A popular summer conversation at the Library often starts with “what is in your vacation book bag?” My colleagues and I spend hours curating the perfect tote, with new books we have been waiting for, favorite authors, a new try for if the mood strikes, and some back up books, just in case. We have emptied suitcases and stocked our children’s carry on bags to check our luggage. We have endured the teasing of companions lugging our book totes across the lake and up the ramp to a cottage. We have been the source of bets on number of books read in a week. In short, we have reputations!
During a recent week in a cottage on the coast of Maine, I started a Clare Vine historical fiction mystery by author Jane Thynne. Thynne was born in Venezeula, educated in London, and graduated from Oxford. She worked for the BBC, The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph.
Woman in the Shadows invited me in, introduced me to Clare Vine, and held my attention. I love that feeling when I put down a book to do something else, and find myself picking up the book five minutes later. Thank you Jane Thynne! Woman in the Shadows is book 3! (Imagine, starting a potential series in the middle…) Clare Vine is a rising movie star working in Berlin during World War II. She is also a British spy, sharing bits about daily life and any Nazi leaders she comes across at parties and premieres. While not initially trained as a spy, she is trained as an actress, and that turns out to be just as good. Clare also becomes involved with solving mysteries…murder mysteries at that. In this particular book, Clare is involved with one of Hitler’s Bride Schools, and a bride who was being groomed to marry an SS Officer. Thynne really gives you the feel of the era, managing to provide great fiction while preserving the historical characters she uses. After turning the last page, I picked up book #2, The Pursuit of Pearls. Another great read and engaging mystery. No palate cleanser for me…on to book #4, The Scent of Secrets. At this point I ran out of Clare Vine mysteries and exhausted the supply available through inter-library loan. Solitaire, book #5, was waiting for me from Amazon when I returned home.
Do you read Jacqueline Winspear? Susan Elia MacNeal? Try Jane Thynne. If you are wondering what to add to your vacation book back, I highly recommend trying one (or more) of these historical mysteries.