Review: The Librarian Spy

Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.

Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.

As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.

I’m not usually one for historical fiction, as I’ve mentioned before, especially if it’s not written with dual-timelines (past and present). This was all World War II era, following the lives of two women who fought to resist the Nazis in the best way they could – with their brains. 

Ava is a librarian from America who is recruited to work in Lisbon, Portugal, to collect underground anti-newspapers with the real stories of what’s happening in the concentration camps and occupied France. Meanwhile, Helene (under the alias, Elaine) is a new recruit to the Resistance after her husband is arrested, and helps to write and deliver the anti-Nazi newspapers. The two women’s stories are tied together when Elaine sends a secret message in the newspaper to help a Jewish woman and her son, and Ava figures out the message and sends for help.

For a genre I don’t normally read, I enjoyed this one. I loved how the women’s stories came together, and I really loved it when they finally met one another after the war was over. I did get tired of the story a few times, and was about to put it down more than once, but then a new twist in the story would come and I had to keep reading. I’m not saying the book was written in a way that made me disinterested, this is just a hard genre for me to get into. I had to read it though, because one of the characters was a librarian. I’m glad I stuck with it because the story itself was so good, and I really enjoyed the ending.

So if you love historical fiction, especially stories that take place in the WWII era, I recommend this one.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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