Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #NewRelease #WW2 THE SECRET STEALERS by @HealeyJane

The Secret StealersThe Secret Stealers by Jane Healey

4.5 stars

The Secret Stealers is a World War Two espionage story. It begins in Washington DC, where Anna Cavanaugh has been invited to work for Major General William Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services. This is the American version of the British Secret Service and Anna relishes her new responsibilities.

With her photographic memory and fluency in both French and German, Anna is keen to do more against the war which rages in Europe. She’s also worried about some friends whom she met in Paris when she lived there just before the war, so when an opportunity to be a secret agent is offered, with the purpose of discovering what the Germans are covertly working on, Anna leaps at the chance.

What follows is a thrilling spy story set against the background that surrounded the hardships and bravery of the French Resistance fighters. The narrative had plenty of grit and fear, which I expected to read in this genre, as Anna and those she worked with put themselves in great danger. Anna is a likeable character and I enjoyed her determination to fulfil all her roles.

I must say that I did begin the book with a few doubts because the war was going to be seen through the eyes of an American; I was worried that some of the real suffering and peril might have been glossed over. There were one or two stereotypes which might grate with some English readers. However, I wasn’t particularly bothered by them myself, because the rest of the story was very well written and my doubts were blown away.

So overall, this was a good piece of historical fiction and I would happy recommend it to those who enjoy stories set during the war.

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Book description

A female American spy in Nazi-occupied France finds purpose behind enemy lines in a novel of unparalleled danger, love, and daring by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Beantown Girls.

Anna Cavanaugh is a restless young widow and brilliant French teacher at a private school in Washington, DC. Everything changes when she’s recruited into the Office of Strategic Services by family friend and legendary WWI hero Major General William Donovan.

Donovan has faith in her—and in all his “glorious amateurs” who are becoming Anna’s fast friends: Maggie, Anna’s down-to-earth mentor; Irene, who’s struggling to find support from her husband for her clandestine life; and Julia, a cheerful OSS liaison. But the more Anna learns about the organization’s secret missions, the more she longs to be stationed abroad. Then comes the opportunity: go undercover as a spy in the French Resistance to help steal critical intelligence that could ultimately turn the tide of the war.

Dispatched behind enemy lines and in constant danger, Anna is filled with adrenaline, passion, and fear. She’s driven to make a difference—for her country and for herself. Whatever the risk, she’s willing to take it to help liberate France from the shadows of occupation and to free herself from the shadows of her former life.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #WW2 #HistoricalFiction THE LIFELINE by @swiftstory #TuesdayBookBlog

The Lifeline: A wartime saga set in Nazi-occupied Norway (World War Two Sagas)The Lifeline: A wartime saga set in Nazi-occupied Norway by Deborah Swift

4.5 stars

The Lifeline is a World War Two historical fiction. The story takes place during the 1942 occupation of Norway and follows the lives of two Norwegians: Jørgen Nystrøm a wireless transmitter for the Resistance and Astrid Dahl, a school teacher.

Early in the story Nystrøm becomes wanted by the Nazis and he goes on the run, hoping to get to England via the Shetland Islands. Meanwhile, Astrid turns into an agitator, refusing to follow the new Nazi teaching syllabus while inciting her fellow teachers to protest over the new teaching contracts. Her dissent lands her in trouble with the police and she is forced into hiding.

I liked this story, there was plenty of fear and terror which felt realistic. What went on in the schools and how the teachers tried to resist those changes was particularly interesting, as was the escape route via The Shetland islands, which was followed first by Nystrøm and later by Astrid.  I could easily imagine the horrors of the cross-country journey and the fear of reprisals by the Germans against Norwegians found helping refugees or those seen as criminals. The ‘Shetland Bus’ elements were also a first for me, as I had not heard of this before; the men who put their lives on the line each time they went out in the stormy seas were very brave.

I’m really glad that I read this story; it had all the gritty tension that I enjoy in this genre.

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Book description

From the heart of Norway to Shetland in Scotland, one couple fight to overthrow the Nazis…

1942, Nazi-occupied Norway

Schoolteacher Astrid Dahl has always kept out of trouble. But when she is told to teach the fascist Nazi curriculum, she refuses and starts a teacher’s rebellion, persuading eight thousand teachers to go on strike.

The Germans arrest her, and terrified of what punishment her trial might bring, she is forced to go into hiding.

Astrid’s boyfriend, Jørgen Nystrøm, has joined the Norwegian Resistance. When his cover is blown he escapes to Shetland where he is taken on as crew for the Shetland Bus; a dangerous clandestine operation of small fishing boats that supply arms and intelligence to war-torn Norway.

In Shetland, hearing Astrid is in trouble, Jørgen sets off through enemy waters to meet her.

But the Nazis have a spy on Shetland and have been tipped off about the Shetland Bus.

With the enemy in pursuit from both directions, will Astrid and Jørgen be able to find each other?

Or will they be separated forever by the brutal Nazi regime?

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Rosie’s #BookReview of #WW2 #HistoricalFiction MADAM FIOCCA by Suzy Henderson

Madame FioccaMadame Fiocca by Suzy Henderson

3.5 stars

Madame Fiocca is a World War Two historical fiction based on the true story of Nancy Wake.

Nancy was born in New Zealand, but she lived in Australia. She left home at a young age and trained first as a nurse and then as a journalist. During the build up to the second world war, Nancy found work based in Paris. She met and married French industrialist Henri Fiocca and for a short time they lived together in Marseille.

Here Nancy supported the allies where she was part of important escape lines, then later towards the end of the war, in her Special Operations Executive role, she coordinated bands of local resistance fighters. Her bravery was recognised and she was awarded several war medals.

I enjoy reading stories based on the real lives of the brave men and women throughout history and I easily read the first half of this book in one sitting. However, I wasn’t so convinced by the second half of the book. I enjoyed the story of Nancy’s life but I didn’t get as much sense of the atmosphere as I did in the first part. I felt that the real fear and danger was missing from the narrative. So, overall, I liked Nancy’s story but some of its deliverance didn’t quite hit the spot for me.

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Book description

A gripping tale of love and espionage in Occupied France, based on true events.

February 1933: When her aunt gifts her two hundred pounds, twenty-year-old Nancy Wake embarks on a world cruise. Afterwards, she becomes a journalist and finds work in Paris. The city is glamorous, brimming with journalists, artists, and refugees.

While travelling across Europe on assignments, she catches the eye of wealthy industrialist Henri Fiocca, and destiny intervenes.

But as clouds of war swarm over Europe, German troops are on the march. Horrified when she witnesses Nazis whipping Jews on Vienna’s streets, Nancy vows to stop them if she ever has the chance.

When Paris falls, an encounter with a British officer draws her into the heart of an escape network. Soon she is caught in a deadly game of espionage.

As the iron fist of the enemy tightens, Nancy and Henri face a heart-breaking decision.

What happens when doing right is the road to ruin?

A must-read gripping adventure based on the true story of Nancy Wake, Gestapo’s most wanted in World War Two France.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #WW2 resistance-themed drama Never Say Goodbye by Hilary Green

Never Say GoodbyeNever Say Goodbye by Hilary Green

4 stars

Never Say Goodbye is a war-time drama. It is the story of secret agent Diana Stevens, known as Steve, who was sent into eastern France. Her role was a messenger and coordinator of other established spies’ activities. She used her initiative to manage resistance members, organise parachute drops of arms, and to aid sabotaging of railway lines.

The writing style and attention to detail brought out a real sense of danger. I really enjoyed the time spent building Steve’s character and how the story unfolded. There was plenty of tension and atmosphere, and the situations in which Steve found herself felt realistic.

Eastern France is not an area I know, but I could picture the towns and the forests that Steve moved through. I thought the author did well with the minor characters too; at no time did I feel overwhelmed by their numbers. My only niggle was a change to some of the last few chapters when a main character from a previous novel had several chapters from her point of view; they just felt a bit awkward in this book.

Overall a very good World War Two resistance-themed story.

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Book description

Diana knows what she is getting herself into when she applies to become an agent for the Special Operations Executive. The training is demanding—sabotage, codes, hand-to-hand combat, parachute jumps. Soon she finds herself in a Lysander flying to France, where any mistake could mean capture, torture, or death, for her and for the innocent people of France.

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