Well hey there, book nerds!
I’m so glad you’ve ventured to my blog this morning because I recently finished Leila Meacham’s newest WWII drama, and boy, did it deliver! This powerful novel introduced me to a cast of unforgettable characters along such a tense and twisted ride that my stomach still is in knots! As one of my favorite reads of the year, I hope you’ll scroll down to check out my DRAGONFLY review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win YOUR very own signed copy!
Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
Title & Author: Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
Genre: Historical Fiction/WWII/Espionage
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Series Details: Standalone
Page Count: 576 pages
From the New York Times bestselling author of Roses comes a gripping new novel about five young spies embedded among the highest Nazi ranks in occupied Paris.
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Thank you so much to Grand Central Publishing, LSBBT, and the author for providing me with a final copy in exchange for an honest review.
From the moment I saw that stunning cover art, I knew I was a goner. I felt the lure of the Parisian setting, the ominous skyline, and that woman I somehow knew had an enthralling yet clandestine story to share. And before I was even aware, I fell directly into DRAGONFLY‘s trap; unable to escape its grasp until I turned the final page.
“They’re almost impossible to snare and have no blind spots…natural escape artists.”
Opening in 1962, DRAGONFLY quickly introduces readers to “the man in brown,” a retired military officer who’s recently finished reading an anthology devoted to the greatest ruses of WWII that concluded with a rather familiar mission. But the mention of this covert affair is not watch captures the Major’s attention, but rather its reveal that the executed agent was actually (and secretly) alive and well. Doubting the validity of this statement, but unable to completely douse the hope it ignites, the officer begins to ferret out information and starts the story from the beginning.
Told in multiple — and alternating — POVs, this historical fiction novel adopts a formulaic, yet engaging, method of delivery for its important information. From introductions to our cast of Americans (five, 22-year-old individuals who for differing reasons all find themselves in need of employment) to their personal motives for deployment to occupied Paris, Meacham weaves their varied plots into one cohesive story. This quintet-style of layering continues throughout the novel allowing for readers to experience the emotional journey fivefold.
“The flesh would fill out, the scars fade, the heart be restored, but the mind would remember…always.”
What captured my interest and left me reeling was Meacham’s ability to trigger countless emotions through her lyrical descriptions of an occupied society at war. Her vivid descriptions transported me to the tense-filled streets of Paris and made me feel every ounce of the paranoia and self-preservation citizens possessed during such a turbulent time in our world history. She made me feel shame for the prejudice German characters faced Stateside, fear for the person that might be turned over to the Gestapo by a starved neighbor hoping to trade secrets for scraps of food, and absolute terror at the atrocities conducted against Jews and any individual that dared to disagree with the Third Reich.
“To go forward…sometimes you have to go back.”
I think this fictitious tale of espionage was particularly powerful because of its parallels to our current social and political climate. It was jarring to read about events that took place more than 75 years ago that still felt relevant in today’s modern times. And while that could feel bleak, I personally found it to be eye-opening and capable of sparking necessary discourse and understanding.
While speaking with a trusted mentor about this very subject, I realized it wasn’t the relatable issues that got under my skin as much as Meacham’s ability to display the humanity in the inhumane. It takes an incredible skill to make you feel for “evil” characters, and this book does that better than most. Meacham eloquently crafts characters that were real, raw, and flawed and it’s why they’ll live on in my memory long after this novel has been placed back on the shelves. It’s hard to describe, and something I think needs to be experienced personally, so I hope you consider giving DRAGONFLY a chance.
Obviously this novel is steeped in dark and hard-hitting issues, but please don’t interpret that to mean this wasn’t an inspiring and touching story. I was smiling (albeit with some tears) by the end, and I’m thankful I was able to experience such a memorable journey with this heroic squad.
Two Winners: Signed copy of Dragonfly
August 7-17, 2019
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