Steffie, Fran and Ailsa all come from very different backgrounds. Yet all have been specially chosen to join the war work at Bletchley. They form a strong friendship but their abilities lead them towards danger and war…
The Bletchley Girls is an historical novel beginning in 1940 as three women arrive to work for the war effort at Bletchley. It begins in England but the women’s journeys becomes more international in scope.
Steffie has lived the high life all over Europe and has an Italian fiance. Fran is dealing with feelings she does not understand towards a fellow recruit. Ailsa comes from a remote Scottish island and has limited social experience. The three women become firm friends, supporting each other whilst also abiding by the Official Secrets Act.
I was fascinated by the detail of the war developments and the characters’ reactions to the crises, danger and personal challenges they encounter. In particular their love lives are complicated: Steffie’s heart and loyalties are torn between her homeland and the man she loves. Fran has never had a romantic entanglement but now her heart is engaged and she isn’t sure how to react. Ailsa has never left her island but is ready to travel the world instead of marrying a man she doesn’t love.
All three women and their experiences felt authentic. The book is written in the third person but focuses on each woman to give their perspective and further their story. We experience the trauma of war through their perspectives and I was particularly affected by the heartbreaking cries of the young men in crashing planes. There is plenty of drama but it is the little emotional moments that make this book special.
The Bletchley Girls is an entertaining and dramatic historical novel about brave women and their war experience.
1940, Bletchley Park: I stand alone outside the gates, with no idea what lies ahead. It’s cold and dark. All I have are my suitcases and a handful of letters from my fiancé. Every day, the bombs have been getting closer. I’m only an ordinary civilian, but I was asked to come here in secret, and I’m determined to fight in whatever way I can for freedom and for love…
Inspired by the unforgettable true story of the women of Bletchley Park, this utterly gripping novel of secrets, love and courage shines a light on the incredible wartime work that changed the course of history.
When Stefania Carmichael steps into the mysterious world of Bletchley Park, she immediately finds herself signing the Official Secrets Act. In whispers, she is told that she’s been recruited because of her talent for languages. Before the war ripped Europe apart, Steffie was living in Rome, charming everyone she met with her quick wit and sharp mind, and engaged to the man of her dreams, handsome and brave Matteo. Now everything has changed.
With secrets swirling around the building, Steffie finds it hard to know who to trust, until she forms a close bond with two other new recruits. Ailsa is a gifted radio operator and Fran a logistics genius, and the two women help Steffie navigate her new world of codebreaking. But even though Steffie’s skills are crucial to the war effort, her position is put in jeopardy when Italy joins the opposite side of the battle – and her beloved fiancé becomes the enemy.
Her heart belongs to Matteo, but Steffie knows she must do whatever it takes to help England win the war. So when she is asked to go on a classified mission, she jumps at the chance. But it soon becomes clear there’s a traitor in their midst, and all eyes turn to her…
With her life at stake, can she prove herself innocent and save the man she loves? Or will Steffie lose everything?
An absolutely addictive World War Two novel of friendship, betrayal and heartbreak. Perfect for fans of The Rose Code, The Alice Network and The Nightingale.
Anna Stuart lives in Derbyshire with her campervan-mad husband, two hungry teenagers and a slightly loopy dog. She was hooked on books from the moment she first opened one in her cot so is thrilled to now have several of her own to her name. Having studied English literature at Cambridge university, she took an enjoyable temporary trip into the ‘real world’ as a factory planner, before returning to her first love and becoming an author. History has also always fascinated her. Living in an old house with a stone fireplace, she often wonders who sat around it before her and is intrigued by how actively the past is woven into the present, something she likes to explore in her novels. Anna loves the way that writing lets her ‘try on’ so many different lives, but her favourite part of the job is undoubtedly hearing from readers. You can reach her on Facebook @annastuartauthor or Twitter @annastuartbooks.
Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Anna Stuart here: