The Golden Doves by Martha Hall Kelly

What is going on between the covers

During the war, American Josie Anderson and Frenchwoman Arlette LaRue became known as The Golden Doves by working as spies who gathered information on Nazi communications to send to Allied forces in London. They were caught and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Seven years after the war ended, Josie works with Operation Paperclip for U.S. Army intelligence. She finds and interviews former Nazi scientists to determine if their work and knowledge would be helpful in the race against the Soviet Union to acquire their knowledge.

Arlette was separated from her son Willie while at Ravensbrück and is now searching for him. She gets a visit from someone who says they know where he is. Josie and Arlette reunite as they embark on a dangerous mission to bring a notorious Nazi doctor to justice and search for Willie.

My two cents

The story takes some time to get going as a detailed backstory is developed through Josie and Arlette as they narrate their experiences. The dual narrative adds depth to the story, allowing us to experience the journey from both perspectives. The story is intriguing and suspenseful with a complicated plot; however, the strength is in Kelly’s knowledge through her research that blends fact with fiction seamlessly. She weaves a tale of bravery, sacrifice, and resilience as she highlights Operation Paperclip and brings attention to The Nazi Ratline. She read the book The Ratline by Philippe Sands, which helped send her on a trip through Italy as she traced the routes thousands of Nazi fugitives took to escape justice, aided by Nazi sympathizers, including the International Red Cross and the Catholic Church. She also mentions other events I won’t say because of spoilers, making this one of the best-researched and informative historical fiction I have read.

The story is long at 528 pages, and I never like it when a book is over 350 pages. It always affects the pacing and feels uneven, with parts being weighed down by detail, and I want the story to move forward faster.

Overall, This is a compelling and meticulously researched novel that explores the courage and resilience of women during and after World War II while shining a light on the injustice of Nazi fugitives and what happened to the Nazi doctors and scientists after the war.

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