In this latest riveting mystery from New York Times best-selling author Susan Elia MacNeal, England's most daring spy, Maggie Hope, travels across the pond to America, where a looming scandal poses a grave threat to the White House and the Allied cause.
December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, DC, along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States' entry into World War II. When one of the first lady's aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt's inner circle - as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.
©2015 Susan Elia MacNeal (P)2015 Random House Audio
"RACIST AND INSULTING TO BLACK AMERICANS"
I haven't read the preceding books in this series but this one is just awful! The author has chosen a subject - racism in America - which she lacks knowledge and sensitivity. Her depiction of blacks during the World War II era is appalling. In a purely literary sense,I really tried to get past it because the story plot began in such an interesting way. But the author made me feel really uncomfortable. It takes a lot to upset me when it comes to literary license. I fought to have Audible allow reviewers to use the word "nigger" instead of the really outrageous "n-word" if the term is in the book reviewed and does not insult or degrade. I embrace realism in literature. One cannot read a fictional account about slavery and believe that we were referred to as "African Americans". There are instances in which being "politically correct" makes no sense. However, this author stepped over the line in this book, showing a marked level of insensitivity to blacks, Jews, and other minorities and nationalities. I can't speak for the others in any degree of depth, but I can tell you how this book affected ME as a black American.
Much of the book takes place in Washington DC, where I was born and raised. Her depiction of black Washingtonians was way off. She had the black employees in the White House acting like slaves. I was stunned by the way Winston Churchill talked to the main White House steward. This was 1941 but the white people act like it was 1861!!!
Just in general, the author tried to pack in every famous living person of that time, from the Kennedys to Josephine Baker to Ernest Hemingway. The storyline got bogged down in name-dropping after a while. And while I normally enjoy this narrator, she is not suited to acting out such distinctive voices as FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt and Churchill. It was a really painful listen.
I am descended from free people of color who have lived and worked in Washington since BEFORE the Civil War. Susan MacNeal's story enraged and insulted me and my ancestors, some of whom helped to build the White House and Capitol Building. This book would have been better if the author hadn't tried to include every ounce of our struggle and our history into a storyline that we didn't even need to be included. It is a walk that she has never taken. She took our history too lightly, making us look like minstrel caricatures. MacNeal should be ashamed to release such a racist and insulting book in 2015.
I have listened to and enjoyed other books in this series. This book however, is not up to the standards of the previous books. First of all, the narration is difficult to listen to - the names of places and people are mispronounced, the narrator has the irritating habit of changing the cadence of her speech at the end of sentences - sometimes seems that she is out of breath. The accents seem forced and exagerated.
More disturbing is the language used to describe African Americans - I doubt that Elinore Rooseveldt ever used the term "darkie" to describe a black person. i know that the book has been well reviewed- but I dissagree.
Prior books in the series more interesting
I read the first few books in this series and enjoyed them but somehow forgot about the series, glad I came across it again. Soon after Peal harbor, Winston Churchill and special Agent and code breaker Maggie Hope, posing as his typist arrive at the White House. One of the First Lady’s aides is mysteriously murdered. Eleanor and Maggie investigate and uncover a conspiracy that could jeopardize the War effort.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. What I like about MacNeal is the historical detail she puts into her story. There are multiple plotlines and points of view which allows the reader to easily follow the action. How could I not like this book, it contains my two favorite people Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt. This book sort of reminded me of the Elliott Roosevelt series of murder mysteries featuring Eleanor Roosevelt.
Susan Duerden did an excellent job narrating the story. I was impressed with her narrating ability when I listened to “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” book. She brought that book to life as she did with this current book..
"narration is distracting."
I don't care for this narrator's style. the tone is too preachy. I was disappointed.
I would purchase the print version only because I want the entire collection but this was not one of my favorites of the series.
Not as intense as her previous plots
"Please find a different narrator!"
The narrator is utterly distracting. The storyline is good but I found myself: turning off the book when anyone else was around because they immediately commented on the ridiculous and annoying voice; becoming so distracted by the voice characteristics that I would realize I hadn't heard any of the story and needed to go back and play again; and repeatedly wondering if I'd ever heard anyone speak in that manner in my entire life.
I am a fan of this series and while I appreciate that the narrator may be great in other books, she is a good fit with this one. I am very disappointed that Ms. McNeal has not returned to the original reader. I feel like I've read quite a lot of bad reviews of this narrator and I don't understand why she is continuing to read each book in the series.
No way could I make it through more than 30 minutes at a time with that voice. I normally listen to audiobooks for hours on end.
"I'M HOOKED ON THE MAGGIE HOPE SERIES"
I enjoy the personalities and settings of these books. I have recommended this series to several of my friends - they enjoy them as much as I do.
The failed execution.
I appreciate the accent. It just makes the story more real.
I had several smiling moments - but I listen while driving so need to stay focused on the road!
"A little over the top this time"
I like this series but this one is a little too dramatic and too preachy. It's okay but not as good as the others in the series. And I really don't care for the narrator.
"Could have been better"
First of all, I don't care for the way the narrator reads these books. I've enjoyed her work in other books but here her portrayal of Maggie is too "breathless" for lack of a better word. I hate to review a book based on the narrator. It's a bit unfair to the author and her work. But it's an overriding factor in an audio edition.
That said, I had high hopes for this. After the previous book seemed to transition us from its preceding book to this one , I was sure this would be a great story. It really wasn't. Sure, it was interesting enough. I'm annoyed by the way Maggie's choices with the men in her life go. By the way, where is Hugh? The only reason I read this was to see what was happening with the characters. And now we have Tom thrown in the mix.
Finally, there always seems to be at least one "fact" that is incongruous. The death row prisoner talks about the possibility of becoming like a kamikaze pilot. This was 1941. I don't believe they were around until 1944-45.
And I just found out there are author's notes at the end of these books. I wish they were included with the audible editions.
"hard to get past the inconsistencies"
I struggled to finish this book. There were multiple inconsistencies and the story was terribly unbelievable at times. I love Maggie Hope mysteries, but this one lacked finesse.
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