A Secret Courage, by Tricia Goyer

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

American Emma Hanson came to England to study at Oxford, but joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at the height of World War II. She is stationed at beautiful and historic Danesfield House west of London as part of the highly secretive Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

Englishman Will Fleming is a handsome young artist who has been commissioned by the British government to record the changing landscape in paintings. His path intersects with Emma’s when his real mission—tracking Nazi spies—leads him to Danesfield House, the target of a sinister plot.

Emma and Will become friends, but neither can reveal the true nature of their assignment. Can their relationship grow amid such secrecy? And can Will save Danesfield House—and Emma and her coworkers—before it’s too late?

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed Tricia Goyer’s previous World War 2 novels, and this is about a war location in the UK that I’d not heard of previously.

My Take:

I’m often drawn to historical novels set in my home country, and World War 2 novels often give me a glimpse of what my grandparents might’ve experienced during that dark time. I occasionally learn something new from them as well; I’d not heard of Danesfield House before reading A Secret Courage, although I knew that aerial reconnaissance was a vital part of the war effort.

The opening scene was set in 1940 and showed Will being chased by the London police through the city. Although it was a tense passage, I admit that I didn’t quite understand how it was important to the plot. Readers were next introduced to Emma at her job in 1943, and then Berndt Eldwin who was obviously the bad guy. I couldn’t see where the plot was going, however, until some way into the book. As the tension slowly built, I felt at times like Emma. I didn’t know who to trust. I knew that Berndt couldn’t have been acting alone, but I didn’t guess the identity of his co-conspirator until that person was introduced at the climax.

Although Emma is American, there are several mentions of her mother being British. One description of Mrs. Hanson really stood out to me: that she was someone who “buttered her bread one bite at a time.” I wanted to shout out, “Yes!” It might not seem as anything other than a passing comment but it rang true for me, because this is something I do.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It isn’t what I would call a perfectly happy ending, but it is one of hope. I thought there were some floating loose ends concerning supporting characters and, since, this is the first book of a new series set during the war, I’d hoped the story of these characters might’ve been continued. It appears, however, that the second book in the series will be about new characters.

Thank you to Harvest House for my complimentary electronic copy of A Secret Courage, which I downloaded via NetGalley.

Have you read A Secret Courage? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Harvest House

Publication Date: 01 April 2017

Page Count: 304

Read more on:   Tricia Goyer’s Website   Harvest House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Anchor in the Storm, by Sarah Sundin

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love?

Nothing slows Lillian Avery down–not her personal challenges and certainly not America’s entry into World War II. She finally has a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The demands of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling?

As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

My Take:

The second title in the Waves of Freedom series continues the story of the Avery family at war. It opens with the family hearing the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Three of the sons are in the US Navy and one has already had an encounter at sea with a German U-Boat. He’s come out of it relatively unscathed, but his friend and ship mate Arch hasn’t been so fortunate. Today, Arch might be diagnosed with PTSD. Instead, he’s told to “get over it.” He’s not alone either and this is a book that looks at the consequences of hiding one’s mental state from those who depend on you.

Anchor in the Storm Sarah SundinAs I read Anchor in the Storm I could feel the tension rising through the pages. Drama comes on many fronts, both on land and at sea. Both Arch and Lillian are insecure, wanting recognition for who they are and not what they are. The majority of the other characters are sympathetic and likeable, which means the death of one of them has extra impact. (This is a war, death happens.) The plot flows smoothly, and there’s a twist in it towards the end that I hadn’t seen coming.

While the series is mainly about the Avery family, it also focuses on Lillian and her room-mates. One of them is her brother’s fiancée, Mary, who was the star of the first book. I wasn’t surprised to learn that another of the room-mates will feature along with another Avery son in the third installment coming next year. I’m also fairly certain there will be a fourth book, featuring the final Avery son and the other room-mate! It isn’t necessary to have read Through Waters Deep before embarking on Anchor in the Storm as both books stand alone, but if you enjoy this novel you’ll almost certainly want to go back and read it.

Thank you to Revell and Litfuse Publicity for my complimentary copy of Anchor in the Storm, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour

Have you read Anchor in the Storm? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 03 May 2016

Page Count: 400

Read more on:   Sarah Sundin’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Cairo Code, by Glenn Meade

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

The international bestseller takes you on a fast-paced, nail-biting thrill ride from the Great Pyramids in Cairo, to behind the Nazi lines in Berlin, to the very seat of democracy as our hero tries to unravel a plot that could kill FDR and Winston Churchill.

To save the Western Allies, he must kill the woman he loves…

November 1943: Adolf Hitler sanctioned his most audacious mission ever—to kill US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill while they visit Cairo for a secret conference to plan the Allied invasion of Europe, an invasion which threatens imminent defeat for Germany.

Only one man is capable of leading the defiant Nazi mission—Major Johann Halder, one of the Abwehr’s most brilliant and daring agents. He is a man with a tortured soul and a talent for the impossible. Accompanied by an expert undercover team and Rachael Stern, the young and beautiful Egyptologist, Halder must race against time across a hostile desert to reach Cairo and successfully complete the assignment, or else forfeit his life and the life of his son.

When US military intelligence hears about the plan, they assign Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Weaver, one of their best officers, to hunt down and eliminate Halder and his team. But for Weaver, as well as for Halder and Stern, there’s more than the balance of war and the lives of the Allied leaders at stake—a pact of love and friendship will be tested in the frantic, high-stakes chase to the death.

Based on a real attempt to kill the President, The Cairo Code is a breathless, suspenseful thriller—a heart-wrenching tale of friendship, love, and treachery set against the exotic and intriguing backdrop of wartime Egypt.

My Take:

I first came across Glenn Meade last year when I read The Last Witness. It was an immensely powerful novel, so I was happy to be offered the chance to read and review The Cairo Code. What I didn’t know until I opened it was that it previously published as The Sands of Sakkara in 1999. I don’t mind since I’ve not read anything else by Meade, but caveat lector…

The novel starts with a reporter tracking down Harry Weaver after a body in a Cairo morgue is identified as Johann Halder. The only problem is that Halder supposedly died in 1943. After verifying the reporter’s credentials, Weaver starts telling his story and readers are taken back to 1939 and a friendship interrupted by the onset of war.

If I had to judge The Cairo Code purely as Christian fiction then it would rate incredibly low. Howard Books is Simon & Schuster’s “primary imprint for faith-based books”, but I couldn’t spot anything in this book to qualify it as such. There are some distinctly non-Christian goings-on in the narrative with violence, theft, adultery, scenes in bordellos, etc. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who only reads Christian fiction.

As an historical thriller, however, I have to say that I loved it. The Cairo Code is full of action and tense moments. There are great descriptions of 1940s Egypt and it’s detailed enough that I could see the scenes taking place in my mind. The characters are written in such a way that there are obvious good and bad guys, and also those you can’t help liking even though you know you shouldn’t because they’re the enemy. Additionally, there’s a stunning twist toward the end that I NEVER saw coming!

Thank you to Howard Books for my complimentary copy of Cairo Code, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The Cairo Code? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)

Publication Date: 19 April 2016

Page Count: 592

Read more on:   Glenn Meade’s Website   Howard Books’ Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com