Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of The Girl from Bletchley Park by Kathleen McGurl as part of her fabulous blog tour!
If you follow my blog, you will know that I am a big fan of WWII fiction – having a split timeline novel is a great way of reading about something more contemporary whilst also following a story from the past. Kathleen McGurl has managed to write the dual timeline in a very effective way. The characters in both timelines are loosely linked, but the stories are obviously so different that there is no room for confusion. I also liked the fact that she has kept the total number of characters to a minimum. I sometimes find dual timeline novels a little confusing if there are too many characters involved – I find myself losing the thread of each story, so I am pleased to confirm that this did not happen with The Girl at Bletchley Park!
Pam is a young woman who knows her numbers. When she finds herself being offered a position at Bletchley Park thanks to her math skills, she is keen to throw herself into the work knowing that in some small way she will be helping the war effort. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, Pam takes the confidentiality of her work very seriously, not even discussing what she does with those she works with. When she meets two young men, both of whom try to catch her eye, she finds herself experiencing freedom and love for the first time. Working at Bletchley Park could never be that straight forward though!
Julia, Pam’s Granddaughter, is struggling to find a good balance in her life, as she tries to look after her sons, maintain a successful business and keep her marriage alive in the face of her husbands jealousy at her success. When her brother gives her a box of photographs of their late Grandmother, she is keen to find out more about Pam’s time at Bletchley Park, something none of them knew anything about. Finding out more about her Garndmothers incredible life might just help Julia re-evaluate her own life choices.
This was such a lovely novel that really brings to life the important work that was carried out at Bletchley Park – in so many novels the focus is on frontline fighting, whether that be soldiers or pilots, so it’s nice to see the work that was going on behind the scenes being highlighted in this way. I really enjoyed following the characters in both timelines. They were believable, well rounded characters for whom I had empathy. I could really understand Julia’s position as a mother, wife and a business woman, and I really felt for her as she fought to create balance between her numerous roles in life. Pam also really fascinated me – I loved her morals in terms of her commitment to the job as well as her commitment to secrecy. She understood the importance of her role in the war, and she relished that.
I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all – it will make you want to learn more about Bletchley Park and its significance in the war effort, whilst also providing you with lovely character stories.
Thank you to Kathleen McGurl and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe.
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