Dorothy Caldwell Minor, aka The Book Whisperer, discovers an engaging novel sure to offer lively discussion for book clubs in The Ways We Hide by New York Times Bestselling author Kristina McMorris.
A little about Dorothy:
“I am an avid reader and also enjoy Indie and foreign movies. I retired from teaching English at Tulsa Community College after teaching as an adjunct first and then twenty-four years as a full-time faculty member. I was also involved in faculty development, planning and facilitating workshops for colleagues. I like technology and using technology to enhance learning. As an adjunct, I started a book club on campus, and it is still going strong thirty-one years later! I also belong to two other book clubs.I’ve included a picture from a Chautauqua Tea at TCC, complete with hat and brooch! I enjoy collecting vintage rhinestone brooches.”
Dorothy’s book club, Circle of Readers:
“We meet twice monthly. The first of the month, we all read a book and discuss it; the second time we meet, we discuss other books we’ve read. We enjoy inviting authors to join us! We have 20 members, and we are located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. We enjoy reading fiction, historical fiction, memoir, nonfiction, YA.”
Dorothy’s review of The Ways We Hide:
WWII continues to provide fodder for fiction and nonfiction alike. In the case of The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris, gadgets created by MI9 in Britain were smuggled to POWs. These gadgets contained maps, compasses, knives, and flashlights among other devices, all designed to help the prisoners escape if possible. Since the Nazis allowed games for pastimes, the gadgets were embedded into the games and thus undetected. Sadly, few if any survive because soldiers were told to destroy the items so that the enemy would not know about them or suspect other items being smuggled in for other prisoners.
Fenna Vos lives in Michigan where her father is a copper miner. Fenna’s mother died early in Fenna’s life; she and her father have a meager existence, but they manage to keep body and soul together. Then Fenna’s father dies unexpectedly, leaving her an orphan. She is placed in an orphanage where she is not treated well and is thought to be too old to be adopted. After struggling with a bully and feeling very out of place at the home, Fenna creates an escape plan.
Already obsessed with magic tricks and illusions, Fenna has been teaching herself tricks for some time. For a while, those tricks entertained the other girls, but one bully puts Fenna in constant trouble, causing her to see escaping the orphanage as her only hope.
Fenna has enough money sewed into her coat’s hem to get a bus to her old friend Arie and his family. Arie’s mother grudgingly agrees to take Fenna in, especially since her daughter, Thea, has just run away to be married. Arie and Fenna have long been friends.
As an adult, Fenna continues her interest in magic tricks and illusions. She becomes an assistant to a magician, but she is really the driving force in the magic acts. She designs them and sets them up, all the while acting as the assistant.
Late one evening after a performance, Fenna is approached by a man as she walks to her boarding house. At first, she fears he means her harm. Then he convinces her he seeks her help. He is from MI9 in Britain and wants to recruit Fenna to go to England with him to help design gadgets to slip into POWs held by the Nazis. These gadgets will provide help to the prisoners is they can escape.
The story involves the designing and making of the gadgets which is exactly the kind of thing that Fenna has a talent for doing. Then she learns that Arie is in the Netherlands and is suspected of defecting to the enemy. Fenna knows that cannot be true, so she proposes herself as bait to draw Arie out and discover the truth. By all accounts, Arie has defected, but Fenna knows there is more to the story.
Readers will discover the intrigue and face the fears along with Fenna as she tries to locate Arie and find out the truth about what he is doing. This endeavor will involve dangers at every turn, so Fenna has to be quick-witted and resourceful.
Readers will learn about the gadgets really used by the Allies in the war, but they will learn much more about human relationships and the dangers that people faced to help one another in a time of terrible turmoil.
For book clubs, The Ways We Hide will provide a lively discussion, not only of the gadgets themselves but also the relationships formed among the people working on the gadgets. Then the intrigue revolving around Arie and what he is doing in the Netherlands will be another discussion. For many readers, examining the title itself in relation to the story as it unfolds will be a point of discussion.
Kristina McMorris has written six historical novels. Sold on a Monday, a story spurred into being by a picture McMorris saw, has sold a million copies. Buy the book now.
examples of some of the gadgets smuggled into POW camps:
Kristina McMorris is available to visit with book clubs via NovelNetwork.com.
Be sure to visit Dorothy’s website, Parkdalear’s Blog, and watch for her reviews of our NovelNetwork authors featured there, and shared right here at NovelNetwork.com.