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REVIEW: Her Secret War

There are always trends in literary genres. For the past five years or so, traditional historical fiction publishing has focused on World War II. There are so many incredible stories from the 1940's when the "greatest generation" was leading the world to defeat evil. When I was a kid, my Dad and I would stay up late into the night on weekends, and he'd tell me stories about his experiences as an airplane mechanic in the Pacific. I have a black and white photo of him in a foxhole, wearing his helmet, somewhere in New Guinea.

One of my author friends, who lives in Ireland, recently signed with Avon Books UK, an imprint of Harper Collins. She now has two books in her Sarah Gillespie WWII Espionage Series, and the first is Her Secret

War, which I read earlier this summer. This week, I'd like to share my review with my readers. It's a fast, fun read, and full of twists--especially at the end. (No spoilers here!)

It's always such a joy to be able to share a friend's book! And it's even more delightful to give it a five-star rating because it's DESERVED, not just because I know the author. I have the greatest respect for mystery/thriller authors, because they must excel at plotting. Pam and I sometimes meet online to talk about books, writing, life in general, and she has a fabulous sense of humor, always sharing jokes on Facebook. And of course, the best thing about Pam is that she's a dog-person! She has a one-year old rescue that is cute as a button--little Mollie! Below is a short bio on Pam so you can get to know her, too. Then scroll on down for my review.

All About Pam

Pam is an Irish historical fiction author with Avon Books UK/Harper Collins. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Crime Writers’ Association and the Society of Authors. She is represented by Thérèse Coen, at the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency, London.

Her Secret War, a WW2 historical thriller with lots of twists and turns, was released in October 2020 and reached #1 in the US Kindle Charts. This is the first book of two published by Avon Books UK/Harper Collins and tells the story of an Irish girl who travels to England only to be caught up in the dark world of wartime espionage. The sequel, Her Last Betrayal, was released on 14th April 2022 and also reached #1 bestseller status in several categories, and #25 in the overall Kindle Store on Amazon US.

June 2019 saw the publication of the first book in Pam’s historical mystery series – The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries. No Stone Unturned is a fast-paced adventure set in 1886 and was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Footprints in the Sand, the second book, set in Egypt, was published in March 2020 and won a Silver Medal in the Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Awards 2020. The third book in the series, The Art of Deception, was released in December 2021. A Pocketful of Diamonds, set in Italy, will be released in 2023.

(at right) Mollie: the real genius behind Pam's work, from whom she gets all of her inspiration!

Her Secret War

Reviewed by Brook Allen

Poor young Sarah Gillespie. In the blink of an eye, her world is forever altered and she is forced to rebuild her life amid the chaos of WWII. Lecky skillfully develops Sarah’s character with subtlety and aplomb throughout the book and obviously enjoyed scribing some of her acquaintances: quirky Ruth, unabashed Gladys, and the dear warmth of her Aunt Alice.

(at left) Memorial to the North Strand bombing. Dublin, Ireland.

Sarah wavers through tragedy, supported only by an ex-boyfriend and a kind old neighbor who gives her a rather unorthodox gift. (Something tells me we’ll encounter that gift again in the sequel!) Lecky’s plot includes some excellent antagonists, some of whom are allies—others enemies. The “Dragon”, Miss Whitaker, develops perhaps the most delightful character arc in the story. And a mysterious British naval officer with a limp and a youthful but somewhat lost colleague at work who goes by two names. Hmmm… There’s abundant mystery here.

And I’ll top it all off by adding that it takes true skill as a writer to achieve a surprising and satisfying story twist. To prove her salt, Lecky accomplishes this not once, but TWICE. I’m already salivating over the next book in the series.

For a highly realistic romp that’s crammed with colorful characters, typical 1940’s jargon within the dialogue, and incredible research on the secret world of Supermarine and the development of Spitfires, this book is worth your time. Be sure to give this one a read.


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Aug 31, 2022

Brook - thanks so much for this fantastic review. Coming from such a great writer as yourself, it means a lot. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Molly also says thanks for including her. Looking forward to our next online chat and hopefully, someday, we get to meet in person!

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