The War Pianist

Avon. Aug. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780008564308. pap. $16.99. F
In pre–World War II Europe, the word “pianist” was used to describe a spy who was especially skilled and speedy in sending messages in Morse code. This historical novel from Robotham (The Resistance Girl) tells the story of Marnie Fern, a BBC employee in London in 1940. When her grandfather dies, she discovers that he was an undercover “pianist” in the Dutch resistance against the invading Nazis. Marnie takes up his unfinished work in London and “meets” Corrie Bakker, a fellow pianist on the other end of the wire in Amsterdam; she and Marnie fast become comrades in their mission as their lives become entangled in personal as well as professional ways. The story takes some very unexpected twists and combines intrigue and adventure with close calls with danger. Robotham’s descriptive, polished writing fully transports readers to London during the Blitz, with all the hardships, fear, and shortages. There is also a budding romance between Marnie and another resistance fighter, plus other peripheral characters who are well drawn and add color to the narrative.
VERDICT Robotham’s entertaining and well-paced novel is a great addition to any collection of World War II historical fiction.
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