As World War II rages across Europe and the Pacific, its impact ripples through communities in the heartland of America. A farm girl is locked in a dangerous love triangle with two Germans soldiers held in an Illinois POW camp. Another German, a war refugee, is forced to risk her life spying on the developing Manhattan Project in Chicago. And espionage surrounds the disappearance of an actress from the thriving Jewish community of Chicago's Lawndale. In this trio of tales, acclaimed thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann beautifully depicts the tumultuous effect of war on the home front and illustrates how the action, terror, and tragedy of World War II was not confined to the front lines.
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Great historical thriller!
The emotion of Lena in the first novella, The Incidental Spy, is moving. This is not simply an action packed book, there is lots of emotion and tensions run high. It is written with such grace that you can feel the mother's pain and hopelessness to end up spying for her sworn enemies.
They do a great job of distinguishing characters in dialogue and bringing emotion into the voices. I loved the German accents that I got from listening that I wouldn't have heard in my own head.
I don't normally read historical fiction, but I love Libby Fischer Hellman and she genre-bends like no other author I've ever read. War, Spies, and Bobby Sox is a collection of 2 novellas and a short story that are definitely historical thrillers. There is romance, espionage, mystery, murder, and war in each of these stories that keep the reader turning pages. We opened with The Incidental Spy, and I give this story 5 stars. This novella is fast paced and gut-wrenching; Ms. Hellman was able to put me in Lena's situation and give me compassion and empathy for her situation and her child. The second story, POW, seems like a lighthearted love triangle in the beginning, but has sinister undertones throughout, and comes to a dramatic ending. This novella also gets 5 stars from me! Then, we get the short story, The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared, which is a very fast story, so fast in fact that it seems clipped. I am not usually a fan of short stories, and this one could have definitely been fleshed out a bit more.
Overall, War, Lies, and Bobby Sox is a fantastic historical thriller that is made up of two absolutely fantastic novellas that will stay with you long after you have finished them. I was sucked in from the very beginning and couldn't stop listening. I did listen to the audiobook, so I cannot comment on any grammatical/spelling/formatting issues. The narrator, Diane Piron-Gelman did a fabulous job of differentiating between the characters during the dialogue and even the different German men. This was a high quality audiobook that is definitely worth your money.
The author, Libby Fischer Hellman gave me an audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my opinions, although I am very grateful to her for the chance to listen to her book.
WWII Homefront with a bit of Cinema Noir