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on 10 November 2005
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!
This book is very well done and a must for Bond fans. It's so nice to see a Bond adventure set in the 1960s again. 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 30 October 2005
Many of us have wondered how much of the entertaining escapades of 007 portrayed in Ian Flemings books, are founded in fact. The series of silver screen 007s, whether with smooth Casanova style or rugged charm, overcoming or outwitting an endless variety of villains in fabulous locations, has only increased the sense of myth. Now, the Moneypenny Diaries reveals all. Dr Westbrook has been fastidous in her research, as attested by the copious footnotes, which unquestionably link the events in Miss Moneypenny's diaries to the Cuban missile crisis. The extracts from the diaries themselves, provide a unique insight into the world of the secret service, the personality of Mr Bond, and the stress of working undercover. Miss Moneypenny herself comes to vividly to life, proving to be an engaging and adventurous personality with a great deal of personal and professional integrity, and the odd moment of Bridget Jones angst too. During her lifetime she clearly inspired her niece, whose fascination and affection for her aunt leap out of the page. At the end Dr Westbrook lets on that she is now editing the next volume of here aunt's journals, and I closed this book in expectation of another volume of rivetting reading to look forward to - hopefully soon!
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on 28 October 2005
What a book. I didnt think it was possible to "out Bond" Bond. Charlie Higson managed it with Silverfin but Dr Westbrook has found a gem in these diaries that is the perfect read. I hope there are more volumes to be discovered.
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2008
A very clever and entertaining novel, the first of a planned trilogy, that manages to fill in the gaps around Fleming's James Bond books convincingly. Written as diaries edited after Moneypenny's death by her niece, we get a realistic backstory of Moneypenny's childhood in Africa; her recruitment into the secret service; and her relationships with boss M, the 00 agents and other MI6 employees.
The starting point is Bond's return to work after the death of his wife Tracy Draco (at the end of OHMSS), and coincides with the real events of the Bay of Pigs debacle and the Cuban Missiles Crisis. The use of real events alongside Fleming's fictional ones gives some gravitas to the novel, and explanatory footnotes on all the people involved - real and imagined, and the workings of the secret service all add to this pseudo-realism.
A brilliant and worthy addition to the Bond-lover's reading list - I can't wait until the next one!
(NB: Retitled as 'The moneypenny diaries: Guardian Angel' for its paperback edition).
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A interesting read, slightly let down by a cover that sems to be more pointed towards the ladies. Indeed my version even has "for her eyes only" on it.

But it is not girly at all and is a clever and intelligent approach to see things from the perspective of M's loyal assistant. Set during the Cuban crisis and the events of OHMSS and You Only Live Twice, the author takes Fleming's books as real events slightly fictionalised, she then blends real historic events and people and overlays her Moneypenny story based on diaries found by her neice. This is a time that fans of the books will recognise, that Bond was having a real struggle following the death of his wife, and you see his struggle through other peoples' eyes.

It is an intelligent and well researched piece of work and will appeal to fans of both Bond and those with an interest in the history of the time. Glimpses of office politics, the other 00 agents, and moles and honey-traps all feel very authentic.

It is deliberately dated and paints a picture of the 1960s and the author has fun with Miss Moneypenny and expanding her role in things and gives her a strong and unexpected role. At times not an easy read (so many footnotes) but an interesting and worthy one.
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2007
And it's done well. Kate Westbrook finds the diaries of her aunt Jane Moneypenny and delivers them for our delicitation. Each month has an introduction with some of the documents of the period and some notes about the background research Kate has done for the book. It's filled with footnotes and is a great fun read.

It's a licenced James Bond book and happens between On her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice. You meet again some of the characters from the series and get to know some more of the backgrounds. You also get to see some of Moneypenny's activities and some of the pain that Bond suffered when his wife died in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

It's a fun read, almost overdone but it does capture a lot of what it must have been like to be in the intelligence service in the 60's. Westbrook almost slips into having Moneypenny as too involved and with too many adventures but not quite.

I liked the book and will be passing it on to my Husband (at his request!) and although it's being billed more as a Chick-lit novel I think it will appeal to fans. Then again I've always been facinated by Moneypenny as a character, so I started out a little biased.
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VINE VOICEon 13 December 2006
The premise of The Moneypenny diaries is that Kate Westbrook is the real- life niece of Miss Jane Moneypenny and that she has inherited diaries kept by her aunt during the time she was working at MI6. The diary has then been 'verified' and annotated by Westbrook.

The diary in question is from 1962 and deals with Bond and Moneypenny's involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis. It brings Moneypenny vividly to life and explores her history and also her search for her father, who went missing in action.

This is a really enjoyable novel, which ties in closely to Ian Flemming's Bond novels and includes cameos from some of the original characters.

It does include quite a lot of footnotes which might be off-putting for some, and although it seems to be packaged as 'chick-lit', it certainly isn't!

Highly recommended, can't wait for the next instalment!
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on 2 August 2013
This is simply a great series! If you are not a Bond-fan, you will just enjoy the pacing of a great adventure. If you are a fan of the Bond movies, you will enjoy all the familiar persons from 007's universe, and if you are a fan of Ian Fleming's litterary James Bond (not the movie-version), you will be amazed at the level of attention to detali that Samatha Weinberg (Kate Westbrook) has managed to put into the book. The Moneypenny Diaries is a series of three books: 1) Guardian Angel, 2) Secret Servant and 3) Final Fling. They are really great books! I have read them and enjoyed them (I'm a Bond-fan), and my wife has read them too, and she is now a Moneypenny-fan!
Seek them out, buy them and enjoy reading them!
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on 16 February 2009
I put off ordering this book for quite some time since I had to import it to the States. I regret the delay - it is a fun and exciting read. As a female Bond fan, it is nice to finally have something entirely from the female perspective and Ms. Moneypenny's to boot! It is excellent from start to finish. The moment I read the last page, I turned around and ordered the other two in the trilogy. Without giving any of the plot away, you will walk wishing you, too, had the adventures of Moneypenny. Jane Moneypenny.
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on 28 April 2009
I really enjoyed this book (though, at times, the footnotes annoyed me). It was historical and very interesting, meshing nicely with the Fleming novels. Miss Moneypenny has always been my favourite character in the Bond books/movies, so naturally this book was a must-read. It sheds so much more light onto the inner workings of the Office and onto the characters of Jane Moneypenny, Bill Tanner, M, and, of course, James Bond. This book lays out an interesting beginning for the series.
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