Author: Pam Denoff
Publication date: January 29, 2019
“From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.
One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.
Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.”
I liked the story, but the writing had me grinding my teeth a bit. Dramatic moments were cut off at the knees by sometimes anemic writing, and I wanted to love it, though I did enjoy the read otherwise.
The novel is told from multiple viewpoints at different points in time. Grace lives in New York City in 1946 and works for a man who helps out the displaced people coming over from post-war Europe. She enters the stories of Marie and Eleanor Trigg by finding Eleanor’s abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station. A packet of photographs tickles her curiosity, and on a whim, she takes them.
The parallel storyline tells us what happened to the women in the photographs. Hand picked by Eleanor to become radio operators working from within Nazi-occupied France, Marie is one of the women we follow. I found her character flat and storyline somewhat unbelievable. Eventually, they are betrayed, and the operation is shut down. No one knows what happened to the twelve women and both Eleanor, and eventually Grace, are determined to find out what became of the lost girls.
A compelling read because of the subject matter, but with some deep flaws, in my opinion.
Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin!