Donna Del Oro throws us into the opening scene, written as the prologue. We find ourselves In 1940, on a Ferry setting sail across the Irish Sea. Nazi Spy, Clare Eberhard watches as her husband (also a Nazi spy) bludgeons a young woman to death. This poor woman, Mary McCoy, was murdered because Clare was to assume her identity and take over Mary’s job at the war office in London. So we have, murder, espionage, and terrorism in the first few pages of the book. Bring it, I thought. The prologue is essential to remembering why we are never to feel sorry for Clare Eberhard in the future, but more about that later.
I love the quote that opens chapter one:
“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
~ Winston Churchill
So shame on all y’all thinking the book title was tacky, Winston Churchill said it first people!
In chapter one we’ve jumped to 2005 and we meet our hunk, Jake Bernstein. Jake is a tall dark and handsome, Jewish, FBI Detective. I’m for sure imagining Jake Gyllenhaal for this entire book. Not only because of his good looks but there is also a kindness and deep sense of humanity about the character Jake Bernstein, that this Jake so effortlessly exudes.
Anyway…Jakey boy is eating some lunch and thinking about how horney he is. Masculinity established. Jake gets a call from his boss telling him that he’s been assigned to a case regarding a woman named Mary McCoy, who may have been the notorious Nazi Spy known as Hummingbird, during WWII. The FBI and British intelligence have joined forces to get to the bottom of this case and they want Special Agent Bernstein to make it happen.
The FBI and MI5 are insistent on bringing this woman to justice for her war crimes 60 years after the fact. Which leads me to my very favorite quote from the book. 📚
“Lady justice, though blind, has a long memory.”
~ Donna Del Oro
Bodyguard of Lies, page 16
Jake is flown out on a red eye to London to join the 2 week tour of England and Ireland that Mary McCoy Snider and her 20 something granddaughter happen to be attending.
Jake is of a similar age to Meghan Larsen (the granddaughter). His assignment is to schmooze the granddaughter, get close to the two ladies and gather information in hopes of determining whether or not this Mary McCoy is really an ex-Nazi Spy. Jake also speaks fluent german and would be able to determine from Mary’s dialect if she was native speaker or not. Jake has his work cut out for him but he is up to the task because desk work is not his cup of tea and he is currently drowning in it.
Jake arrives in London and meets with British intelligence…he becomes privy to previously undisclosed details of the case. There is a risk of a pretty big scandal involving an aristocratic family that is tied to the case involving Mary McCoy. No pressure Jake but try not to screw this up ok?
Throughout the book we jump back and forth between the 1940’s and 2005. I like this aspect of the story because it keeps us from ever doubting Mary/Clare’s guilt. Del Oro is really in her element when guiding us through the 1940’s, I can see, hear, taste, touch, everything that is happening. When we jump back to 2005 the going was a bit bumpy at first. Jake’s thoughts didn’t really read as what a 32-year-old man would think but more like what a middle aged woman would think he would think…at first. Once the momentum of the book got going Del Oro really gets into her groove and you are completely sucked in to this story.
Jake and Meghan are quickly attracted to each other, and Jake is immediately torn by the fact that he has to lie to this innocent young woman to get close to her possibly murderous elderly grandmother. And it’s just so good.
We are taken on a beautiful mental tour of England and Ireland, the story is rich with history and intrigue. I liken it to a history book that has come alive, with a sexy romance weaved throughout. It’s a quick read but mostly because you won’t be able to put it down.
I was only bummed by the end of the book, once I started getting to the end I realized there were not a lot of pages left to tie this up. I kept thinking how was she going to do it? Well she did tie it all up neatly…but a little too neatly for my taste. Some readers really need a cathartic ending and if that’s you, you’ll love the ending, but for me I like to be a little bit tortured and wanting more…enough to make me want to grab the next book. However, Del Oro’s vivid imagery and real emotion illustrated in the book has kept me curious as to what will happen with Jake and Megan’s romance, enough to want to pick up the next book.
Bodyguard of lies is available on Amazon click here for more details.
**sponsored post — all opinions are my own**