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    A well-told historical story

    Hazel, Nora and Marie met as boarding school students in England and have remained close friends into young adulthood. Once World War II is declared they have concerns for Marie, who is originally from Germany and is thus suspect. Their story is told both in the past and in the present. Samantha, Marie's granddaughter. lives in Chicago; after Marie's death in Ontario at age 103, Samantha travels to London to meet with 103 year old Nora. Nora proceeds to tell Samantha the story of the three friends' experiences during the war, including how Nora ended up in Canada. The historical content of this novel is very interesting, as is the absorbing friendship of Hazel, Nora and Marie. A very good read.
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    An excellent look back

    I received a free electronic ARC of this historical novel from Netgalley, Julia Kelly, and Pocket Books - Gallery. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. The Whispers of War is a personal look into the effects of war on London women both before and during the war years. I can highly recommend this work to friends and family. It gives us another look at WWII from non-combatants that we don't often see. Nora, Hazel, and Marie met in the fall of 1928 as they enter school at the Ethelbrook School for Girls, a prestigious boarding school in Herefordshire. The girls are all about 12 years old, isolated from close family, and become support for one another rather quickly. All bright compassionate people despite their family problems, their friendship grows all through their school years. Marie is a German citizen, her parents prominent in Berlin society and too busy to fool with children. They ship Marie off the boarding school in Herefordshire, England, where she excels in her scholastics, and have her spend school vacations with her mother's sister, Tante Matilda Mullens and her family, Onkel Albrecht, and cousin Henrik there in England. At the end of her formal education, though still classified as an alien resident, Marie refused to return to Berlin, choosing instead to take a job at first the switchboard at the Royal Imperial University and then as a secretary for the German Department. In a light flirtation with Neil, one of the shining-light speakers at the German Department, Marie attends a couple of meetings of the CPGB - the Communist Party of Great Britain. Thinking better of the association, Marie backs off but cannot undo her attendance at those controversial group meetings. That and the fact that despite her every effort, she cannot seem to lose her German accent which can only count against her if Britain enters the war. And the Germans have invaded Poland... Soon Marie's status will change to that of 'enemy alien', she loses her job and then her home, and her cousin Henrik will foolishly take actions that will get him and his father interred for treason. Staying out of sight at Nora's home, Marie plans her flight. The girls can perhaps get her out of the country but they must act quickly. Hazel is the only child of a single mother with a bad reputation, and they lose the sponsorship of her natural father on his death when Hazel is 12. In perhaps the nicest thing her mother accomplished in Hazel's lifetime, she has somehow attained admittance to and a scholarship for Ethelbrook School for Girls which puts Hazel into the much-welcomed neutral environment of this boarding school. After school, she is quickly married to Nathaniel Carey and finds employment the cushion needed to shield her from six years of miscarriages and the viciousness of her in-laws. Motherhood has been her only dream. It is hard to let it go. She shines, though, in her positions held within the matchmaker business of Lady Moreton, the Mayfair Matrimonial Agency. And there comes a time when she and Nathaniel can say goodbye to their life together without pain. At loose ends, Hazel moves in with Nora. And Nora. Nora is the socialite granddaughter of one of the Founding Few, the late nineteenth-century founders of The Harlan Club, the social club for women and place-to-be in London. Inheriting her membership, Nora has ensured that her friends will always be welcome at the Harlan. All of their adult life they have met there on the last Friday night of the month for supper and a quiet catch-up with their worlds. Despite her social standings and her pushy mother, Nora is determined to work with the Home Office's Air Raid Precautions Department. Sir Gerald is just as determined to keep women out of the decision-making parts of government. Nora's really good ideas are carried out under the Gerald umbrella, and occasionally he doesn't even read her proposals. And then it becomes known that enemy alien Marie is living under her roof - and Sir Gerald has grounds to fire Nora. And France falls to the German forces... And we see this all transpire through the eyes of Samantha and David, from the current time. A very interesting presentation and a colorful, absorbing story told very well!
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