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Last week, I observed the 200th anniversary of the coronation of King George IV. Heather joined a book tour for The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall by Lotte James. Tina enjoyed the mystery in Dead Man’s Grave by Neil Lancaster. Jean reflected on author Elizabeth Goudge on the occasion of re-reading The White Witch.
Book: The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein
Genre: World War II novel
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Publication date: 2020
Source: ebook from the library
Summary: A variety of misfits find themselves in a small town in northeast Scotland at the beginning of World War II. Louisa is too young and too dark-skinned to make a conventional path for herself in the UK, but she’s bold and just shy of desperate. She takes the job of caregiver for an elderly woman, Jane, who harbors her own secret — she was born in Germany, which at that moment in history makes her heritage even more suspect than Louisa’s Jamaican relatives.
They live near an airbase that houses Bristol Blenheim bombers. Flight Lieutenant Jamie Balfour-Stuart would prefer the slicker fighter planes, but he intends to make the most of the underpowered machine that he’s been assigned.
The airbase’s driver and gofer is billeted with Louisa and Jane, since she’s a woman. Ellen, too, has a secret about her heritage.
These four mismatched people use trust, friendship, and a blending of skills to take an unexpected opportunity to make a difference in the war.
Thoughts: Code Name Verity is one of my favorite books of all time. This book is a prequel to that one, although I didn’t remember the overlapping parts, so it’s perfectly fine to read as a stand-alone book.
It’s taken me forever to write this review after I read the book, so I can tell you what stuck with me:
- Unique and likeable characters
- The harshly beautiful setting, especially as viewed from the air through the windows of a Bristol Blenheim
- The fun (if not entirely realistic) way that these characters get themselves into the story of the British effort to break German codes
Appeal: As much as I loved Code Name Verity, it was a devastating book to read. No WWII book is going to be devoid of tragedies, but The Enigma Game will be a better choice for sensitive readers.
Have you read this book? What did you think?