5 stars at least!
Kate Quinn is the queen of historical thriller/fiction!
I hope she lives a very long time and get to write many more books because I am totally in awe and addicted to her writing!
She weaves a double timeline again like she usually does, going back and forth between the beginning of the war and after the war until we only follow the “now”. By that time, I was gripping the edge of my seat as I was hoping we could catch the traitor on time!!!
OK let’s backtrack some here.
We all begin in the present with a letter from Beth, kept in an asylum, to her former friends. A cry for help as the end is looming close. A call to come save her and unmask a traitor who betrayed everyone during the war. Someone working alongside them all at Bletchley Park.
We soon are thrown into the past to follow Osla, Mab and Beth being recruited by the very secretive and classified Bletchley Park.
I love many things about Kate Quinn’s stories but especially that she chooses to go for less known aspects of history and also that she has the knack to make her characters feel real. They certainly are multi-dimensional. With their past, their cracks, their fears and their hopes.
I had no favorite between the three women who could not have been more different and who, without the war, would probable never have breathed the same air, even less formed a friendship!
Osla was high born, Lord Mountbatten’s niece. She neve lacked of anything in life but has always been overlooked as the silly deb. The war and work at Bletchley Park will be her chance to prove others she is worth something. She’ll put to use her impeccable knowledge of German and she’ll be a brilliant translator. But even with her prowess, she will be put down and dismissed so many times by men that it was infuriating!
Mab, or Queen Mab, comes from East End London poverty.
She trained herself to speak and hold herself like wealthy and noble women. She has an iron will and bitchy attitude. She will claw her way in life and is determined to find a wealthy husband at Bletchley Park. Armed with a steel backbone, her nickname, Queen Mab, was just perfect for her.
But Mab hid more secrets than Imelda Marcos had shoes in her closet and they will unravel throughout the story.
When I learned all the truth behind her bravado and ambition, my heart went out for her.
Beth is the grey mouse.
She has always lived under the oppressive thumb of her mother and has heard all her life that she was stupid. She has no diploma and seemed destined to stay the spinster in her parent’s house, caring for he abusive mother. Only, with her extraordinary gift at crosswords she will prove to be a tremendous asset to Bletchley Park cryptanalyst ‘s team!
It was fascinating to see how her mind worked in patterns and swirls. How completely immerged in her work Beth became. Sometimes never realizing that it was a new day or even two days later when she immerged, bleary eyed, from her decoding fever.
On a background of World War II and cryptography, filled with historical figures like Winston Churchill, Alan Turing, Lord Mountbatten and Prince Philippe of Greece soon to be Elizabeth’s husband, we follow that riveting friendship cementing between these three women just to be torn into pieces by the oath of secrecy they took while joining Bletchley Park.
But the threat of a traitor will force them to work back together one more time, in a race against the clock to save Beth and the future of England.
PS I also loved the brief cameo with Ian Graham from The Huntress!
And now I am off to read more about enigma machines and the role people from Bletchley Park played to win WWII.
A MUST READ for lovers of historical fiction / thriller.
Thanks for reading!