[Eeee! (that's me, squealing). I love recommending good books, and I can't wait to tell you about the book I just finished.]
The book is called Maggie Bright. This is the cover:
I picked this book up blindly off the library shelves, and I am so delighted to have discovered this story and this new-to-me author, Tracy Groot.
In this novel we're introduced to Clare, a young woman who has just inherited a boat. When a vicar from America is discovered prowling on her boat, Clare is puzzled. What could he have been looking for? She searches the boat herself and comes up empty, but cannot seem to put the incident out of her mind. Clare is intrigued enough to find out, and when she goes to question the imprisoned vicar, she finds herself in the middle of a Scotland Yard investigation.
At the same time, the British army is in full retreat and heading to the beaches of Dunkirk.
The story line bounces between a group of British soldiers trying to get to Dunkirk safely and Clare's discoveries of the secrets held on her boat, as well as the people she meets along the way. (A retired schoolteacher who is a boarder on Clare's boat, another American who comes to the vicar's rescue, and the two detectives who are determined that the hidden documents on Clare's boat don't fall into enemy hands.)
Groot's characters are full of personality and the dialogue is excellent, with bits of humor scattered throughout. It's also a powerful story of the British people propelled to action as time runs out on the shores of Dunkirk and every available ship, boat or sailing vessel is sent to rescue the soldiers.
This was an excellent book. (You know it's a good historical fiction book when it makes you want to check out other books on the topic and learn more! And: all of Tracy Groot's other books. ;))
As I was reading, I recalled a picture book I read with the kids years ago covering this very topic, called The Little Ships.
I put it on hold again at the library to remind my kids of this remarkable piece of history. I also handed Maggie Bright to Ella (14) and told her she'd love it (she did), and now Mark is reading it.
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