Fiction

The Secrets of Latimer House by Jules Wake

About the book

In the war against Hitler every secret counts…

Society heiress Evelyn Brooke-Edwards is a skilled interrogator – her beauty making her a non-threat in the eyes of the prisoners.

Farm girl Betty Connors may not be able to type as she claimed, but her crack analytical skills soon find her unearthing covert connections.

German ex-pat Judith Stern never expected to find herself listening in to German POW’s whispered conversations, but the Nazis took her father from her so she will do whatever it takes to help the Allies end this war.

Billeted together in the attic of Latimer House – a place where secrets abound – Evelyn, Betty and Judith soon form a bond of friendship that carries them through the war. Because nothing is stronger than women united.

Tucked away in the Buckinghamshire countryside, Latimer House, a grand country estate, stands proudly – a witness to some of greatest secrets of WW2.

Used by the SOE to hold Nazi prisoners of war, this stunning historical novel is inspired by the untold story of the secret listeners of ‘M Room’ who worked day and night to help the Allies win the war.

What I thought

Last time I read a book set during WWII I decided that would be the last one. I felt I’d read everything there was to know and they were becoming a little bit samey. However when I read the blurb for this book after being invited to read it by One More Chapter it captured my interest. Not only that it sounds so interesting – who doesn’t love a bit of espionage, but also the author Jules Wake who I know normally writes contemporary romance fiction, this looked like something of a departure from that and I was intrigued.

Well I’m so glad I decided to read it because I loved it. Perhaps I found it a little bit slow to start off with. Perhaps I found Evelyn Brooke-Edwards initially a little off-putting with her privileged background, but glad to say she turned out to be a lovely, kind hearted but strong character who didn’t shy away from hard work despite her social standing.

Betty is a brilliant character. She lives in the village with her mum and younger sister but later moves into Latimer House sharing a small attic room with Judith and Evelyn, mainly to get away from her bullying boyfriend. She’s always cheerful and fun loving and is very proud when she’s promoted from typist to analyst, helped very much by her almost photographic memory.

Then there’s Judith who comes across as a very staid, serious kind of person who prefers to keep herself to herself and doesn’t approve of people having fun, certainly not at first anyway. But then that’s hardly surprising since she’s a Jewish refugee from Germany, fleeing to Britain when her home town was invaded and taken over by Nazi rule.

Some of the story is related to the work the women do in relation to German prisoners of war. They are brought to Latimer House to enable covert intelligence to be gathered from the prisoners of what is going on militarily within the German forces. The rest of the story surrounds the women’s family lives, their romantic interests and above all their devotion and allegiance to the fight in beating Hitler and hopefully putting an end to a war that had gone on far too long and destroyed too many lives.

In spite of the story being based in the throes of war, there are many light hearted moments in the book and the three women, though from very different backgrounds become the very best of friends, always there covering each others back and offering support.

It’s a real page turner of a book, always with something new and exciting happening, keeping the reader engrossed. I loved it and am so glad I decided to read it, it’s an excellent first novel in a new genre for this wonderful author.

♥ Happy Reading ♥

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thank you to One More Chapter publishers for an advance review copy of the book via Netgalley

The book publishes today 30 August in e-format and is out in paperback in 25 November 2021. Available on Amazon and other e-book retailer websites.

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