Monday, July 6, 2020

Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook
by Celia Rees

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 512
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  World War II has just ended, and Britain has established the Control Commission for Germany, which oversees their zone of occupation. The Control Commission hires British civilians to work in Germany, rebuild the shattered nation and prosecute war crimes. Somewhat aimless, bored with her job as a provincial schoolteacher, and unwilling to live with her stuffy genteel parents any longer, twentysomething Edith Graham applies for a job with the Commission—but is instead recruited by the OSS. To them, Edith is perfect spy material…single, ordinary-looking, with a college degree in German. And there’s another thing—the OSS knows that Edith’s brother went to Oxford with one of their most hunted war criminals, Count Kurt von Stabenow, who Edith remembers all too well from before the war.

Intrigued by the challenge, Edith heads to Germany armed with a convincing cover story: she’s an unassuming schoolteacher sent to help resurrect German primary schools. To send information back to her OSS handlers in London, Edith has crafted the perfect alter ego, cookbook author Stella Snelling, who writes a popular magazine cookery column that embeds crucial intelligence within the recipes she collects. But occupied Germany is awash with other spies, collaborators, and opportunists, and as she’s pulled into their world, Edith soon discovers that no one is what they seem to be. The closer she gets to uncovering von Stabenow’s whereabouts—and the network of German civilians who still support him—the greater the danger. 


Kritters Thoughts:  World War II is done.  Edith Graham is single and decides to join the Control Commission for Germany where she will help rebuild the education system from buildings to furniture to teachers to books.  This will be a cover as she will be hunting for a doctor who was high in the Nazi regime who she has quite a history with, but what side does she work for and what is the future for this doctor who is accused of doing many horrible things during the war.

For me this book was hard to read.  I had such a difficult time figuring out who worked for who when everyone was about to double cross.  I wish there had been a map and some chart of who was who or at least their titles because this really stunted my reading of the book.    

I wanted more from Edith and Dori and their letters in code.  There were only just a few chapters where Dori interrupted the recipes and gave the information - I wanted so much more than what was in the book.  I felt as though it was the title and the heart of the book, but as the reader we just didn't get enough.  

I would read more historical fiction from this author.  I think her character development was great and I was connected with Edith and Dori and loved following their journey to find their Nazi doctor.


Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 65 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from William Morrow.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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