and Duchess of Windsor can assume the throne. In the mean time Maggie Hope, recently promoted to MI-5 from Winston Churchill's secretarial pool, has washed out of the physical part of her training in Scotland. Sent back to London, she is dismayed when she learns that she's to go to Windsor Castle to be the math tutor to fourteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth-- until she's told of both the plot and the fact that the young royal's life may very well be in danger.Her first day in Windsor Castle doesn't bode well. The place is war-time austere with many of its furnishings and treasures packed away for safekeeping. The castle is huge, cold, damp and drafty with endless corridors that make getting lost easy. When Maggie finally finds the dining room that evening, she's given a dressing-down because she isn't properly attired, and the ladies-in-waiting who have the rooms closest to hers are a gossiping, judgmental lot.Fortunately the princesses are much easier to deal with, and Maggie does find a person or two with whom to become friends. She's going to need all the help she can get because hardly any time passes at all before it's very clear that someone does mean the royal family harm. Maggie needs every bit of her quick wits to protect her young charge.I really enjoyed the first Maggie Hope mystery, Mr. Churchill's Secretary, but this second book in the series grabbed me by the eyeglasses and wouldn't let me go until I'd turned the last page. Maggie still has her math smarts and quick mind for codes as well as her spirit. When standing her ground with her MI-5 superior or giving the dragon in the Windsor Castle dining room a piece of her mind or even when she tells her new handler what a waste of space he is, it's hard not to cheer aloud for a young woman who refuses to be treated as anything less than an equal.It was just as much fun to read about Maggie and her interactions with the young princesses: Margaret theatrical and a typical younger sister, and Elizabeth, serious and conscious of her future role in life, yet still a teenager writing letters to a certain young man serving in the Royal Navy-- Prince Philip of Greece.MacNeal has the knack of using real-life people as characters in her books and making them every bit as interesting as her fictional characters. There's nothing wooden or dusty or historical about Churchill or King George or the young princesses. Touring the corridors and dungeons of Windsor Castle is a treat, and so is seeing the ancient residence decked out for Christmas, but the best part of the book is the ending. Not everything about it is completely plausible, but it's so much fun that I don't really care. I refuse to say anything more except that I'd love to have Queen Elizabeth read Princess Elizabeth's Spy and let us know her thoughts about it!The last chapter of the book sets up the third book in this series perfectly, and I can't wait until it's published. Maggie Hope has shown herself to be one smart woman. When told she's a washout on the physical part of her training, she incorporates running and other strengthening exercises into her daily routine. However, she is a young woman, and-- unless it has something to do with codes and cyphers-- she tends to think with her heart instead of her head. Will she have learned anything after protecting Princess Elizabeth? Only time (and the next book) will tell!

  • Christal
    2019-04-15 12:08

    See this review and others like it at Badass Book Reviews!Princess Elizabeth’s Spy was even better than Mr. Churchill's Secretary! It had a quicker pace, a higher-stakes plot, and added more interesting characters. Susan Elia MacNeal has engaging, flowing prose and it is obvious that she has done her research about the time period. Her characters are all well-rounded and the events throughout the book come together beautifully to create an absolutely intriguing mystery. The tone and events in the book are very serious, but the dialogue and the quick pace keep this book a compelling read throughout.I love Maggie Hope; she doesn’t let anyone push her around. Here she finds herself surrounded by royalty and yet she still keeps her plucky, determined attitude. She doesn’t let anyone speak down to her and she knows her worth in every situation. My only (minor) complaint this time around was that she let herself get fixated on a suspect because of a personal dislike and ended up missing the real villain. I appreciated that Ms. MacNeal did have her realize this at the end of the novel, so I don’t think we will see Maggie making that mistake again.I enjoyed the central mystery this time around more than the one in the first book. I liked how personal the previous one was for Maggie, but this one felt very important and meaningful. Maggie really proved that she can handle herself and think well under pressure. I loved all the characters we met at Windsor Castle but I adored the little princesses. They were cute and believable without becoming too twee. Gregory was an incredibly sad character and, because of what happened to him in the war, leaves me with very conflicted feelings. It was great having Mr. Churchill back for a little bit and good to see David, Chuck, and Sarah again.Maggie learns much more about her family and her mother in this book. That plotline should be front and center in the next book, His Majesty's Hope, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. I don’t want to say much more about it because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. We learn why Maggie’s father has been so distant and why Fain tends to keep so much information from her. It was good to see Maggie finally put her foot down with him. She basically told him to tell her what she wanted to know or she would find out herself. Go Maggie!When Maggie begins her assignment at Windsor castle, she is assigned a handler – another agent named Hugh. I am conflicted with their relationship by the end of the book because of John. Poor, sweet John; his airplane was shot down over enemy territory and he is now missing, presumed dead. I do feel that it is Maggie’s right to move on with her life and I was starting to get behind the relationship and then the ending happened… Oh Ms. MacNeal, how could you do that! Needless to say, I cannot wait to read the next book in this series and will snap it up as soon as it is released.Thank you to Edelweiss and Bantam for providing an ARC copy of this book.

  • Bookworm1858
    2019-03-30 10:05

    4.5/5Earlier 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 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! END SPOILEROverall: 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.

  • Ron
    2019-03-27 14:09

    This is sad. Almost quit after 100 pages, but I was curious how MacNeal was going to wrap this up. Not well.First, this is not historical fiction so much as a parallel universe or alternate timeline. Yes, the events read like World War Two, but the people act and talk as if they are twenty-first century. Geography is off, too: in our world Winsor castle is twenty five miles west of London, in this book it’s between London and Berlin. Long distance direct dialing in 1940? The first RAF bombing attack on Berlin happened in December 1941, a year before one character supposedly flew his Spitfire over that city. Twenty minute cruise by surfaced sub to France when it’s not yet in sight? News cycle and police processing times based on current American television standard, let alone not wartime 1941.Interesting set up, following the series opener, references to which were handled discretely. Several interesting female characters, but most of the males are homosexuals, villains or cardboard cut-out English parodies. Churchill says, “All’s well that end’s well”? And HRH George VI (who stutters only three times in the entire book) says, “Jolly good show”?The plot suffered many gaps and short cuts. The story telling focused on architecture and clothes as much as the story. (That may be endemic to the genre.) BBC routinely broadcast news (“Shootout at Windsor Castle”) of war sensitive events as they happened? A character dies and her memorial service is scheduled before her body has cooled.Spoilers: (view spoiler)[The fumes of setting fire to your bedding on a submarine will kill you first. Escaping the brig on a U-boat down a passageway, up a ladder and out a hatch with no one seeing, not to mention stopping, you? U-boat on surface without watch on sail? (hide spoiler)]And the climax. A comic-book villain monologue explaining everything he’s done and why. Good thing because, despite all the hand-waving and too-easy-to-be-credible coincidences, the cops were nowhere near catching the robbers. Travelogue, catalog and monologue.Nice cover art.

  • Jaylia3
    2019-04-21 10:58

    I have been looking forward to reading this sequel since I finished Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, and I was not disappointed. With a skillful combination of evocative writing and detailed research, author Susan Elia MacNeal transports the reader into WWII Windsor Castle where antiquated dungeons now serve as air raid shelters for the royal family and staff. Using a knack for calculation and codes to do her part for the war effort, Maggie Hope is the same sensible, quietly passionate character she was in the last book, but she’s now battling Hitler undercover as Princess Elizabeth’s math tutor. Her real mission is to protect the princess and prevent the Nazi’s from maneuvering her uncle, the former King Edward VIII, back onto the throne. Maggie Hope is my favorite kind of character. Her brains, determination and good intentions coexist with human emotions and flaws in judgment, so she’s no superhero. In spite of her lack of god-like prowess, author NacNeal doesn’t cut Maggie any breaks. In order to do her job Maggie ends up deep in a heart-stopping predicament that will have tragic consequences and appears impossible to solve until Maggie figures out a potential but dangerous solution. Maggie is also dealing with uncertainty and heartache because her not-quite fiancée is missing in action and presumed but not known to be dead. Still, life goes on, and the British stiff upper lip means the characters manage to find joy, pride and pleasure even in unlikely circumstances. Along the way Maggie discovers some startling new information about her parents, we’re set up to learn more about this in the next book, and the reader discovers that even as a young girl Elizabeth has a thing for those cute but snappy short-legged Welsh corgis. I believe Princess Elizabeth’s Spy could be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but its predecessor provides more background and is wonderful reading itself so I’d recommend starting there.

  • Carol
    2019-03-26 08:18

    Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeil was so very good there is no way that I can write a review to do it justice. It is the perfect marriage of historical fiction of World II and a delectable mystery. I loved peeking in the Prime Minister’s life and the future Queen Elizabeth’s. Each time that I sat down with this book, I knew I would that I would be entertained and learn some history at the same time.The book even has a little bit devoted to reading codes and some history behind them. I have alwayed loved to read about code breaking and the necessary secrecy surrounding it.Maggie Hope, the main character has been in a previous book; Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and will be in a future book, His Majesty’s Hope. I want to read all the Maggie Hope books. She is strong, spunky, sharp at math and human. She has been assigned to be math tutor to Princess Elizabeth publicly but also to be a sponge for what is going on in Windsor castle. She makes mistakes but really shines in crisis. Windsor Castle with its underground tunnels is vividly described as are all the characters in this book. You can bet that this castle is now on my list of what I want to see when I finally go to the U.K. Princess Elizabeth’s Spy was a perfect dip into history. Susan Elia MacNeil makes the Princesses Lila Beth (short for Elizabeth) and Margaret seem so real, mischievous, have a great sense of humor and already possess a stiff upper lip. Even the controversial Duke and Duchess of Windsor were in this book.I highly recommend this enchanting book to all historical fiction and mystery fans.I received this book as a part of the Amazon Vine program and that in no way influenced this review. My thoughts are my own.

  • Judy Alter
    2019-04-02 10:21

    I have become really enam0red of Susan Elia MacNeal's WWII mysteries, first Mr. Churchhill's Secretary and now Princess Elizabeth's Spy. The first, as I said in an earlier review, is set during the gathering storm, when England still hoped it could pacify Germany and Winston Churchill knew it couldn't. With Princess Elizabeth's Spy, MacNeal moves further into the war, with the devastating bombing of England's major cities. Maggie Hope, frustrated mathematician turn spy for Prime Minister Churchill, is sent to Windsor Castle, where the royal princesses--Elizabeth (then known as Lilibet, now the English monarch) and her sister, Margaret, have been sent for safety. Ostensibly, Maggie is to teach Lilibet "maths"; more practically, she is to scout out threats to the Princess, for Germany would like nothing better than to kill the King, capture the heir-to-the-throne Princes, and return German sympathizers the banished Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson to the throne.MacNeal's research is thorough, and she does a strong job with the history and atmosphere of the times, but as she stresses this is fiction. Two murders and a confusing array of characters leave Maggie uncertain of whom to trust...and she places her trust in the wrong person, leading to disaster for herself and Lilibet.No doubt the princess was in danger during those years, though the disaster that she wanders into (partly through her own wilfullness) is an invention of MacNeals imagination. But a great invention that will have you biting your fingernails.I recommend this series highly and can't wait for the next volume. There's a major surprise at the end of this one and a hint that Maggie's next adventure will take her behind enemy lines.

  • Staci
    2019-04-18 14:17

    I am once again hooked on historical fiction and it's all Susan Elia Macneal's fault! I absolutely loved everything about this book. The characters, the setting, and the entire story was so much fun and it felt so realistic that I have conjured up actual images for each person in this book. Susan does a fantastic job of transporting the reader back in time to World War II. I enjoyed roaming around Windsor Castle and meeting the young Princess Elizabeth. So many of the books that I've read regarding WWII have taken place in Germany and centered upon the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. This book (series) gives the reader a peek into what life may have been like for the English, and an interesting view of Winston Churchill's office and the man himself. I am very intrigued by the spies from this era and the work that they did without the use of computers!! Susan's books have piqued my interest into Churchill, MI5, spies, Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth and life in England during the war.Recommend? YES! I can't get enough of Maggie Hope and can't wait for book three to be released in 2013. For those that love a good mystery, smart and feisty heroines, and historical fiction, this is a winning series to pick up!Disclaimer: Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.Review Book #32© 2012, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.