Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Powerful Multi-Timeline Story Weaves Multiple Threads Into Amazing Tapestry. You know those centuries old tapestries where when you look at them, you’re almost *positive* they *had* to have been painted *after* being woven – and then you see the details and realize that, no, the threads really were placed together to the level of precision required to produce the scene you see from further away? This book is the literary equivalent of one of those types of tapestries.
Yes, particularly early in the tale it is somewhat hard to distinguish who is who in the alternating chapters, as while each chapter is headed by the lady’s real name, more often the story is told (particularly of the actual spies during the war) using their code names. So it can take a while to piece together who is who, which is perhaps the only glaring weakness of this particular tapestry. (We’ll detail a more minor one, that only some will have problems with, momentarily.)
But the piece overall is truly stunning in both its breadth and its attention to minutia level details, all while weaving together a story that while the reader *knows* it is fiction… almost seems all *too* real. Particularly in certain sequences… it gets quite uncomfortable. (Though, to be clear and to alleviate some concerns, never in a sexual way. More along the lines of V for Vendetta’s more uncomfortable sequences… and then these get even worse.)
Indeed, the quibble level issues are that perhaps, given the story told, things are wrapped up a little *too* neatly in the end. If you like every possible string fully tied off, you’re going to like this one. If you prefer more open ended sequences when those are called for… well, I just told you everything gets tied off into nice little bows. The other quibble that some might argue – and would usually argue is more than a quibble, but I’m actively downplaying it here because it *is* a minor issue in the grand scheme of this story and how it is told – is the presence of an LGBT character that could have been, so the argument goes, written with almost any other backstory to achieve the same result, resulting in a character that has that particular background for no other reason than, again going with how others are likely to present this argument, 2000s era sensibilities that perhaps would not have been period accurate.
Still, even accounting for the “inclusions”, to draw from the term for a diamond’s imperfections, this really is one of the stronger WWII historical fiction stories out there, and I’ve read a fair amount within that space. Yes, this is yet again France and in particular D-Day, but those tend to be the stories that get the most attention, both in the historical record and the overall zeitgeist. Overall, truly one of the better and stronger WWII historical fiction tales I’ve ever come across. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details”, including an excerpt from the book, the book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Paris Agent by Kelly Rimmer”