Monday, March 6, 2017

A very different sort of World War II book

War, Spies & Bobby SoxWar, Spies & Bobby Sox by Libby Fischer Hellmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book by Libby Fischer Hellmann depicted a different view of World War II, by characters in the United States, in three different stories. In The Incidental Spy, Lena is sent to the U.S. by her parents to keep her safe. She leaves behind the boy she loves (she's 16) and moves to Chicago with a cousin/aunt and becomes a secretary in the Physics lab at the University of Chicago, where scientists are working on secret plans in the nuclear weapons project. She eventually meets and marries Karl, one of the scientists, and they have a son. Then life becomes dangerous for Lena, she is forced to become a spy, and she has to decide where to align her loyalties. The ending was not what I expected as there was an unexpected twist!

The second story is P.O.W. and is about a young girl, Mary Catherine, who lives on a family farm in Illinois, outside Chicago. German POW's are sent to the farm to help with apple picking (who knew the US housed POWs during WWII??). One of the prisoners, not a good guy at all, catches Mary Catherine's eye. She is forced to make choices that do not end well for anyone, and is she is forced to leave home and move to Chicago and take care of herself.

The third story is The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared is about a Yiddish actress in Chicago during the war years, who is forced to gather information about a German sympathizer. This was my least favorite story.

But, taken together, this trilogy of stories, brings together part of what was happening in the U.S. during the war years. The book is extremely well-written, a quick read, very interesting, and well-researched. I highly recommend all of Ms. Hellmann's books that I've read so far!

***I received an e-book copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review but I also purchased a copy for my library.

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