1/2 star for choosing a great topic. Minus umpteen stars for writing style - I cant believe I bothered to finish the book. Amongst the multitude of errors in timeline and historical truths mentioned in other reviews, the author completely ignores the Wartime’s Secrets Act. Marie would never have discussed her participation in SOE with anyone, let alone a citizen, let alone details of missions and names of other participants, particularly in 1946!! I rolled my eyes at least a few times on most pages - the dialogue was so false and included details that should have been in non-dialogue text - but only book I had on a 3 week holiday and a friend gave it to me so I felt obligated to finish. At least it has sparked an interest in reading some non-fiction on the topic now that the WSA has expired.
Disappointing, slow-paced, and boring. This could have and should have been a page-turner. It isn't. Although the book is based on a true story, it lost credibility for me when the I read about Grace learning of Eleanor's death while watching the news on television at a restaurant in NYC.
Other people have noted other glaring historical mistakes. While television was being broadcast in NYC in 1946, it is highly unlikely restaurants and bars had TVs to entertain their patrons.
I enjoyed Orphan Train but cannot recommend this book - just did not make sense at times
4 1/2-5 star read. I loved Jenoff's latest book and thought it was a terrific read. Jenoff introduces us to three women who are the focal points in the book. We meet Grace, who discovers a suitcase in Grand Central Station in New York that links her to Eleanor. Eleanor had been recruited to train and deploy women agents to German occupied France during WWII. Marie was one of her agents, twelve of whom did not survive the end of the war and whose fate was never known officially. By telling each woman's individual story, we are able to piece together what happened to these brave women, forgotten by the government that sent them there and by time. But Grace persists and is able to find some truths. This book grabbed me right from the beginning and had me turning pages to find out what happened next. A terrific read.
If an author chooses to write a novel set in an historic period such as WWII she should at least get the basic facts correct. Early in the book Grace and her husband dream in 1944 about sailing on the Queen Elizabeth II - it was operated by Cunard as both a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship from 1969 to 2008. Josie says that her Indian brother has been missing since the "Battle of the Ardennes". Since the Normandy invasion had not taken place at the time she was speaking, there were not many British soldiers fighting in the Ardennes nor anywhere else in France. The Battle of the Ardennes, better known as the battle of the bulge did not take place until 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. Although the Germans invaded France via the Ardennes, the battles of the campaign were at Arras, Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk. Early in the book Mark, Grace's husband's best friend, explains that he was unable to attend the funeral because he was overseas fighting. Later he states that he was at university throughout the war and them joined the war crimes service. Ms. Jenoff seems to have decided that WWII novels are her forte. She has lost all credibility with me with the gross errors sited and many more. She has lost a reader in me. Kristi & Abby Tabby
The story includes non-sensical details that detract from its credibility, ( how does one see "flashing blue eyes" in pitch darkness?) I found the character of Marie to be nothing short of irritating and completely unbelievable as an agent. Too much formulaic romantic melodrama interwoven into what could have been a very compelling story had it centred far more upon Eleanor and Josie.
An enjoyable read. The cameos of the three women made for a good story.
Marie's ease of travel in occupied France, and the impression that she was the only person to speak fluent French amongst the other characters was unconvincing. A non-French-speaking individual could never have successfully coordinated a "spy circle" or collaborated with the French resistance.
Spellcheck may be responsible for a few errors, the most notable being on page 53 where in 1944, Grace and Tom discuss plans for a belated honeymoon - a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth II. This ship was launched in 1967, its maiden voyage in 1969. Belated indeed!!
The Queen Elizabeth, however, was in service from about 1939 until the 1950's.
Being "old school" I notice these things!
Needlessly worked at creating empathy for the ladies, they could stand on their own. Author departed from reality several times: The Germans kept rigorous track of travelers and no way they could travel about France on trains. The head of the British operations was not fluent in French and would have lasted a week and could never stand to be questioned by French or German authorities. Most educated English of this period spoke French and/or German. Small aircraft originating in France would last one flight and would point like an arrow to the departure point. Far from disappearing spies they caught the Germans loved to torture and then hang them and display them in public along with everyone who had assisted them, entire villages could be wiped out by one careless spy.
This is a very moving tribute to the women of WWII who risked their lives going undercover in Paris. I highly recommend this good read.
Sounds like a compelling story ...will need to read later
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