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5.0 out of 5 starsWell written and engaging right to the end
Reviewed in Canada on July 11, 2020
The writer is a consummate story teller. And if you haven't read the earlier books she is able to fill you in with sufficient information so you know what has gone on before. I have followed the series and this is the last that has been written!
The subject of this was so dark and distressing that I am seriously questioning whether to ever read another MacNeal book - although the next one is set in Hollywood. Unless you enjoy gruesome, this is not for you.
I loved this series in the beginning. Code breaking, intelligence, spies, etc. I loved Maggie, an American in Britain, making friends, doing her part. I loved having her meet historical characters, like Churchill and the royal family. The last few books have taken a very dark turn. This one was a horror novel, with two final chapters of moral preening. Maggie has turned into someone I don't like much and it's not really about the war anymore. The next one sounds like it will set in the U.S. again, and the first one in the US was an insulting mess. So sadly this is the end for me.
Reviewed in the United States on February 29, 2020
Once again, although I really like the stories, I am put off by the use of words not used by the Brits at that time, and wonder if it's written for Americans? For example, Oatmeal is known as porridge, The Nightingale School for Nursing was still with St. Thomas's Hospital until 1991 (I think) not part of King's College Hospital. There was no Enquirer (as in National Enquirer-style), the Daily Mirror would have been more likely, and so on. So it's fine for American readers who don't really want to know how the Brits spoke/speak. but it through me off (like an easier reviewer).
I was so thrilled when I saw that another Maggie Hope book was available. I had so enjoyed past books and her character. This is a whole new ball game. It is over half way through this good sized book-before you get some sense of the original character. The changes in Maggie can make sense--and probably did happen in Europe as so many did so much to try to save their country.But this is not the book you thought you were next reading. Eventually some of the Maggie character kind of -sort of-emerges--and plot is somewhat more like the book you thought you were going to read. But this is not the Maggie Hope you had followed . No idea if more is to come.
5.0 out of 5 starsA step back into a dark time. Engrossing reading.
Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2020
I've loved this series from Susan Elia MacNeal since the first book, Mr Churchill's Secretary, because the author does such a great job of conveying the day-to-day details of life in wartime London. From women's fashion-and-makeup alternatives to the exhaustion of living in a beloved city destroyed by the Blitz... well, it's always captured a sense of humanity. As well as presenting the mystery or espionage tale-at-hand, of course. As a result, the Maggie Hope books have always gone onto my Amazon pre-order list as soon as they become available.
This book in the series is equal to the previous ones... though I should warn you that Maggie is in a dark place. After the events of the last book, she has sworn off all the secret-agent stuff and chose a profession that helps her "do her bit" with a clearer sense of right-and-wrong: defusing unexploded bombs. Maggie is rather an unexploded bomb herself, at this point, doing her best to mask her feelings from herself with the help of gin and a fast motorcycle. But, despite her protestations that she's DONE WITH ALL THAT, Maggie finds herself involved in the investigation of a stolen violin... and another batch of murders.
It's impossible to give away much more without spoilers, but I can assure you that the author keeps you guessing.
This book won't cheer you up about the state of the world. It's rather a sad reminder of just how long things went on, with so much uncertainty, and too many Bad People taking advantage. But you should start with the first book in any case.
I’ve enjoyed this author and loved all her Maggie Hope novels. However, this one is nothing but violence, killing, and death like so many others on the market. It was all I could do to finish it, and I certainly do not recommended it. As an RN, I was also very surprised to see so many glaring mistakes. Additionally, there was absolutely no reason for Maggie’s bad habits in this very dark story despite her recent past.