A Buffalo-bred writer who takes World War II-era history and turns it into riveting narratives filled with suspense and adventure – plus a smidgen of romance and mystery – will be making two appearances in Western New York this week.
Susan Elia MacNeal, who grew up in Buffalo and graduated from Nardin Academy, will speak at the Garret Club in Buffalo today at a luncheon event starting at 11:30 a.m.
Then, Wednesday, MacNeal will give a talk and sign books starting at noon, in the Central Library in Lafayette Square.
"This is going to be my first appearance in Buffalo related to my work," said MacNeal, who now lives in the New York City area.
"It's overwhelming. It's wonderful. I'm so looking forward to it."
The event at the Garret Club, located on Cleveland Avenue in the Elmwood Village area of the city, is open to the public, and tickets cost $25. MacNeal will sign books as part of the appearance.
The talk Wednesday at the Central Library is free and open to the public.
MacNeal's first book, "Mr. Churchill's Secretary," was a story of intrigue and mystery set in London during the beginning of the second World War.
It featured as a heroine Maggie Hope, a smart and charismatic American mathematician who has a talent for code-breaking and solving puzzles.
Maggie Hope's story is continued in MacNeal's second book, "Princess Elizabeth's Spy," which was released in October.
The follow-up book in the series was mentioned on Oprah.com and has made the New York Times best-seller list for trade paperbacks.
"You can read it independently, if you want," said MacNeal, of her second title. "But the story continues Maggie Hope's journey of becoming a spy."
"She is assigned to Windsor Castle – and the princess. Maggie doesn't like this. She'd rather be dropped behind enemy lines – and instead she's a baby sitter. But once she gets there, there's a murder...."
MacNeal, a Class of 1987 graduate of Nardin, now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the puppeteer and actor Noel MacNeal, and her 7-year-old son, Matthew.
The Garret Club talk by MacNeal is a debut event in a new lecture series called Nardin@Noon. It is co-sponsored by the Nardin Academy Buffalo Chapter.
Reservations for the Garret Club luncheon may be made by emailing Cheryl Ranney at the school, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MacNeal's Buffalo visit will also include a talk for Nardin high school students about her work, as well as puppetry workshops for elementary school students at the school, with her husband. Those events are not open to the public.
For the library event on Wednesday, no tickets or advance registrations are required.
MacNeal said she plans to write at least four books centered around the code-breaking sleuth Maggie Hope.
The third volume in the series, "His Majesty's Hope," will be released next spring, she said. That book will be set in Berlin.
And a fourth title is already in the works, said MacNeal.
"That one is going to have a character from Buffalo," MacNeal said. "One of the aides to President Roosevelt is going to be from Buffalo.
"It would be fun."