Shirley Read-Jahn’s father didn’t go out looking for a job as a spy. At the dawn of WWII, he was a charming, good-looking diplomatic functionary, fluent in both English and German, shuttling back and forth between London and Moscow. Along the way, he’d wed Molly–the start of a small family. Then came the war and the start of a most unusual career. They sent Fred to numerous European capitals, working undercover in various roles. He was a good actor, played all the roles well and to the hilt. Obviously, the work took him away from his new wife often and for long periods. She endured the London blitz alone as well as keeping a household together in the midst of rationing and pregnancy. Lots of stress for any marriage, let alone a young one which had been consummated in a fever of romance and desire. Meanwhile Fred worked his magic as a member of MI19, extracting information from prisoners and ordinary citizens to help the British war effort.
Read-Jahn presents the story novelistically, pulling us into the adventure that was her parents’ life in during and after the war. It’s a tale every bit as compelling as any of the current crop of war time thrillers, and Read-Jahn’s skilled prose keeps us absorbed this suspenseful story from beginning to end.