[A quick note: Do I read mysteries? No. I’ve never been very interested in that genre. But I do love historical fiction. It’s a second favorite next to fantasy. Still, I don’t read it very often. So, you know a book MUST be good if it’s outside fantasy and I read/enjoy it. That’s THIS series. I’m falling in love with it! I didn’t have a physical copy of this one. I read it on my kindle. I want my paperbacks to match so I’ll get one when it releases in December.]
A fake relationship trope, rural village life, wartime intrigue, and little-known historical facts about carrier pigeons make this historical mystery a fun one. We return to the quaint English village of Pipley, where Olive Bright is once again conscripted to assist the wartime efforts against the Nazis. Her pigeon loft is one of the best. But when another murder disrupts things, life in Pipley gets a bit more interesting. Especially when Olive realizes that her feelings for a certain Captain Jameson Aldridge might be stronger than the ruse they’ve been maintaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was such a treat. Olive Bright’s plucky character is easy to fall in love with. She’s captivating, stubborn, and strong. Not to mention, relatable! Yet again, I devoured this in two days. It wasn’t part of my June TBR but I was in a mood, and it seemed like the perfect read for that mood. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down—effectively putting all my other current reads on hold.
I don’t read murder mysteries, and yet, I adore these books. WWII is one of my favorite time periods. The historical aspects add so much. Like the last one, A Valiant Deceit was packed with so many elements. From the murder mystery, to the pigeon mission, to the fake relationship between Olive and Jamie, there were so many things going on. Plenty to hold my interest.
I have three favorite aspects of this story.
First is the pigeons. I found the historical aspect of their role in the war FASCINATING. I have already learned so much about their involvement from reading these books. I’ve come to develop my own affection for Olive’s pigeons. Fritz is still my favorite. But after reading this one, I’ve added Robin Hood and Alice to that list. Yes, these are pigeons. I don’t normally care for the birds, but now I have a new appreciation for them. Don’t you love it when an author can change your perspective?!
My second favorite aspect is (no surprise) Olive and Jamie’s relationship. I’m all about a fake relationship trope. I did find Jamie to be a little frustrating in this one. But his comment at the very end of the book, about Olive’s happiness, melted my heart and made up for his pig-headedness throughout the story. I love that they’re clearly both developing feelings for each other beyond the fake ruse.
My third favorite aspect is the historical accuracy. You can tell that the author really does her homework. Nothing felt too “stretched” or unbelievable. From the food and petrol rations, to the overall tone, evident patriotism, everyone wanting to do their part and contribute to the war efforts, all felt believable. The portrayal of the WI club of women, because it felt so realistic to the time period. I feel like I’m learning things when I read these books. Yay!!
A few other things I appreciated: I love the representation of the MS disease with Olive’s stepmother. I appreciate when authors add realism and health disparities into their writing. I also liked Olives mystery “amateur sleuthing” skills, the way she approached the murder, and the way she pushed to solve the case despite the push-back she often received. This murderer happened to be a threat to the British intelligence, which really upped the stakes of this one.
Now more than ever, I’m eagerly awaiting the third book. I can’t wait to return to my new favorite quaint English village and see what mystery rocks Pipley next. I can’t wait to see what sorts of missions Olive’s birds will get involved in. And I can’t wait to see Jamie and Olive’s feelings develop into something deeper.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟒/𝟓⭐️