Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal
Bantam, 2015. Trade paperback, 337 pages.
To start, I hated waiting seventeen months from the fourth book in this series to this title last fall! As long-time readers may know I’ve reviewed the first four books in this series (1-3 and 4) and Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante is the fifth book. With the sixth title, The Queen’s Accomplice (which is previewed at the end of this novel) coming out next week (October 4th), I thought it may be a good time to finally post this review.
In this novel, Maggie Hope returns to the service of Mr. Churchill as he travels to Washington, D.C. in December, 1941. To most, she is again his typist. To Churchill’s staff, including Maggie’s friend David Green and her beau John Sterling, she is still the Prime Minister’s secret agent. It is up to Maggie to fulfill many roles, including filling in for Mrs. Roosevelt’s secretary while in D.C.; serving as the Prime Minister’s “Americanisms interpreter;” and trying to save a newly-born alliance.
This time, Maggie investigates the murder of Mrs. Roosevelt’s back-up secretary, Blanche Balfour. While it seems like simple suicide, Maggie knows better and must find the killer as the murder may be linked to a plot against the Roosevelts. It may also tied to a race-based trial case that Mrs. Roosevelt is highly interested in, and thus Maggie also becomes involved with. Meanwhile, Maggie and John are trying to rebuild their relationship after the struggles in the previous two books while another romantic interest enters the picture. Can Maggie solve the mystery while maintaining both an alliance and her relationship?
Besides the characters already mentioned, readers will touch bases with both Maggie’s father, Edmund Hope, and the Nazi-spymaster Clara Hess. And the question of what happened to Elise after the ending of His Majesty’s Hope (which is still my favorite of the series) will finally be answered. However, missing are mentions of series regulars Sarah Sanderson and Hugh Thompson. Also the feared Vengeance Rockets, or V-1s, make their first appearance and John must make several hard decisions.
As always, the historical aspects are well-researched and presented. Having read (and reviewed) biographies of both Churchill and the Roosevelts, the personalities are spot on for the real-life characters. There is also the usual dose of humor and readers will relate to Maggie’s feelings.
Have you had the chance to read this novel or previous one in the series? If so, share your thoughts. I know I’ve very much enjoyed the series thus far and can’t wait for the next book.
This review was based on my personal copy of the book.