Mother Daughter Traitor Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal | #BookReview #Historical #Thriller #WWII

A mother and daughter find the courage to go undercover after stumbling upon a Nazi cell in Los Angeles during the early days of World War II—a tantalizing novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

“A stirring standalone thriller . . . Susan Elia MacNeal’s page-turning prose is as entertaining as ever—I was riveted from beginning to end.”—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

June 1940. France has fallen to the Nazis, and Britain may be next—but to many Americans, the war is something happening “over there.” Veronica Grace has just graduated from college; she and her mother, Violet, are looking for a fresh start in sunny Los Angeles. After a blunder cost her a prestigious career opportunity in New York, Veronica is relieved to take a typing job in L.A.—only to realize that she’s working for one of the area’s most vicious propagandists.

Overnight, Veronica is exposed to the dark underbelly of her new home, where German Nazis are recruiting Americans for their devastating campaign. After the FBI dismisses the Graces’ concerns, Veronica and Violet decide to call on an old friend, who introduces them to L.A.’s anti-Nazi spymaster.

At once, the women go undercover to gather enough information about the California Reich to take to the authorities. But as the news of Pearl Harbor ripples through the United States, and President Roosevelt declares war, the Grace women realize that the plots they’re investigating are far more sinister than they feared—and even a single misstep could cost them everything.

Inspired by the real mother-daughter spy duo who foiled Nazi plots in Los Angeles during WWII, Mother Daughter Traitor Spyis a powerful portrait of family, duty, and deception that raises timeless questions about America—and what it means to have courage in the face of terror.

Coming out tomorrow!

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Mother Daughter Traitor Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal is a historical thriller set in the US during WWII. The story is loosely based on real people and events. It is about a mother and daughter who each got caught up in a pro-Nazi group in Los Angeles, California, and dared to work as spies for an anti-Nazi spymaster.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

A mother and daughter spy team sounds intriguing to me, and I love that it is based loosely on actual people and events. The cover reflects the period in history and location perfectly. And the book blurb sounds dark and thrilling. I don’t know much about the pro-Nazi movement in the US, particularly on the West coast. It seems incomprehensible, so I’m very curious about it.

Actual Reading Experience:

What I liked most about this story was that it’s based loosely on real people and events. I don’t know much about that time and the movements or propaganda in this country, especially the pro-Nazi propaganda and agenda. It’s an exciting look into our past, putting today’s political agendas and rhetoric in a slightly different perspective.

I also enjoyed the mother-daughter relationship between Veronica and Violet very much. Their relationship is very nuanced and layered and transcends the time they are living in. Both women are very modern in thoughts and beliefs, and their strength shines through with each challenge they face together or separately. I applaud their willingness to do what is right when it is not the easiest or safest path.

The writing flowed nicely with an effortless style that led to the fast pace of my reading. It felt genuine and authentic even when the events are beyond belief. MacNeal has an incredible way of making the past come alive in the present so the reader can see beyond the story on the page.


Veronica Grace is a recent college graduate. Her job as a journalist is cut short when it is discovered that she is having an affair with a married man. She and her mother, Violet, plan to go live in her uncle’s house in Santa Monica, California, as a way to start fresh and leave the past behind.

Violet Grace is the widowed mother of Veronica. She’s feeling at odds with her life as she is no longer needed by her only daughter and her husband, who is deceased. She agrees to live in her brother’s vacation home as it is the best thing for her daughter and a way to find her new place in the world.

Narration & Pacing:

I found the pacing pretty fast, and I could have read it in one day if I had started it earlier in the day; it was that quick of a read. The narration is in 3rd person, which worked well since the story had a much bigger scope than would have worked for a first-person account of events.


The setting is the area surrounding Los Angeles, California. Veronica and Violet move to Santa Monica from New York. The west coast was the center of significant pro-Nazi propaganda, so it fits the story.

To Read or Not to Read:

If you want to learn more about the events in the US during WWII and enjoy exciting and dangerous spy stories, Mother Daughter Traitor Spy is just the book you want to read.

Overall Rating:(4.42)⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

  • Originality: (5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Writing Quality: (5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Pace: (5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Character Development: (5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • ‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness: (4) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Use of Setting: (5)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

24 Replies to “Mother Daughter Traitor Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal | #BookReview #Historical #Thriller #WWII”

  1. I didn’t know that the US had been affected by Nazi propaganda during the war. It’s a fascinating premise made even more so by being based on real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t either. I knew we had a “Red Scare” after WWII but that’s only because of a documentary about movie stars that got caught up in that. This is the first I heard of Nazi propagandist in the US. I like when a book teaches me something I didn’t know 😊


    1. I’ve never read anything like it, though you read way more historical fiction than I do. It’s one of those things that I had no idea went on in the US.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know there were pro-Nazi movements in the US. It stands to reason, I suppose, but I just never considered it. Interesting. And that two woman took them on? Fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just love the setting, as my family lives in So. Cal. I know I would enjoy this one. I just added this to my tbr.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Tessa!

    I saw this book on your Sunday Post I think and it really does seem awesome. Everything about it will draw my attention for sure.

    Great cover too and that is always a huge draw for me!

    Elza Reads

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had not heard of this book at all, Tessa. Thanks for introducing me to what sounds like a wonderful WWII story. I always look for historical fiction that I can learn from and this would do that for me. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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