World War II historical fiction, meets a lady spy, meets danger and intrigue. If these things sound like your type of book, then definitely pick up All is Fair.
When Lady Mina Tretheway receives a telegram at boarding school, she doesn’t want to read it. In 1918, with war raging, she dreads telegrams, knowing they never bring good news.
At first she doesn’t understand the cryptic message. Then she realizes it’s written in code, and the message leads her home to Hallington Manor. When Lord Andrew Graham appears with a dashing young American, Lucas Mueller, Mina learns that the two of them must work together on dangerous project for the war effort.
Thinking Mina is just a spoiled aristocrat, Lucas tries to complete the project alone, fearing her inexperience will give them away. But when the project goes very wrong, Mina and Lucas are thrown together to complete the mission before more soldiers disappear into the darkness of war.
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I immediately liked Mina. There’s a fire, a spunk, a personality to her that instantly attracted me. Whether it be the fact that she is wildly creative, empathetic, or incredibly clever, I wish I was friends with Mina. But in this time period. She is cunning and her wit allows her to be an excellent code cracker as well as quick on her feet. So from the summary alone, it was a pretty good bet I would really love Mina. But what I didn’t expect was how swept away I would get in the story.
Mina is drawn not only into a series of mysteries around her own house, but one that has the potential to alter the course of World War II. And a large part of this book is Mina coming to terms with her own agency. With Lucas’ opinion that she is just a spoiled rich lady, Mina finds the courage to go further than she’s ever been. And all these parts of the story – Mina’s history in a German village, her code breaking skill, and her fluency in languages – comes into play.
This outside perspective allows us not only to see into the complexities of her life, but allows Mina to prove herself to us. And we are taken along for the ride. Not only this, but throughout the book, All is Fair celebrates happiness. The war is a grisly and gruesome setting. And Mina struggles in not only the knowledge that her life before was so privilege and blessed (before she is exposed to the realities of war), but also grasping happiness when you have the chance.
Just because the world is exploding, bullets are flying, and people are dying, does not mean we shouldn’t be able to also find happiness. The good does not negate the bad, and the bad does not deserve to rob happiness absolutely. All is Fair has secrets coming out of the wood works, squirming and begging to be seen. It also delves into the heart of WWI. But All is Fair is also about a girl who longs for adventure, who finds it, and realizes that adventure is much more complicated than she thought.
About the Author
Dee writes contemporary, science fiction and historical adventure stories for a wide range of ages. Her books have been chosen as Junior Library Guild selections, the Scholastic Book Club, and have been nominated for numerous state awards lists. In addition to books published under her own name, she also writes for the Boxcar Children series. Connect with her on twitter at @deegarretson or find out more about her books at deegarretson.com