This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on August 11, 2020
Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
A shipwrecked woman washes up on a Cornish shore and realizes the evidence of her past have sunk beneath the waves and she has the chance to start over. He rescues her and learns some of her secrets even while keeping a few of his own during the time of the second world war. A previous book that was thoroughly satisfying taught me to look on another book from the author with a sense of eagerness.
The story begins in 1943 when an Irish woman comes to consciousness on a lonesome beach pounded by surf and is rescued and cared for by a man and his dog. Her ship was torpedoed by a German sub and it dawns on her that she has a clean slate. Her shorn hair and thread bare chemise with numbers on the tag lead Lord Jack Trewella to suspicions that she was a prisoner of war or even a spy. Alice shares with Jack some of her story that she asks he keep to himself even as she strives to move on with her life and help where she can with the Land Girls in Jack’s fields. Alice is just trying to regroup after the earlier years of her life have led her to something unexpected more than once and now this when she is stunned to discover what Jack has been keeping secret from her while he decides whether to trust her. This leads to a wholly new direction of the story into the shadowy parts of the war effort that Jack and some others are doing. If they survive, there is a growing possibility of something between them.
When I started reading, I had a whole different idea of where I thought this book was going and there were times I was content to pick something else up to read or listen to. Then it finally took off for me and finished strong.
Alice is introduced and is the sole narrator for the story. She encounters her rescuer Jack who is reserved at first even while interested in her though he wonders if she is a spy. Then there are others who were also displaced by the war and the locals not to mention the incredible descriptions of the area so it was like another major character. I thought the whole story would be a gentle tale of Alice starting new and getting over her past with a building romance. It had that, but also took a turn for the suspenseful when Jack approaches her with an incredible task that she is uniquely suited for. But, even then, the story never gets gritty like some WWII era stories can. It is softer even when things are in a tight spot for Alice. Part of that are the times it drops into the past as Alice remembers and works through what happened and comes to terms with it. The romance is strong and I liked Jack for her even though Alice was tentative and doubting, but in truth this is Alice’s story of finding herself and finding her place.
This was my first time listening to Alana Kerr Collins as a narrator and I thought she did well with Alice’s Irish accent and the rest of the cast including French accents. Her tone and pacing were a good fit to the story. I feel bad admitting that I never connected with her narration. There was nothing wrong and I can fully recommend her work, but it is a personal preference that I found her voice distracting and hard for me to settle into the story each time I jumped back in to listen.
All in all, it was a solid WWII romantic suspense story that was parts internal conflict, slow-burn romance, and tense suspense set in two engaging locations. This is only my second book by the author, but I’ve already got the urge to grab up another of her books since I enjoy her style. Historical fiction, romance, and suspense fans should definitely give this one a look.
My thanks to Brilliance Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #190
Historical Fiction #115
COYER Quarantine #84
About the Book
As World War II rages, love, mystery, and secrets collide on the English coast in a riveting novel by the bestselling author of The Snow Gypsy.
In April 1943 a young woman washes ashore on a deserted beach in Cornwall, England. With shorn hair and a number stitched on her tattered chemise, Alice is the survivor of a ship torpedoed by a German U-boat. She’s found by the mysterious Viscount Jack Trewella, who suspects that she’s a prisoner of war or a spy. But the secret Alice asks Jack to keep is one he could never have guessed, and it creates an intimate bond he never expected.
With her true identity hidden beneath the waves, Alice grasps the chance to reinvent herself. But as she begins to fall for Jack, she discovers he has secrets too – ones echoing the legend of a mermaid said to lure men into the dark depths of the sea.
For two strangers in the shadow of war, lost love, and haunting memories, is it time to let go of the past? Or to finally face it – whatever the risks?
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