Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-
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.
Series Reading Order:
1. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
2. Princess Elizabeth’s Spy
3. His Majesty’s Hope (Expected publication: April 2nd 2013)
Thank you to Edelweiss and Bantam Books for a review copy of this book.
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