England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.
Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.
The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.
Last year, Tracy Groot gave us a snapshot of life in Civil War Andersonville, Georgia in The Sentinels of Andersonville. Her latest release moves us forward to another conflict, World War II, and one of the bleakest times for the English forces during the war. Maggie Bright starts with a scene in Belgium involving a soldier with shellshock. The injured man is unable to utter anything except quotes by the poet Milton, specifically from Paradise Lost. This becomes a running theme throughout the book as he is escorted to Dunkirk to be evacuated.
On the other side of the English Channel is Clare, experiencing independence for the first time as the new owner of a yacht. She lets out rooms on it, and has a very small group of acquaintances. She’s been alone for most of her life, but her circle is expanded after her boat is burgled. Thanks to Maggie Bright, her life will be changed forever.
Tracy Groot writes in a certain style that’s difficult to describe. Her characters belong to real life and speak appropriately. Descriptions aren’t that detailed but still pulled me into the story. The evacuation took place before the Battle of Britain, so there’s nothing about the Germans bombing London or the south coast. But there are scenes from history, such as the Westminster Abbey prayer service which was attended by the King and Queen of England. It’s written with a touch of humor that offsets the start horror of war. After all, humor is often what kept the British people going.
Although the publisher bills Clare as the main character, this is not just Clare’s story. Nor is it that of the American illustrator, the retired school teacher, the English policeman, or the soldiers trying to escape the oncoming Nazi forces in France. This is the story of Maggie Bright, who did what men demanded of her during a time of great danger. I don’t want to give anything away, but I had a tear in my eye when I read the final few pages and I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too.
Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for my complimentary copy of Maggie Bright, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Maggie Bright? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: 16 April 2015
Page Count: 368