Tag-Archive for » Susan Elia MacNeal «

A Book Review ~~ The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing     3 out of 5 quills     A Review

I was disappointed in this latest offering in the Maggie Hope series. The plot was so implausible that, after a few chapters, I hurried to the back of the book, hoping for an author’s note. Sure enough, this plot was  far-fetched but based upon truth.  MI-6 and S.O.E. actually had a ‘cooler’ where the British intelligence community sent, what they deemed, their ‘unstable’ agents. 

So why was I having such a hard time connecting with the story? Usually I adore  Maggie Hope and the series. For one thing,  I didn’t care about the other agents. There wasn’t enough of a back story on each of them for this reader to care whether they lived or died.

Just too many clichés for me. A castle and a stormy night, tripping over dead bodies, the wife locked in a castle tower. By this time in the series, Maggie is too high up in the espionage business to be unceremoniously thrown into an island prison by her own government! I couldn’t buy it. She has kept countless secrets for the realm, why is she not being trusted to keep this latest one?

Then in the last forty pages, or so, I felt like I’d been dropped into an action film, with bombs going off and Maggie having to swim for her life. It was disconcerting and unbelievable.  I just wasn’t that excited about this book, but I remain a fan. The rest of the series is one of my favorites in this genre. 

Released today. Click here

Did you miss my Interview with this author?

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe. July K.M. Ecke. August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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The Paris Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal ~~ A Review

writing, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fiction A REVIEW 
5 out of 5 quills ~~ The Paris Spy

 

A real cliff hanger! To the last page (especially the last page) MacNeal’s new book keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.  This series is a delight. Beginning when a ‘math-o-holic’ girl gets hired in Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s office as a typist. WWII is just gearing up.  With an aptitude for numbers and codes Maggie Hope quickly rises, for a woman, in the war offices.  In this latest offering, we catch up with her as she ‘wrangles’ her way into war-torn and occupied France.  Searching for her sister, she is thrown into the deep end of espionage.

The Maggie Hope Mystery series offers intrigue, twists and turns and great characters. Woven expertly through world history the reader is treated to the workings and intrigues of 10 Downing Street and M16 (the CIA of England) . This reviewer strongly urges the reader to start at the beginning with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and read the books in order.  But, of course, The Paris Spy stands very well on its own. With each book Susan MacNeal gives the reader a complete story, albeit a dangler most likely leaving the reader in a most delicious sort of suspense.
 
Available at www.amazon.com or your favorite book store.

 

 

 

Did you miss my Interview with this Author??
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
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Winners Announced in the FREE book Give-away!

Cover.Susan.new.book4-7We are so pleased to announce the winners of a signed, copy of Susan Elia Macneal’s new book, ‘The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent’.

CONGRATULATIONS!!   The winners are:  Sara Hyman and Micheal Nelson

Fans of Susan’s should check out my interview with her done last year.  This author brings back the WWII experience and Winston Churchill’s glory days  so vividly that readers will feel that they are there during the London Blitz, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the hot political climate of the day.

Susan.MacN

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!

In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  

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Win a Free book! Macneal’s The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent

Susan.MacNeal.(c)_Andrea_VaszkoTo promote not only Susan Elia Macneal’s new book but also my Blog, the folks at Random House have invited me to do a BOOK GIVE-AWAY!   Easy to enter but remember it is for a signed, paperback of ‘The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent’ only and you must have a US mailing address.

Like my page (writeratplay) on Facebook, like Susan’s page  https://www.facebook.com/susaneliamacneal?fref=ts, and follow us on Twitter.  Return to the post  and comment on my page, ‘Book Give-away – Done’.    WINNERS will be announced later this week!  Hurry to enter!!!
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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!

In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!    Dean Koontz dean2photo_9was interviewed by me June 28th and July 1 in a two part sensational visit with this suspense-thriller mega-star.

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MacNeal’s release of new book Sparks Give-away!

Never one to break with tradition…..there’s a side story with regard to my enthusiasm for Susan Macneal’s writing. 

The first of the Maggie Hope spy mysteries, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, (which I highly recommend) is fiction but based in fact.  The author was fortunate enough to have had several interviews with Churchill’s private secretary before her death.  The book is about a ‘typist’ who was relegated to a menial job because of her gender.  She was actually educated in mathematics and cryptology and could easily have fitted in with MI-Five (British CIA) but for her being a woman.

I was so taken by Winston Churchill’s pets having the run of the war offices….and how Susan wove this little fact (with many others) into her story so deftly.  At the time I was looking for lighter material to round out my collectionchurchill.CATBookCover.do of short plays for the classroom.  An idea came to me  of Mr. Churchill noodling away in front of his easel and Nelson, his cat talking to the audience; telling them something about the times that they lived in, an anecdote or two about the Prime Minister and of course, listening patiently to Mr. Churchill’s comments about the world at large.

July 1st,  the fourth and newest book in the Maggie Hope series will go on sale.
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“The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent” Book Giveaway, July 1st

Susan.MacNeal.(c)_Andrea_VaszkoHistoric fiction writer, Susan Elia MacNeal has written another fab book!

About a year ago I was looking around amazon for a new author as all my favorite ones (I have dozens as I am certain you do) were writing their new books and my shelf was getting depleted.  I stumbled upon Susan Elia MacNeal and her WWII historic mysteries.   Her heroine, Maggie, works in London’s war office as a decryption specialist. Her craft at story telling is such that I could smell the cigarette smoke, hear the clack of the typewriters, and found myself checking to see if the seams in my nylons were straight.  I’ve been a fan ever since.

Random House has asked me to promote the release of her new book by giving away two books and that contest will appear at the end of this month.  The entry rules will be announced this Sunday.   Only paperback and mailing address must be in USA.

If you missed my interview with Susan, please click here.
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‘Her Majesty’s Hope’ a Review of Susan E.MacNeal’s new book

Review of Her Majesty’s Hope  Rating:  reviews, authors, writing  reviews, authors, writing  reviews, authors, writing  reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing    (5 out of 5 quills)

Yesterday Susan Elia MacNeal’s latest Maggie Hope mystery was released.  It’s no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the interviews, best selling authors, fiction, new fictionrelease of His Majesty’s Hope by this accomplished writer.

Each of MacNeal’s books are ‘stand alone’ stories but to get the most pleasure from them, I highly recommend you read them in order.  Starting with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, we follow Maggie as she works as a lowly typist in a typing pool at #10 Downing Street in spite of her knowledge and natural ability with languages.  She is a master of cryptology and codes but in the 1930’s it was unheard of for a woman to be used in that capacity.

She quickly rises in Mr. Churchill’s government and trains with the British CIA.  I have to give a nod to Princess Elizabeth’s Spy because if you love the ‘royals’ (as I do) this is an amazing look into Windsor Castle  when the now Queen was just a young girl.  It’s a surprising and fascinating mystery.

The most current in this series takes a harsh, horrifying look at Hitler’s ethnic cleansing.  Maggie is dropped into Germany as a spy and  also to confront the mother she never knew and thought had died in a car crash years ago.

Seventy-five years later, the systematic destruction of the Jewish population is chilling and this gifted writer puts it in a context that is both horrifying and heart-breaking.  MacNeal’s characters are full and rich with several story lines weaving through this period in our history.  And interviews, authors, writers, Winston Churchillthen she neatly ties all the ends together, leaving you wanting more….which her fans will get with a little patience.

I was so pleased to have interviewed Susan a couple of months ago and if you missed it,  click here.

(review at the request of author/publicist)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal, Maya Angelou, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress is our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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The Writer’s Corner… an Interview with Susan Elia MacNeal (part 1)

        interviews, author quotes   Do other writers find themselves  at 4 in the afternoon, still in their pajamas, lost in their writing ?   Hopefully it only happens at home and not at the corner coffee shop…

My readers are enjoying hearing about other authors writing processes.  I created a Question & Answer-type Interview and then began contacting some of my favorite authors to ask them to participate.  It turns out that not only do these other writers want to share their writing life with us, but they are equally interested in the stories from other authors.

                              In this three-part post, my interview is with Susan Elia MacNeal.   I am especially honored as Susan and her publicist have asked me to review her next book, “His Majesty’s Hope”, to be released in May of His_Majesty's[1]this year.  Please sit back and enjoy a chat with Susan……..

 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

A. I work in my beautiful library, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, overstuffed velvet sofas, a fireplace, two cats, and a handsome young manservant to fetch me tea and coffee.  Okay, that’s not true. But I do have two cats.  I live in New York, and space is definitely at a premium. Before our son was born, my husband and I used our guest bedroom as an office. After it became a kid’s room, I started working at the kitchen table, or sometimes cross-legged on the living room sofa.

I joined the New York Writers Room in the West Village for a while and had many happy days there with a view of the Empire State building, but I’m not currently working there. (My son has asthma, and I like being closer to his school in case of emergencies.)  I also love a little café near us—best coffee in the world, plus big tables full of other writers. I also like to work at our local public library, which is one of the old Carnegie libraries.

I’ve also written at a lot of friends’ homes, while they’ve been on vacation – some of them famous. So, parts of my books have been written at actor/writer John Hodgman’s apartment (I also looked after their cat), composer Kristin Andersen Lopez and Robert Lopez’s apartment (yes, of course I picked up his Tony award for Avenue Q and pretended to make an acceptance speech), and Ron Lieber and Jodi Kantor’s apartment. (They’re both journalists for the New York Times, and Jodi’s the author of The Obamas.)

I’ve also written with Josh Axelrad, the author of Repeat Until Rich, which was fun, because we’d break for bourbon at six p.m. But he was always saying, “I’m afraid you’re listening to me not typing and thinking I’m lazy!” I tried to tell him I have too many of my own issues to even thinking about listening to his typing or not typing!

Susan_Elia_(c)_Lesley_Semmelhack              The most amazing place I’ve ever written was just recently at Arisaig House, which is a former manor house, now a bed and breakfast, on the west coast of Scotland. It was also used as an SOE spy training camp during World War II. I was talking to a lot of people alive and living in the area during that period of time, and doing research, but I also wrote in a beautiful room with oriental rugs, a crackling fire, a view of the grounds and shoreline, and three big napping golden labs. Heaven!

But I’ve also written on trains planes and waiting rooms. Basically, I’ve learned to write anywhere and everywhere.

http://www.susaneliamacneal.com/

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Join us to read part two of this wonderful interview (March 7th.) with best-seller author Susan Elia MacNeal .
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Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. A NEW SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner” INTERVIEWS with other  best-selling AUTHORS!

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and plan on featuring an interview once a month .  I have invited such luminaries as: Anne Purser, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Robert McCammon, Susan Elia MacNeal, Mark Childress, Sue Grafton, Jeffrey Deaver, Rhys Bowen, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!
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To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”.  You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ .  Thanks!