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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
The Moneypenny Diaries
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2007
Moneypenny Diaries was written mainly as journal entries from Jane Moneypenny, the secretary to "M" at MI6, and colleague of James Bond. In the book, her niece, Kate Westbrook (the supposed author of the book), has been sent Moneypenny's journals many years after her death. Kate learns by reading the journals that her aunt actually worked for the Secret Service. She then tries to find out if the journals are real, and in doing so, proves that Ian Fleming's Bond novels were based on fact as well.

This was a clever idea, written from both "Kate's" and Moneypenny's points of view to make this work of fiction appear as non-fiction. There was even an overload of history tied in to the stories to make it appear genuine. My only complaints are the long history lessons throughout the book, mainly on the Cuban Missile Crisis, as this set of journal entries were from 1962. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Besides the cleverly written story, it was incredibly fun to read stories from Moneypenny's point of view. She was written as a deep and complex character. The men in her life are mysterious, and she gets thrown into dangerous situations. And best of all, Moneypenny gets to go on a couple exciting adventures with 007.

This is the first in a supposed trilogy. Now, off to see if I can find a copy of Secret Servant (the 2nd novel), as there is no plan to release them in America.
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on May 16, 2008
The Moneypenny Diaries is the first in a trilogy of books by Samantha Weinberg (a.k.a. Kate Westbrook) chronicling the heretofore untold adventures of M's popular personal secretary. Until now, Miss Moneypenny has only been a figure behind a desk with a particular fascination for an agent with the number 007. But now she has a first name (Jane), a rich past (colonial Africa), and quite a few "Bondian" tales to tell of her own. The Moneypenny Diaries also reveal exactly what happened to 007 during those dark days between the books 'On Her Majesty's Secrete Service' and 'You Only Live Twice.' We even get to see Bond and Moneypenny join forces and play a major role in the real-life Cuban Missile Crisis!

I've now read the entire series (via the already released UK editions) and I highly recommend getting this excellent first book and getting hooked. It is a VERY good series and a must for Bond fans. Fans of the films might be a bit surprised to see their super agent in such a poor mental state after the murder of his wife, Tracy...but that's what makes the Bond books such a different (and, IMO, a far more rich) experience. The Moneypenny Diaries is a great way to start that experience.
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on February 9, 2010
This novel and it's sequel should contain spoiler warnings, because they reveal significant plot details from Ian Fleming's original James Bond novels. If you haven't read Fleming's ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (or at least seen the film, which is very faithful to the book) I strongly suggest you do so before reading Kate Westbrook's THE MONEYPENNY DIARIES (UK title: THE MONEYPENNY DIARIES: GUARDIAN ANGEL), which picks up immediately from the end of OHMSS.

Then it's essential that you read YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, and then THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (the films of these two titles bear no resemblance at all to Fleming's books) before proceeding to THE MONEYPENNY DIARIES (VOLUME 2): SECRET SERVANT. Because of their overlapping timelines, reading Fleming and Westbrook in the order that I've outlined will give you a much greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the MONEYPENNY DIARIES.
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on June 10, 2013
nice little snippets and great having the woman rescue Bond. Although I can't imagine Bond not being able to get out of there on his own! Good sense of the cold war.
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on February 25, 2013
Second book in the three book series. Highly interesting to get the story from her side. So interesting, my wife wants to read them. Packaging was good and delivery was as advertised.
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on September 30, 2008
I've read every Bond (and Young Bond) novel, and this was one of the most interesting, mainly because of the premise and format. A bit like The Spy Who Loved Me. I'm anxious to read the next two. The author really did her homework in regard to Fleming works as well as historical events. She does an excellent job of blending the two, in a way that exceeds Fleming, Gardner, Benson, Higson, Wood, Pearson, Amis, & Faulks.
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on June 14, 2014
Reading this took no effort at all to convince myself to finish it. Her writing is so easy to read and she's very descriptive in the best ways.
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on July 30, 2014
Read it. You will be hooked.
A well crafted well conceived look at a different side of 007. Loved it.
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on February 28, 2015
great seller
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VINE VOICEon July 9, 2008
Imagine that Miss Moneypenny of James Bond fame was a real person, as was Bond himself and that all the Bond adventures were based on fact. Astonding right? Now imagine that your quiet aunt Jane, was in fact Moneypenny and not the just the career civil servant you had always thought. This is the premise of the series (three books to date) of novels drawn from the secret diaries kept by Moneypenny and delivered ten years after her death to her niece, Kate, a Cambridge lecturer.

Kate has decided that the diaries should be brought to the public's attention to reveal what really happened behind the scenes of some of the most significant events of the late twentieth century. She has chosed to release the volumes, one year at a time with the events and people depicted therein properly documented and footnoted in a scholarly manner. The year she has decided to begin with is 1962, the year of the Cuban Missle Crisis and the year Bond was married and left a widower in a few hours time. Through Moneypenny's diaries we are returned to London of the swinging sixties, into the shadowy secret realm of MI6 to meet the real M, see the shiny new gadgets developed by Q and learn there is more, much more to the efficient Moneypenny than we had ever guessed.

This is a delightful take on the Bond saga. The author manages to remain true to the original stories and characters while intruducing new threads into the Bond universe. Soon the reader is caught up into the on going questions of what really had happened to Moneypenny's father during the waning days of WWII, to whether or not she could really trust her enigmatic 'R', who the mole in MI6 really was and whether or not Bond ever did keep that long promised dinner date. Hopefully more will be revealed in the next installment of Moneypenny's secret diaries.
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