Saturday 1 August 2020

Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees BLOG TOUR @CeliaRees Guest Review @jaustenrulesok @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #MissGrahamsColdWarCookBook

Sent to Germany in the chaotic aftermath of World War II, Edith Graham is finally getting the chance to do her bit. Having taught at a girls’ school during the conflict, she leaps at the opportunity to escape an ordinary life – but Edith is not everything she seems to be.
Under the guise of her innocent cover story, Edith has been recruited to root out Nazis who are trying to escape prosecution. Secretly, she is sending coding messages back to the UK, hidden inside innocuous recipes sent to a friend – after all, who would expect notes on sauerkraut to contain the clues that would crack a criminal underground network?
But the closer she gets to the truth, the muddier the line becomes between good and evil. In a dangerous world of shifting loyalties, when the enemy wears the face of a friend, who do you trust?

Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees was published on 23 July 2020 by Harper Collins.

I'm delighted to welcome guest reviewer Louise Wykes to Random Things today, sharing her review of the book for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook

Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook was published by HarperCollins on 14th May 2020.  I would like to thank the publisher for a copy of this book to review and Anne Cater for agreeing to host my review on her blog.

I have read quite a few books, both fiction and non-fiction that are set in the Second World War, but I haven’t read any that are set in the period shortly after the war, so this book which is set mainly in 1946 and briefly in 1989, caught my attention from the outset.

At the beginning of this book, we’re introduced to a woman who remains mysterious and aloof and alludes to events in her past that seem to have caught up with her in the present in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland and at once the reader is plunged into a mystery that won’t quite fully be revealed until the end of the book, which kept me gripped to the book trying to see if I could work out what would happen as resolution.

Then the reader is taken into Edith Graham’s life in late 1945.  She is still living at home, unmarried and working as a teacher and as she feels she didn’t get a chance to properly serve her country during the Second World War, she jumps at the chance to escape her mother’s scorn and the predictability of her life in England, to work for the British military as an Education Officer in what are the ruins of Germany.  As it turns out, her job won’t be as straightforward as she has been led to believe because she has also been asked by other government departments to supply them with information about what is truly happening in Germany.

We follow Edith on her trip to Germany and I was fascinated by the facts I found out about what Germany was like after the aftermath of the war and how everyone you met couldn’t be fully trusted as even whom you thought were allies, had their own secrets to keep.  This is not something I knew much about so found this part of the story fascinating.  I also loved the idea that Edith discovered about getting her secret information back to England past the censors, was to write to her family and friends about various recipes she discovers on her travels.  These recipes are at the start of each chapter in the book and it was quite fun as a reader to try and see if you could decipher what the code was, and I think this was a really intelligent device used throughout the novel.

I have to say I really and truly felt caught up in Edith’s life where she was trying to truly help the people she met on her travels even though resources were very scarce though Edith discovers that the British military lived in pure luxury in comparison to the dispossessed people who had been run from their own country and homes and the poverty was truly shocking to read about.

I really enjoyed this book because it was an intelligent read and yet filled with such emotional intensity that I was a wreck after finishing it as I was just blindsided and completely unprepared for what was going to happen and I know I’ll be thinking about Miss Graham and her cookbook for a long time yet.  

Celia Rees was born in Solihull, West Midlands, UK. 
She studied History and Politics at Warwick University and has a master’s degree from Birmingham University. 
She taught English in city comprehensive schools for seventeen years before beginning her writing career. 
She is the author of over twenty acclaimed books for young adults and has won various prizes both in Britain and abroad. 
Her work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. 
Celia lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, with her husband.

Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is her first adult novel.
Twitter @CeliaRees

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