Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge: Adult – The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal

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The Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge was Adult for July so we decided on a historical mystery that was definitely meant for adult readers! Christal has loved the Maggie Hope Mystery series from the very beginning but now AH is a convert too. Read on to see why we think you should give this series a try.

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1 The Prime Minister's Secret AgentThe Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal
Book #4 in A Maggie Hope Mystery
Genres: Adult Historical Mystery
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Bantam

Synopsis from Goodreads: World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.

AH and Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+

The Maggie Hope Mystery series takes us back to WWII and weaves some history learning into fascinating mystery plots.  Maggie Hope is a British-born, American-raised young woman trying to do her part to help England in the war effort.  Everything hasn’t been sunshine and roses for Maggie and this book, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, finds her in Scotland as an instructor and being haunted by her black dog — depression.  AH and I really enjoyed this book; read on to see why!

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AH – OK Christal, why didn’t you tell me to read this series before? I really liked this book. I could not put this book down.

Christal – I’ve mentioned this series before — y’all just didn’t listen to me! It’s fabulous though, right? I love Maggie.

AH – I think that I have a soft spot for strong female characters, especially when it comes to stories about women in WWII. Add in some sleuthing and I’m a happy camper.

Christal – Maggie is a very strong character, even after everything she’s been through in the previous books. Actually, the whole cast of these novels in very strong and I love that no one goes forgotten. Everyone pops back up now and then.

AH – The reference to Commander Ian Fleming at the beginning of the book surprised me. That to me, added some authenticity to this book. And get this – he asks for a martini – shaken, not stirred! Loved it! It really set the tone for the novel and the time frame.

Christal – Oh yes, there are several “real people” cameos in these books and they are always great. Some are a little more “wink wink nudge nudge” than others, like the Fleming. Perfect!

AH – I loved how the story was told with the backdrop of the historical events leading up to the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The details of this period fascinate me. It’s really hard to imagine for us modern-day folk used to instant messaging just how much time and effort went into getting messages around. Microdots? The Enigma machine? Shuttle diplomacy across the ocean? Incredible.

Christal – Most definitely! I have had the chance to interview Susan Elia MacNeal and she does a ton of research for these books. People, places, and events that I have never even heard of show up and it becomes a jumping off point for me to go and do my own research.

AH – I didn’t read the earlier books so I didn’t have all of Maggie’s background. The author did a good job of recapping, so don’t feel that you absolutely need to read the series in order. If you do, I’m sure that you will pick up on some things that I missed like Maggie’s obsession with keeping The Black Dog away.

Christal – The recaps in this series are pretty good, but I do think you miss something without all the background information. Maggie is already very different from the girl in the first book so I think the books are richer when you have that history with her.

AH – Maggie was a fascinating character. She would make an awesome CSI agent. I loved her tenacity and her attention to details. I liked how her mind never stopped analyzing details, like when she found the dead sheep and how she was able to solve a murder mystery as well.

Christal – Definitely, she has matured and changed throughout these books and is finally starting to realize the severe outcomes some of her choices may have. She’s becoming more accountable to herself and others and is thinking things through more. Of course she’s not against a good “winging it,” but I think she is starting to have more personal accountability for her mission and her love for both England and America.

AH – What did you think of K? Sounds like a very good secret agent name, but K was Maggie’s cat. Or maybe Maggie was K’s pet, who knows? A toilet-trained cat? Who knew something like that existed?

Christal – I loved K and I think he was the perfect companion for Maggie at that point in her life.

AH – What did you think of Clara? Were those multiple personalities a ploy to get out of her predicament?

Christal – I do not trust Maggie’s mother farther than I could throw her. I think the personalities were probably faked, but I am much more interested in learning about her relationship with Peter Frain. I am interested in the book Ms. MacNeal used for research into alleged mind control though, The Control of Candy Jones by Donald Bain.

AH – Overall, this is a solid book in the series and I can’t wait to go back and read the rest of the books.

Christal – I’m glad you enjoyed this book and I do hope you get to read the others. I’m looking forward to Maggie being back on American soil in the next book and hopefully being introduced to her aunt finally!

Be sure to join us next month for our paranormal read!

AH and Christal’s Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Best of Historical

Series Reading Order:
1. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
2. Princess Elizabeth’s Spy
3. His Majesty’s Hope
4. The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent

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Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge Schedule:

January – Young Adult checkmark
February – Contemporary checkmark
March – Urban Fantasy checkmark
April – Middle Grade checkmark
May – Dystopian checkmark
June – High Fantasy checkmark
July – Adult
August – Paranormal
September – Romance
October – Sci-Fi
November – Historical Fiction
December – New Adult

 

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