Princess Elizabeth's Spy

princess elizabeth's spy susan elia macneal maggie hopeWe've already established that with Mr. Churchill's Secretary Susan Elia MacNeal hit my personal happy spots. In creating the Maggie Hope mysteries series she created my own personal brand of literary crack. WWII. London. Spies. Smart women. Those things all make me a happy reader. When I finished Mr. Churchill's Secretary I immediately gobbled down Princess Elizabeth's Spy.

I didn't write about it at the time because I wasn't really sure what to say. I loved it but there was something else -- something more -- I wanted to say but I wasn't really sure what it was. I've had a copy of His Majesty's Hope for awhile but before I read it wanted to reread Princess Elizabeth's Spy because there are things in there that are important to the third book and some of those things were a bit hazy. When I reread Princess Elizabeth's Spy this week I hit upon what that feeling of something more was. 
I love Maggie Hope. She's smart. She's knows it. She's not afraid of it. She's not afraid of much, actually. And while she faltered a bit in Mr. Churchill's Secretary it would be easy to think that it was because of her inexperience, which is was, and that she'd get over it. I was worried that once she trained up a bit she'd hit a spot where I might not like her quite so much. I was concerned that she'd become too perfect - a kind of Mary Poppins meets Mary Sue meets Nancy Drew. 
Thank goodness that didn't happen. Maggie Hope did not suddenly become perfect. She made mistakes -- big ones. Costly ones, even. She lets her opinions of people get in the way of seeing what is happening around her. She's remains human -- an exceptionally smart human but human all the same. 
I would like to thank the author for that. I'd also like to thank her for her novelization of the royal family in this book. "You got him right in the n-n-n-naughty bits" and "if it doesn't have fur and fart, you don't like it" are completing for my favourite lines in the novel. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (who was not The Queen Mother at the time but that's how I shall always think of her in my head) almost always made me laugh. Lilibeth and Margaret have a fabulous sisterly relationship, adept at pushing each other's buttons as sisters should be. Even the corgis were perfectly misbehaved. 
There are other things I'd like to talk about but won't because SPOILERS. Let's just say there are a few gut punches in this one. Some stuff at the end made me gasp a wee bit and I kind of missed the significance of a certain name the first time around so I'm really happy I reread it before starting His Majesty's Hope