Historical fiction is a genre that I don’t normally read. I have found that I prefer reading about the actual history event as opposed to a fictionalized telling of it. There are exceptions to this of course but I struggle to find historical fiction books that I love. This book hasn’t changed my mind on the genre but I did enjoy the mystery of the story and the writing was well done.
A few years after the war, Grace is trying to get on with her life after the death of her husband and her subsequent move to New York. When she stumbles upon an abandoned suitcase at Grand Central Station, she finds herself intrigued by a set of photographs found within. Who are the women in the photos and why was the case left behind? When she discovers that the women were part of a secret spy ring during the war, she is determined to find out what happened to the girls.
There were things that I really liked about this book. I enjoyed that Jenoff went back and forth between Grace, Eleanor (the leader of the spy ring), and Marie (a young recruit to the cause). I listened to the audio book and appreciated that three different women read for each character. It really helped me keep track of who was who and put me into the minds of the characters. I could have read a whole book about Eleanor and Marie as I found them to be the most intriguing characters and their stories to be interesting. Marie started off a bit annoying but I ended up caring about her the most and wanted her to survive. Jenoff kept the mystery going and I found myself wanting to find out what happened to the girls, even as the story was winding down. I didn’t care for Grace and found her story to be superfluous. I thought Jenoff could have introduced the mystery in a different way and didn’t need her character at all. This takes me back to my issue with historical fiction….I wanted more about the actual people these characters were based on and less of the filler to make things interesting. The story of the lost girls is fascinating and I would have appreciated more factual information. Maybe I’m missing the point of the book but I wanted more history and less fiction.
This book kept me interested and the mystery of what happened to the girls kept me reading. I liked most of the characters and found their stories and experiences to be entertaining. This genre just doesn’t appeal to me but I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction, especially if you are looking for stories about strong women.
Author: Pam Jenoff
Rating: 3.5 Stars