[A quick note: This book isn’t my usual genre but I won in through Bookish First. I‘ve always been fascinated by WWII stories, so I knew I would enjoy it. Plus, the premise sounded different from your typical mystery. I mean, pigeons delivering messages?! How cute! It’s meant to be an ongoing series. I was glad I won this because it pushed me out of my reading zone and I really enjoyed it.]
“𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝...𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐭, 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐣𝐨𝐛𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐧.”—Stephanie Graves
Olive Bright is determined to do her part in the war efforts. When a broody Captain Aldridge shows up at her home and enlists her pigeons for a covert mission, she accepts. Suspicions force them to hide their involvement behind a ruse, making those in Pipley believe they are romantically inclined. But it’s quite the opposite. Neither of them get along. Captain Aldridge understands nothing about pigeons, mistrusts Olive, and is determined to hide everything from her. She won’t stand for it. And then a mysterious murder occurs, and Olive is exactly the person to get to the bottom of it.
Set in WWII England, this was a LOVELY little read. I burned through it in two days. Graves writing is rich and detailed. The historical accuracy, intriguing use of pigeons in the war effort, and romantic chemistry between Olive and Captain Aldridge kept me turning pages at a rapid rate. It as clear that Stephanie Graves did a huge amount of research. Olive was a character ahead of her time, with a drive to contribute to the war efforts. I immediately fell in love with her character. I also loved the portrayal of health disparities from other characters, adding a level of realism and struggle to the pages. And the murder mystery was so fun to solve.
Two main storylines are twined together. The first, with the pigeon war efforts overseen by Olive and her loft of cute pigeons named for literary book characters, which was adorable. And second, the murder mystery taking place in the town of Pipley. Olive was the perfect little investigator. Having grown up in Pipley, she was well acquainted with its inhabitants and able to form her own suspicions. Just enough information was given for me to start forming my own theories as I read. These storylines were woven together beautifully.
My favorite aspect of the story was Olive and Captain Aldridge’s banter and relationship. I am a romantic at heart, so having some hint of chemistry is a must for my own enjoyment and reading experience. I adored watching the two of them argue and slowly grow to understand each other. The only thing I would have liked to see was a kiss between them at the very end. That left me a little frustrated because I felt it would have tied everything off nicely. But hopefully we will see something from those two in the subsequent books. If so, then count me in!
If you like wartime stories light on actual fighting, historical accuracy, murder mystery, and small town settings, you will LOVE this one. It releases December 29th, 2020. 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟰/𝟱⭐️
A huge thank you to Bookish First and Kensington Publishing for an advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion.