Lately, I just can’t find enough time to read.
I always end my day with at least 20 minutes of reading in bed, but that isn’t cutting it these days. I either want to get through a book so that I can get to the next book, or I just can’t put the book down because it is so captivating. This read fell into the latter category
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for historical fiction, more so than the average reader. I’d also be hard pressed to read a book set during World War II that I didn’t love. But some books just catch you more than others, and this was one of them.
I’m endlessly amazed by every story I read about the bravery, perseverance, resilience, and unwavering strength displayed by people who lived through and/or survived the atrocities of World War II. I think I most love reading these stories because I believe it is important to pay tribute to these courageous souls by hearing their stories, or when we are reading works of fiction, at the very least to read stories of what men and women who are unacknowledged specifically in history would have endured.
What’s it about, anyway?
The SOE (Special Operations Executive) was a British WWII organization that employed agents throughout occupied Europe. These agents carried out missions that were pivotal to Allied success, many of them doing so at their own demise.
This story is told from the perspectives of Eleanor, Marie, and Grace alternately over a period of about three years. The story traces the women’s involvement with the SOE in different ways, and highlights the value of these women during a time when women were still trying to earn their place at the table, so to speak. The first narrator stumbles upon a mysterious suitcase, of which she ends up the unintended possessor of its contents. Unable to leave well enough alone, she embarks on an emotional journey to learn the truth of what she has found.
Characters You’ll Love
Eleanor… Eleanor Trigg is a mere secretary working for the SOE until her outspokenness changes the course of her life. She begins a women’s division of agents for whom she is responsible. Eleanor simultaneously attempts to keep “her girls” safe in a dangerous world while also navigating a world that is dictated by men.
Marie… Marie Roux is the embodiment of women who have so much to offer but often hesitate due to a lack of confidence. Marie becomes a part of the SOE unexpectedly and is led down a path a love, loss, and bravery that she never would have imagined for herself.
Grace… Grace Healey finds herself a widow in post-war New York City. She stumbles upon a mystery involving Eleanor and the SOE. Driven by curiosity and her own grief, she attempts to discover what became of all those women who were employed by Eleanor.
Our three narrators take us on an adventure from New York City, to the British offices of London, to mid and post war-torn France and Germany.
What Kept Me Reading
I love a story told by multiple narrators. I find myself becoming incredibly invested in their stories, thoughts, and feelings. The characters were so well-developed and cliffhangers were so well-placed. I found myself chasing the truth along with Eleanor, Marie, and Grace. I found myself wondering about the real-life women who must have mirrored the characters.
While this is a work of fiction, the author made the following suggestions if you prefer a non-fiction work on the same topic:
I know my own curiosity may require that I learn more about the real secret agents of WWII!