Review of The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

By: Gabi Rutherford

It’s the middle of World War II. Maggie Hope was a spy who knew too much, so she was sent to live on Forbidden Island, in Killoch Castle with other spies. The eight of them are isolated from the world, except for what they hear on the radio and from the newspapers they get once a month. They are well kept, but restless. Then, their caretaker suddenly dies, as well as one of their fellow inmates, and the Captain who brings them goods every month washes up on the shore. Maggie Hope must find a way out, or else she risks losing her own life.

Susan Elia MacNeal portrays an interesting viewpoint of World War II while providing a sense of mystery and a little bit of spookiness. While the reader gets the firsthand knowledge and experiences of some different characters occasionally, the focus is mostly on Maggie. Maggie is a well-executed character, as she is smart, witty, caring, and she is able to keep control of her fellow inmates. There is also a lot happening outside of Killoch Castle, and MacNeal is able to balance that well by integrating the characters into those subplots. Overall, MacNeal wrote a very thoughtful and intricate piece that will interest many readers.

I enjoyed this story. I haven’t really given much thought about what the spies of World War II would have gone through, and while I don’t know how accurate this story is, it is certainly interesting. I love the dynamic Maggie has with her fellow inmates, and each of them has an exciting and mysterious past that is intriguing. I would recommend this to anyone, especially those who are interested in spies or World War II.

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