Monday, March 21, 2016

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal

Capable Confidante (Mystery Series)

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal. Maggie Hope, a pretty, young, American working for the British Special Ops Executive is on assignment as Winston Churchill’s typist.  The year is 1941, December, to be exact. The U.S. recently suffered an attack on Pearl Harbor.  Churchill and his entourage are meeting in Washington, D.C. with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to discuss the U.S. entering WWII. 

While there, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s secretary fails to show up for work. A no-show, no-call isn’t like the professional Blanche and that has Mrs. R. worried.  She takes the offered help of Maggie, who accompanies the First Lady to her assistant’s apartment.  And there they discover that Blanche has a good reason for playing hooky.  And if the shock of Blanche’s condition isn’t enough for concern, Maggie also finds a notepad with incriminating information against Eleanor herself.  It’s an ugly scene anyway you look at it. If Mrs. Roosevelt is drawn into a scandal, it could not only hurt the President, but impact the U.S. war effort.  Maggie is on the case.  But can she avert not only the further consequences of tragic this incident, but also the execution of a colored boy whom Mrs. Roosevelt supports?  You’ll have to read to find out.

I really liked this book.  It’s face-paced and informative.  MacNeal has a knack for combining historic events into a novel that make for fun and informative reading.  She lures me in with an exciting plot (or two) all the while feeding me history in an easy to digest and appetizing read.  She also seems to have a knack to spark even more interest in history, to tempt me to delve just a little bit deeper.  In this book there was mention of a mysterious Lucy Mercer that drove me to Wikipedia on my phone.

This is my second journey with Maggie.  I first read His Maggie’s Hope not too long ago. Usually I don’t like to get sucked into series.  But my book club coincidentally picked this book, and I’m glad they did.  Thumb’s-up, or V for Victory for the Maggie series.  

My book club also liked the book.  One thought it was a tad difficult to get into but then really liked it once it got going. One of our members was nine years old at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack living in San Francisco and remembers the blackout curtains they had to use and the sugar rationing, etc.  She even had a pen pal with someone in London at the time.  Very interesting, since most of us have not lived through war or been affected it by it on a daily basis as a whole nation.   

Happy Reading,


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Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

What Creates a Curmudgeon? (Touching)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Ove is a 59-year-old man forced into early retirement.  Now his life seems to have no purpose.  He’s as sour as a lemon, as irritable as a raging rash.  As new neighbors move in, Ove is forced into something else he doesn’t want—interacting with other people.  Slowly, we learn Ove’s personal history and find out that retirement is not the only reason he’s bitter.  And slowly we also see Ove change.

This book is an amusing, heart-breaking, insightful look into what shapes a man’s life, his heart, and personality.  Very touching.  Very good. I can’t imagine that anyone would not love this book as much as I did.  A real gem.

This book met one of my 2016 reading challenges:  Read a book with a person’s name in the title.

Happy Reading,


Questions or comments?  Email