“The Scent of Secrets” by Jane Thynne was a book that I label “a keeper”. Not only is the novel’s plot in my favorite genre, a World War II historical theme, but it is expertly written to bring out the characters’ innermost strengths and weaknesses. This is a spy novel at its best. The main character, Clara Vine, an actress for the Reich, and a spy for the British government, is wonderfully portrayed. I must say that the book started slowly for me, but swiftly became riveting in its theme. I’m not sure if Nazi Germany was as dangerous for everyone every day as depicted, but the distrust and suspicion that each person brought to the story was intimidating and frightening. I was afraid for Clara with each encounter and that feeling definitely kept me hooked on the book. I am anxiously looking forward to reading more of Ms. Thynne’s books with Clara Vine as the main character and any other novels of hers that I can find to read.
Set in Europe, in 1938, during the tense run-up to war, and perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, Robert Harris, and Susan Elia MacNeal, this gripping historical novel features the half-British, half-German actress (and wholly covert spy) Clara Vine, who finds herself enmeshed in a dangerous game of subterfuge.
The colorful, lively streets of Paris come as a welcome relief to Clara Vine after the dour countenance of Berlin, where bunkers and bomb shelters are being dug, soldiers march the streets in their high boots, and Jewish residents rush to make it home before curfew. Though Clara is in Paris to make a film, her true work is never far from her mind. Approached by a British intelligence officer, Clara is initially confounded by his request: Get close to Eva Braun and glean as much as she can about the Führer’s plans and intentions. Clara has already established friendships with several high-ranking Nazi wives, but Eva Braun is another matter altogether. Hitler keeps his “secret” girlfriend obsessively hidden, fiercely guarding their relationship as well as Eva’s delicate psychological state. From the gilded halls of the decadent City of Light to the cobbled, quaint streets of Munich, and even to the chilling, rarefied air of the Berghof, Hitler’s private mountaintop retreat, Clara flirts with discovery at every turn—and a dangerous, devious plot unfolds.