Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Librarian Spy: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London comes a moving new novel inspired by the true history of America’s library spies of World War II.

Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.

Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.

As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published July 26, 2022
by Hanover Square Press
3.5/5 stars

This was one of my anticipated reads of 2022, I really enjoyed the authors previous book The Last Bookshop in London not just for its bookish theme but reading another part of history I was unfamiliar with. The Librarian Spy follows suit in that it takes place in Portugal, which was neutral territory during the war.

Told from two different POVs with one being a French resistant worker in Lyons and the other an American sent to work in Lisbon, Portugal. I enjoyed reading about the historical details that occurred not just in Nazi occupied France but from the perspective of life in Portugal.  It wasn’t just about the lifestyle there but the work that was done for the war effort was something new to me.

The Librarian Spy is a story of heartache, resilience and perseverance. It was well written and the author definitely did her homework with her knowledge of the time shining through. Reading the author notes and knowing the extent of her research made me appreciate that aspect of the story. However, for me it didn’t draw me in like I was hoping it would, there wasn’t a lot to separate this book from other WW2 novels, or maybe I have just read too many and my expectation level is elevated.

All in all I enjoyed my read and look forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for a honest review

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