Member Reviews

January 1944, Maggie Hope is an MI6 agent and spy who is sent to Lisbon and Madrid with 2 missions.
The first is to meet with Coco Chanel (a horizontal collaborator with the Nazis and possible double agent) who has a letter that she wants Maggie to give to Winston Churchill to broker a separate peace with Germany without Hitler (thus betraying France).
The second mission is to assassinate a German physicist to prevent him from developing the first fission (atomic) bomb.
The settings are not usual ones for World War II novels and the author described them well, and brought out the fact that both cities were full of spies - Nazis, Fascists, Allies, Communists and British. They stayed at several high end hotels and protected their own compatriots for the most part.
especially in Madrid (Spain was neutral) where spies, double agents, diplomats, Nazis and Allies stayed and suspected everyone else.
This fast paced novel was deeply researched and was a compelling read. It was difficult for her (and the reader) to discern who to trust and who was working against her and Great Britain. I was surprised at the role Coco Chanel with her ever present little black dress and pearls, had as a spy, and I think that her character was just outspoken enough to make her believable. Her contacts included Winston Churchill and other high ranking British men and she name-dropped throughout the book.
Maggie came across as an intelligent, worldly agent who MI6 was fortunate to have among their agents. It was great to see such a strong female character who exercised sound judgement and kept her cool. I did not realize that this was the 10th book in a series but it was fine as a stand alone.
I received an RC from NetGalley and Random House and the opinions expressed are my own. I rate it 4 1/2 stars and recommend it highly.

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WWII set in Spain which was a neutral country. Maggie; a British spy, is on a mission and encounters danger and double agents. She does a favor for CoCo Chanel. Good read but not a lot of surprises.

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This is, I think, the last Maggie Hope book and I liked it OK. There are a lot of references to Don Quixote which were lost on me as I've never read it and only know the very basics of the story. I did like the way the ending of Maggie's story was, in many ways, the opposite of where she began. I didn't like so much that it was pointed out repeatedly. Also, I won't miss her constantly over analyzing of everything. But given that the end of the plot line is known by the reader but not the characters, I suppose this can't be helped. I think these books are linked in a way with the Maisie Dobbs books for me in that nothing good ever happens. I know it's war time but a little bit of levity would've gone a long way for me in these novels.

If you've read any of the Maggie Hope novels than the plot follows similar lines - Maggie is given a mission, it doesn't go to plan, Maggie has to deal with many difficult decisions, Maggie is successful but many bad things have happened.

I received this novel from NetGalley in return for this review.

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The Last Hope is a well written book. I enjoyed the plot and character dynamics. I received an advance ebook from the publisher and Netgalley. This is my unbiased review.

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4.5 stars. In the final installment of the Maggie Hope series, Maggie finds herself taking on the identity of her former friend, Paige Kelly, to go undercover in Madrid. After returning to England with John, she is tapped for this mission by an old acquaintance, Coco Chanel. Yet she has an additional mission to complete while there - one that she's unsure needs to happen. Join Maggie as she navigates through Madrid - including a bullfighter, Nazis, scientists, and more. Be prepared to delve into her personal life a bit also as she deals with family secrets. A great send off for Maggie - I will miss her but look forward to more from MacNeal!

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Maggie Hope has come a long way since she was Mr. Churchill’s secretary. In the face of tremendous danger, she’s learned espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance. But things are different now that she has so much to lose, including the possibility of a family with John Sterling, the man who’s long held her heart. British Intelligence has ordered Maggie to assassinate Werner Heisenberg, the physicist who may deliver a world-ending fission bomb for Germany. An assassination is unlike anything she has ever done. How can the Allies even be sure Nazi Germany has a bomb? Determined to gather more information, Maggie travels to Madrid, where Heisenberg is visiting for a lecture.
At the same time, couturier Coco Chanel, a spy in her own right with ambiguous loyalties, has requested a mysterious meeting with the British ambassador in Madrid—and has requested Maggie join them. As the two play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, Maggie tries to get a better understanding of Heisenberg and to gauge his intentions.

This is the eleventh in the series. I have several of the books in the series in my TBA list but have not read them. I don't usually read the last one in the series before I have read the others, but the description was intriguing, so I decided to give it a try. Also, I have previously read a stand alone book by the author and thoroughly enjoyed her writing. She writes historical fiction with some real characters included and does it well and obviously with a lot of research. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for approving my request, and i will now go and read the others in the series!

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Maggie Hope is never far from adventure and intrigue as she continues her work for SOE during WWII. This time she’s off to Spain to meet up with Coco Chanel and perhaps find herself in the new role of assassin. Providing yet another perspective of life during the war- that of neutral, fascist Spain- that is filthy with spies and double agents on all sides vying for secrets and intelligence. Maggie will complete her mission, but at what cost?

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Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of more than 10 novels. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. MacNeil in 2021. The Last Hope was published last month and is the 11th book in her Maggie Hope series. It is the 49th book I completed reading in 2024.

Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R.

The story begins in January 1944. Many ranking German military officers have already concluded that the war is lost. Heinrich Himmler initiates a plan with General Walter Schellenberg to approach the British and negotiate a separate peace agreement. Schellenberg uses well-known French “horizontal collaborator” Coco Chanel and her many British contacts to facilitate a meeting. Chanel passes a message to the British that she wants a meeting and asks for Paige Kelly to be there.

Kelly is a persona that Maggie Hope had taken on a few years earlier when she was in Paris for the SOE. Hope began in 1940 as a typist for Winston Churchill. She found her way into the SOE and learned her spy craft well. She has been with the SOE for a few years. She has served behind the lines in France, and has earned the rank of Major. She is determined to see the Allies win the war.

She is called to a meeting by Kim Philby of MI-6. He makes her aware of the message from Chanel. Philby wants her to go to Madrid to meet Chanel, but only as a cover. The hidden mission will be to find and assassinate Dr. Werner Heisenberg, a leader in the Nazi nuclear program. He will be speaking in Madrid at the same time as the meeting with Chanel. Hope agrees but has deep reservations about simply killing Heisenberg.

Hope wants to meet and talk with Heisenberg. She needs to know that Heisenberg’s death is really interrupting the German effort to build an atomic bomb. As Hope flies to Lisbon and travels on to Madrid, she is surrounded by intrigue and danger. She is understandably upset when death touches some of those around her. She soon realizes that not only must she be conscious of German intelligence agents but also British double agents that support communist Russia. A party that most certainly does not want the Germans to sign a separate peace.

I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 293-page WWII-era tale of intrigue. I have had the opportunity to read a few other of Ms. MacNeal’s novels, such as Prisoner in the Castle, The King’s Justice, The Hollywood Spy, and Mother Daughter Traitor Spy. All have been consistently good reads. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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I love the Maggie Hope series by Susan Elia MacNeal, so I was thrilled to get the latest installment. These mysteries are so interesting as I learn a lot about espionage during WWII. I love the character of Maggie and how she is a strong, independent woman and so smart! Susan MacNeal has great pacing in her works and is definitely a writer who does her research.

Here’s the scoop — and is this really the LAST book in this series??? I guess we will wait and see….

Description
All will be revealed in this no-holds-barred finale of the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated Maggie Hope series as the intrepid spy teams up with fashion designer—and possible double agent—Coco Chanel to bring down the physicist behind Nazi Germany’s nuclear program.

“Intrepid Maggie Hope’s high-stakes mission is fraught with danger and moral questions. . . . A heartfelt story.”—Cara Black, New York Times bestselling author of Three Hours in Paris

Maggie Hope has come a long way since she was Mr. Churchill’s secretary. In the face of tremendous danger, she’s learned espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance. But things are different now that she has so much to lose, including the possibility of a family with John Sterling, the man who’s long held her heart.

British Intelligence has ordered Maggie to assassinate Werner Heisenberg, the physicist who may deliver a world-ending fission bomb for Germany. She’s shaken. An assassination is unlike anything she has ever done. How can the Allies even be sure Nazi Germany has a bomb? Determined to gather more information, Maggie travels to Madrid, where Heisenberg is visiting for a lecture.

At the same time, couturier Coco Chanel, a spy in her own right with ambiguous loyalties, has requested a mysterious meeting with the British ambassador in Madrid—and has requested Maggie join them. As the two play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, Maggie tries to get a better understanding of Heisenberg, but is faced with betrayal and a threat more terrifying than losing her own life.

Maggie desperately wants to find her happily-ever-after, but as the war reaches a fever pitch, the stakes keep rising. Now, more than ever, the choices she makes will reverberate around the globe, touching everyone she loves—with fateful implications for the future of the free world.

So so so good!!! Thank you for my review copy!

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The Last Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal is the last in this twelve book series that readers have enjoyed since 2012. Ms MacNeal said it was time for Maggie, the protagonist, to have some happiness. I wish I had read that before I read the book as I spent the last half of it worrying that the series would end with Maggie’s death. Maggie is a spy. She started off as Churchill’s secretary. Quite the promotion. She has grown and changed in the twelve books, as she should and MacNeal has documented that growth and made it very interesting as Maggie Hope travels the dark corridors of Britain’s war with Germany and Naziism. This is a tricky time as many people think the Nazis are preferable to the Communists. Many in England were Nazi sympathizers or worse. As was the world famous designer, Coco Chanel, who was an acquaintance of Maggie’s and featured fairly prominently in this story. She was worse than a sympathizer, she was a collaborator and now she was trying to save her own skin.

This series has been well-written and especially well-researched. While historical fiction is no way to learn history, it is a good way to learn about the people and how they felt. In Maggie’s case, it is about the lengths she will go to for her mission. Whether it is about her homeland or some internal craving is hard to tell. She is an exemplary character in a series of books which has filled a need for MacNeal’s readers for years. This one, in particular, will leave readers on the edge of their seats as Maggie fights a battle really having no idea who is on her side, and who isn’t. Excellent plotting and writing. Thanks, Susan Elia MacNeal for this wonderful series!

I was invited to read The Last Hope by Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #RandomHousePublishingGroupBallantine #SusanEliaMacNeal #TheLastHope

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One thing I love about historical fiction is that you learn something new about history. That is the case in The Last Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal. While I have heard of Coco Chanel, I did not know about her “letter” to Churchill regarding a separate peace treaty between Germany and Britian. In this very engaging spy thriller, we are introduced to Maggie Hope. Under the name of Paige Kelly, Maggie travels to Spain to work with Chanel to facilitate the delivery of this letter. But unbeknownst to others, Maggie also has a secret assignment in Spain. In this novel we meet many interesting fictional characters, as well as historical characters. I highly this novel for its intrigue as well as its history lesson.

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The Last Hope, the last book in the Maggie Hope series, provides enough espionage, double-dealings, dangerous locations, and ambivalent connections for a gripping finale. Set in Fascist Spain, Maggie is ordered by British Intelligence to determine if Werner Heisenberg's research into a "fission bomb" is close to being realized:

And if so, kill him.

Difficult enough, but Coco Chanel is back, requesting a meeting with the British Ambassador in Madrid, and that Maggie Hope be present. Chanel continues to play all sides of the conflict, and intends to hand over enough pertinent information to the Allies to not be shot as a collaborator when the Allies liberate France. If Coco Chanel isn't enough, it appears that Madrid is literally crawling with intelligence agents and spies, a number of whom may also be aligned with both sides of the conflict. Maggie Hope has to make some sense of the nebulous environs if her mission is to be successful.

I would have given The Last Hope five stars if the ending, while in part inevitable given Maggie Hope's superiors in British Intelligence, still left questions to be answered with a good bit of sociopathy added.

Four stars: Highly recommended.

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Maggie Hope goes back into danger for what is billed as the final installment to the mathematics whiz, typist turned spy series that has enthralled so many readers for years. Through Maggie, we have met the huge figures of the war, snuck behind enemy lines and risked life and limb for the Allies. But Susan Elia MacNeal has kept the humanity of Maggie front and center in all the books, and this last one (can it truly be the end?) is no exception. Maggie is back in London, but must go to Spain on a mission to receive a peace offer from none other than Coco Chanel, the famed designer and collaborator.
The adventures that follow are as dangerous as any Maggie faced before, and at times, it's easy to think she won't make it. That's the skill of MacNeal, who makes us believe the unbelievable — even if just for a minute. The suspense continues throughout, making this the sort of book that keeps a fan up all night. Start reading well before bedtime, in other words. Satisfying until the end.
Thank you, Maggie! P.S. But what about the sister???? (I received an advance reader copy courtesy of NetGally and the publisher. Opinions mine.)

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THE LAST HOPE by Susan Elia MacNeal is the final entry (after The Hollywood Spy) in the mystery series featuring Maggie Hope. That WWII era character started out thwarting an assassination attempt as a secretary for Winston Churchill and eventually received spy training which led to travels in Europe and the United States. This time, Maggie is sent to Madrid where she has a meeting with Coco Chanel and the British Ambassador to Spain in an effort to hasten the end of the war. There's talk of possibly assassinating a scientist, double agents, and threatening police. Maggie also has to deal with personal issues and bereavement while trying to stay focused on the mission's objectives. All in all, an excellent ending to a very popular and suspenseful mystery series. Library Journal praises it, saying, "It's sad to see the story end, but this novel, filled with MacNeal's signature character-centric plot and minute attention to historical details, does so magnificently."

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Maggie Hope, former secretary to Winston Churchill, has been enjoying some downtime with John Sterling now that they have both returned to London. That respite is interrupted when Maggie is summoned to complete a mission that has a dual purpose; serve as courier for a package from Nazi collaborator Coco Chanel to Winston Churchill and, perhaps, assassinate a prominent scientist. From the start Maggie is forced to adapt as complications arise and she soon realizes that she can’t trust anyone around her. The action takes place in post-Civil War Spain in the last year of World War II. Maggie will be tested to the breaking point before this is over.

This is a satisfying close to the series with an action-packed adventure and resolution to Maggie’s plans for after the war. I liked that Coco Chanel reappeared and, though fictionalized, her actions during the war are explored.

This is a must read for fans of the Maggie Hope series and is great for those who like mysteries set during World War II.

I received an advance review copy for free from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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In the final chapter of the Maggie Hope Mystery series, Susan MacNeal combines real-life characters with fictional as she sends Maggie to Spain on an espionage assignment from Kim Philby, head of the Iberian Section of MI6. There Maggie needs to determine how close the German physicist Werner Heisenberg (the 1932 Nobel Prize winner) is to developing an atomic bomb ... and assassinate him if needed to stop the Nazis. Meanwhile, Coco Chanel (who saved Maggie's life in a prior episode) wants her payback as a go-between Chanel and Winston Churchill. But consistent with the historical record, Maggie's troubled by whether the designer's loyalties lie with the Royal Family or the Nazis.

With rapt attention to historic details, MacNeal finishes the series with her trademark twists and turns. A fitting finish to the series that I'm glad I got to read. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine | Bantam and NetGalley for the ARC of The Last Hope, which I am delighted to recommend. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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The Last Hope is the eleventh and final (?) book in Susan Elia MacNeal's wonderful WWII mystery series featuring Maggie Hope. Maggie has had some scary adventures since the war began and she became an SOE agent to do her bit, but her final mission may just be the most difficult.

It’s January 1944 and no sooner has Maggie returned from Los Angeles with the love of her life, John Sterling, then she gets an early morning call from Kim Philly, head of the Iberian Section of MI-6. Word is that the Germans are working on a fission bomb that could erase a whole city from the face of the earth and it is suspected the Werner Heisenberg, a pioneer in quantum theory, may be behind their research. Maggie’s new mission is to travel to Madrid, Spain under the alias Paige Kelly (see Mr. Churchill's Secretary, Maggie Hope #1), where Heisenberg is giving a lecture and to assassinate him. But Maggie being the mathematician that she is decides that she needs to determine whether the Nazis have such a bomb or not. If they do, Heisenberg dies, if not, he lives.

Realizing that the war is not going well, and since Allied demand for an unconditional surrender is not an option, it is decided by Heinrich Himmler and General Walter Schellenberg that Germany’s only hope of survival would depend on negotiating a separate peace with the Allies sans that Soviet Union. The hope is this would keep communism out of western Europe. And now that information about the Final Solution is leaking out, one of their bargaining chips would be the lives of the remaining Jews. And Schellenberg has just the right contacts for getting the offer of a separate peace into the hands of Winston Churchill: Axis spies Coco Chanel and her current amor, Hans von Dincklage will be traveling to Madrid on the pretext of hearing Heisenberg’s lecture.

It turn out that Maggie as Paige Kelly owes Coco a favor after she saved Maggie’s life back in 1942 (see The Paris Spy, Maggie Hope #7) and Coco has every intention of calling the favor in, insisting that Maggie/Paige personally deliver the peace proposal including a handwritten letter from Coco herself directly into the hands of Winston Churchill.

And, of course, Maggie being Maggie, she attracts the attention of the famous bull fighter Juanito Belamonte, whose fame gives him all kinds of useful connections so that he can unwittingly help Maggie.

There's a lot going in in this novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Does Maggie assassinate Heisenberg? Obviously not (not a spoiler), but she has some very interesting conversations with him about quantum theory and his uncertainty principal. And the whole time she is carrying out her mission, Maggie has her personal life and her relationship with John Sterling very much on her mind.

The Last Hope was a bittersweet read. It was so good that I could hardly put it down, but then again, I didn’t want to finish it and say good bye to Maggie and her friends. I found it particularly interesting since I’ve take quantum theory courses and really thought that MacNeal did an excellent job making it accessible for those of us who are not physicists or mathematicians.

The story is loaded with names of real people and I found myself going to the internet to find out more about them. In fact, all the Maggie Hope books have been like that and I like a historical novel that gets my curiosity going. MacNeal is so great at incorporating her research seamlessly into her stories.

I’m going to miss Maggie, but I can highly recommend each and every one of her wartime adventures, but by 1944, she has certainly done more than her bit for the war effort.

So, good-bye, Maggie, good luck and marry John Sterling as soon as possible.

Thank you to Ballantine/RH and NetGalley for allowing me to read this E-ARC.

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The Maggie Hope series is my favorite historical fiction series. Susan Elia MacNeal finds a way to build her characters so well that you truly feel like you know them. I'm so sad to see this end. I feel like my friends are leaving town. I know that all good things must come to an end so I thought this might be a good quote to wrap this review up ...

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." - Winston Churchill

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What a finale! What a way to wrap up a series! Having read all the books in the series, I was sad that this would be the last. But it was a real page- turner. It had espionage, glamour, romance and an assassination plot. The settings were so interesting too. Thanks to #NetGalley and #TheLastHope for advanced digital copy.

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Although I believe this is described as the conclusion to the Maggie Hope series, I think I see the potential for more volumes on Maggie’s life post World War II.—Which would be a good thing, because I hate to see this series end. I have been with Maggie since the beginning, and it has been an enjoyable journey. This last entry brings her to Spain on a mission to assassinate the German scientist Werner Heisenberg if she determines that he has helped Germany to create a nuclear fission bomb. Coincidentally, as I read this novel I also watched the movie “The Catcher was a Spy,” about the real life major leaguer turned spy Moe Berg, who had the same mission. It was disconcerting, to say the least to be reading/watching two versions of the same story, which made Maggie’s story seem sensational and overly-dramatic. But I enjoyed it, and appreciated the author’s note at the end which explained the Moe Berg story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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