Reviewed by Deborah Carr
It is 1940 and Maggie Hope is an American living in London. Despite her intentions to sell the rundown, but once grand house her English grandmother left to her and leave as soon as possible, Maggie discovers that it isn't the best time to try and sell. She takes in lodgers from all walks of life, including a beautiful ballerina, and slowly learns to love the city where air-raid sirens and expecting the unexpected seems part of daily life. She has begun to make friends and has no intention of returning to Boston and the aunt who brought her up. Maggie is brilliant at mathmatical puzzles, but because she is a woman the highest job she can expect to be given is as one of the typists at No 10 Downing Street. She is excited to be sent to take dictation from Mr Churchill and through her work encounters top secret information that ends up putting various lives in danger.
Maggie has a mysterious past, but we're not sure exactly how complicated her life is until she inadvertently becomes embroiled in incidents that put both her life and those of others, including Mr Churchill, in danger. The more she delves into the intrigue around her, the deeper she becomes submerged in something that she struggles to cope with and which makes her realize that she has a lot to learn, not least about her own family.
Mr Churchill’s Secretary intrigued me from the first few pages. The author has obviously done a lot of research of this period and the book is well-written. AIthough I was a little confused at times with the characters and had to double-check who was who on occasion, I did enjoy the unexpected twists and clever aspects in the story, especially later on in the book. I've always been intrigued by Bletchley Park and spies and loved entering the world of secret agents and code-breaking and although I found there was a too much description at times, I enjoyed the story very much. Mr Churchill's Secretary is the first in a series of books and I look forward to reading the rest.