Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Maggie Hope Series #5)

Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Maggie Hope Series #5)

by Susan Elia MacNeal


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this riveting mystery from 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, D.C., 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.

Praise for Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante
“MacNeal paints an engrossing portrait of a country on the verge of war, with many laws suspended and prejudice rife—a world not that much different from today.”Kirkus Reviews
“MacNeal’s fifth Maggie Hope mystery is another solidly researched entry with the indomitable Maggie in top form.”Booklist
“Another winner filled both with fact and marvelous fiction . . . Maggie is a wonderful character with the strength and determination, as well as intelligence, to make her a resourceful spy.”RT Book Reviews
“MacNeal’s images and characters are true to the time, and the resonance of several of the subplots with current events deepen the impact of the tale; MacNeal is to be commended for her skillful weaving of racial and gender issues into an already complex political picture. . . . There’s a tremendous amount of world and U.S. history in this delightful volume.”Historical Novels Review
“Addictive . . . [MacNeal] paints convincing portraitures of the Roosevelts and other real-life historical figures. . . . The author continues to tackle heady issues while giving us a beloved heroine to root for. Wrought with peril and tension and extraordinarily rich in detail and research, Hope’s latest adventure will not disappoint fans of the series.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance–Star

Praise for the bestselling Maggie Hope mysteries

“You’ll be [Maggie Hope’s] loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“[A] stellar series.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A treat for WWII buffs and mystery lovers alike.”Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804178709
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/27/2015
Series: Maggie Hope Series , #5
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 129,917
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal is the Barry Award–winning and Edgar, Dilys, and Macavity Award–nominated author of the Maggie Hope mysteries, including Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, and The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and child.

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Chapter One

Excerpted from "Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante"
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Copyright © 2015 Susan Elia MacNeal.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Maggie Hope Series #5) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Maggie’s Return Home is a Disappointment As the book opens, Maggie has rejoined the Prime Minister’s staff, ostensibly as his secretary, but with the idea that she can use her training as a spy if anything were to happen while Churchill and his entourage are in Washington DC for his meetings with new ally President Roosevelt and the two leaders work on a strategy to defeat the Axis. And it’s a good thing that Maggie comes along, too. The day they arrive, Mrs. Roosevelt’s personal secretary never arrives to work. When Mrs. Roosevelt and Maggie go to her home, they find her lifeless body – an apparent suicide. However, Maggie finds a clue that implicates the First Lady. A scandal could disrupt the fledging alliance between the two countries and derail the war effort. Can Maggie learn the truth? These books have always been written in third person from multiple points of view. At times, that has been used to help enhance the suspense as we know what the villain is up to even if Maggie is still unaware. It has also been used to include some sub-plots that slow things down. Sadly, that’s the case here big time. While most of the action takes place in DC and the surrounding areas, we get a good chunk that takes place in England and even some in Germany. Then, late in the book, a new location is introduced as well. None of these add to the mystery at all. They do cover some of the other historical things happening in the war effort at the time and advance a couple of supporting character’s story arcs, but they detract from the mystery. Not that the mystery is that great either. Between the other storylines and the scenes that are just bringing history to life, we can go pages at a time without Maggie (or us) even thinking about it. The solution is rather abrupt as well. I’m not saying we didn’t see it coming thanks to third person scenes from the villain’s point of view, but Maggie makes some pretty wild leaps. Really, the mystery, the things we are supposed to be reading this book for, is a sub-plot at best behind watching history unfold. In the last book, we got some major character development that really enhanced Maggie. I loved watching that. In this book? All the characters were flat, although a few of them were annoying when they weren’t flat. I was hoping that the awesome character growth would continue here, but it was not to be. Finally, there are the lectures. While there have been aspects in the past that were obviously aimed at advancing modern agendas, it was never as blatant as it was here. The author never misses an opportunity to denounce the civil rights of the era (even saying Hitler took ideas on how to treat the Jews from segregation in the US), women’s rights, imperialism, and capital punishment. There are a few scenes that are characters talking about these issues while other times it’s just a pointless dig here or there. I don’t read fiction to be lectured to. In fact, if I wanted to see pointless debates on these issues, I’d go on Facebook. Worse yet is what these scenes do to a character I liked in previous books. I’m not saying that things were great in America during this time period, but the blatant lectures in a book of fiction were a real turn off. I think I’m so disappointed because I’d enjoyed the series so much and was looking forward to this new one. Sadly, only the most diehard fans of the series need to consider reading Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confident.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal is the fifth book in the Maggie Hope Mystery series. Maggie Hope is traveling with Prime Minister Winston Churchill as his typist. At least that is the official story. Unofficially, she is on assignment (she is spy). Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt mentions that she is worried about her secretary, Blanche Balfour. Blanche failed to show up for work or to call. Churchill asks Maggie to assist the First Lady. They go to Blanche’s apartment and find her dead in the tub. It looks like a suicide. Maggie quickly hustles Mrs. Roosevelt out of the apartment (after snagging a tablet) and anonymously calls the police (something you could still do in the 40’s). Someone had written a note, but it was missing. Maggie was able to use a pencil and see what was written. The contents of the note would compromise Mrs. Roosevelt (and ruin what Churchill and FDR are trying to accomplish). Churchill assigns Maggie to the First Lady to investigate what really happened to Blanche. Wendell Cotton is a (African-American) man on death row at Thomas Jefferson Prison in Virginia. Many people that Mr. Cotton did not get a fair trial including Mrs. Roosevelt. Eleanor is working with Andrea Martin from the Workers Defense League to get Wendell a retrial. Someone is trying to keep Mrs. Roosevelt quiet. Will Maggie be able to find out who in time? There is too much going on in Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante. It is at the beginning of World War II for the United States. We have a murder, the war, the US, the British, the Germans, prisoners of war, and rockets (I only gave a brief synopsis and focused on the mystery). There are many characters and it is extremely difficult to keep them all straight (maybe when I was younger). I found the novel hard to get through. I found the mystery simple to solve (much to my disappointment). I have not read any other books in this series (and I am not likely to either). Maybe if I had read the other books, I would understand the series better. The novel is left unfinished. We have to wait until the next book to find out about the rockets and the missing German prisoner. I give Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante 3 out of 5 stars. Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante was just not the novel for me. I received a complimentary copy of Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this story. Almost felt like I was there love Maggie Hope!!
prussblue10 More than 1 year ago
I was surprised that this volume did not have the great number of errors as some others in the series earlier titles to include things that did not exist during the periods covered (I use the plural as in some she goes back to WWI as well as the inter-war period). It was a change! In one of the previous books in the series, her publisher allowed her to denigrate readers in print, and at length, for correcting errors that had appeared in a prior book (they wrote to her in private but she denigrated them in public). The author considers what most would call errors as being 'artistic license' as stated by her. She has bragged in the past at how much lengthy research she did, not to mention travels, in preparation for writing. If that were the case, why the gross inaccuracies and errors? She must have had help with this title as the errors were not so apparent. Yet, fairly early on in the story, she has a character speaking of Kamikazes. That was a couple of weeks after Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941). The Japanese aggressors were on the offensive and quickly gaining ground all over the Pacific. Kamikaze didn't come into the English lexicon until late in 1944 when the Japanese were on the defensive and were motivated to use 'suicide pilots,' Kamikazes. If you take the time to read the author's historical notes, she begins with, "This is a novel. It is a work of fiction. If you want to read history, I suggest reading a nonfiction book or, better still, a library of them." Is it me or are her words towards readers 'snarky' at best? She goes on the say, "However, in the course of writing this book, I consulted 'many' nonfiction books and documentaries, and I'm delighted to share my reading and watching list." She then proceeds to 'share' almost four (4) pages of her reference works which she claims to have made use of in the writing of this 'fictional' novel. OK, I concur that the novel is a work of fiction but it is 'historical fiction.' She took a time period and events in history and then wrote a fictional story associated with the historical period. I know a few 'historical fiction' writers of good repute. They take the history (one uses primary sources in the majority (also called original source or evidence) for citation) and then weave plausible tales within the given historical period framework. They do not insert things that do not belong to the time period they are writing in or create things that did not exist then. Some good authors take abuse from readers that is not earned, e.g. someone didn't like the cover art of a book (most often not an author issue) and gave the book '1 Star' -- for the cover art and not the content of the book , but I don't see any of them denigrating their readers such as this author has. Authors, including really good ones, are making less and less (do a search of the statistics both here and abroad, e.g. U.K.); some can barely survive on their income from books which continues to dwindle. How this author can have the attitude that she has toward readers, and how the publisher permits it in print, is beyond my understanding. I will continue to save good reviews for what I consider to be good authors who didn't work in the publishing business.
booksNartNmusic More than 1 year ago
This book was delightful light reading. An excellent cozy.
booksNartNmusic More than 1 year ago
This book was delightful light reading. An excellent cozy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
I continue to be impressed and amazed by this author. She, obviously, does extensive historic research for the time, place, and people. She also crafts an engaging story-line with those elements. The characters are people I want to know, to follow their lives. The plot is irresistible. I finished the book feeling that I had much better grasp of who these historical and purely fictional people were and their place in history. And it is an exciting and enjoyable read. I highly recommend this and all of her books.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
After watching the tv version of Peggy Carter last winter, I feel I have a better idea of how well-trained Maggie is and what she's really up against in a male-dominated career. Only two weeks after the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor, Maggie accompanies Churchill and his contingency on a trip to Washington DC, to show solidarity with FDR and the Americans as they enter the war. When Eleanor Roosevelt’s secretary is first missing, then found dead, Churchill loans out Maggie as a multi-faceted replacement. This installment doesn’t encompass very much in terms of time—by New Year’s the story is done, but McNeal covers a lot of territory, including the role of Hollywood propaganda and how the South was only partially willing to come together against a common enemy. Many in the South weren’t fans of the socially liberal FDR, and the storyline about a young black man on death row certainly seemed ripped from the headlines.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this latest book in the Maggie Hope series. I loved the fact that she was back on American soil. It is a bit crazy all the things that happen to her in such a short amount of time ... but that's why you read books. To get transported and to buy into the story. I loved it. Definitely worth the wait!
SusanKC More than 1 year ago
Loved it! This is the first book in this series that I have read. I received an ERC from the publisher in a Goodreads giveaway. Even though I jumped into this series late, I was able to enjoy this story. Maggie Hope accompanies Winston Churchill to America in December 1941. While working on the prime minister's staff, it is clear that Maggie is more than just a secretary for the prime minister. After Mrs. Roosevelt's missing secretary is found dead, Eleanor asks Maggie's help in discovering what happened to her. There are many twists of plot as the author includes more than one storyline. Mrs. Roosevelt is trying to help a poor sharecropper who is sentenced to the electric chair. Another member of the prime minister's staff is drawn into the entertainment capital of Hollywood as a means to promote the Allied cause. MacNeal masterfully weaves rich historical detail into her WWII mystery. Throughout it all, Maggie seems to become confident with her role in this time of uncertainty. I will definitely be reading the earlier books in this series!
Muttcafe More than 1 year ago
In December 1941, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington to meet with President Roosevelt. Maggie Hope plays a unique role in Winston Churchill's retinue. Posing as a secretary, she is in a special agent working for the British government. When one of Eleanor Roosevelt's aides is discovered murdered and a plot to discredit the First Lady is revealed, it is up to Maggie to investigate and keep things quiet. Any hint of a scandal could threaten the fragile negotiations between the two powers. Also in the balance is the life of a young African American who is to be executed by the state of Virginia. There is a notable outcry because he was not tried by a jury of his peers. The heavy racism of the time, and the oppression of the Jim Crow laws is posed in parallel with the nazi persecution of the Jews. As Maggie quickly discovers, justice is not black and white, and politics is a dirty business, especially for a spy. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante is a well written historical mystery. While it is fiction, Susan MacNeal spent a great deal of time researching her topic. It shows in her immersive writing. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante brings the America of 1941 to life in an exciting way. 5/5 I received a copy of Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review. --Crittermom
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I don't know why, but I just love books about World War II. And this one fit the bill. While it was mostly centered in the U.S. with the meetings between Roosevelt and Churchill. There were also some scenes from England and a couple from Germany. At first, I was a little upset when they had high up German officials in a prison that had every luxury they could want until I figured out they were bugged and trying to get any and all information they could from them. Then I settled down and I was okay with it. HA! While a lot of this was fiction, some of it was not fiction and some of it was fiction based on non fiction. The author tells you in the back of the book what is real and what is not. I definitely enjoyed reading this book although I did get confused thinking that Byrd was the dude in the fedora, not Cole, but I figured that out towards the end when the author spelled it out for me. Sometimes I'm a little slow. However, I was thoroughly entertained and definitely recommend this book. If your into mysteries with a little drama and history, this will certainly be up your alley. There's even a little Hollywood glamour in this and Walt Disney makes an appearance, believe it or not. Thanks Random House and Net Galley for providing a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago