Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday was designed as an opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. As I started reviewing on Goodreads long before I started my blog, it seemed a great way of sharing my earlier reviews (which I hope have improved since the early days).
So this week I’m revisiting I Can’t Begin to Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan first reviewed in November 2014.
When the Nazis invade Denmark, British-born Kay Eberstern is sickened when Bror – her husband of twenty-five years – collaborates with the enemy to save his family home.
Lured by British Intelligence into a covert world of resistance, her life in the hands of London’s code breakers, Kay’s betrayal of her husband is complete as she risks her home and children to protect an SOE agent who won’t even tell her his name.
As her family – especially her headstrong daughter – is drawn further into danger, Kay is faced with a wrenching moral dilemma. Who will be sacrificed next for the cause? Can she and Bror ever find their way back to one another?
I’ve read several previous books by Elizabeth Buchan and was looking forward to reading this new one. For others who may also be familiar with her books be prepared to see a major move away from her previous chic lit/romance genre into something new. This book concentrates on the underground Resistance movement in German occupied Denmark in World War Two and the support provided by the British Intelligence Services.
British born Kay Eberstern is married to Bror, a Dane and has spent all of her 25 years of married life in Denmark on Bror’s country estate bringing up their two, now adult children. When the Germans occupy Denmark she finds herself at odds with Bror as his German ancestry coupled, with his desire to preserve his estate means he is less inclined to take a stand against the occupying force. Meanwhile Kay having been persuaded by her husband’s cousin to help a fledgling agent finds herself drawn into a growing web of deceit and resistance that will have consequences for her family she could never have imagined.
I was drawn into this story from the beginning as it was impossible not to warm to Kay and her struggle to come to terms with what is happening to her adopted country. Despite not intending to get involved, her conscience forces her to become a more active player in the resistance. It was interesting to see how the Resistance operated in somewhere other than France, which is the more common setting for war-time resistance tales. As well as concentrating on the agent’s experiences in Denmark, we have a parallel story of how their messages are received and decoded in Britain by the Intelligence Service.
The sections set in England, to some degree, offer a relief from the tensions in Denmark as we get involved in the daily lives of the girls in the decoding section, and especially Rose. Though I still imparts a fair amount of knowledge on hoe the departments worked – I now know far more than I ever thought I would about Morse code and how the decoders recognized their message senders.
Elizabeth Buchan hasn’t left her writing roots behind completely and there are several budding romances to maintain the interest, just in case the ongoing drama of the war was not enough. I really enjoyed this book, though the twist at the end was not what I anticipated I would happily recommend it and look forward to reading more. I particularly enjoyed the deeper, more intelligent and thoughtful aspect of this novel as opposed to the previous lighter (though no less enjoyable) works.
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley in return for an honest review.