The White Lady

Harper. Mar. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780062867988. $30. M
Elinor DeWitt’s happy childhood in Belgium vanished in 1914 with her father’s disappearance. She was only 12 in 1916 when she was trained as a resistance fighter, sabotaging trains and having to kill several German soldiers to protect her sister. She tried to put the past behind her when she taught languages in England years later but was recruited to help the Allies in the next war. A traumatic experience and a head injury ended her wartime operations. Now, in 1947, Elinor White lives in a cottage provided for services to the country. She’s 43, a silent figure to most in the small village. A little girl, Susie Mackie, breaks through Elinor’s protective layer. Then, Jim Mackie’s family comes calling. They’re a powerful crime family in London, but Jim escaped from them. They want him back in the family fold, and they threaten Jim’s wife and daughter, Susie. Elinor turns for help to several of her wartime acquaintances. That’s when she discovers the treachery and lies she never knew about during her wartime years.
VERDICT The award-winning author of the Maisie Dobbs series skillfully juggles three timelines in a riveting stand-alone about a woman whose wartime experiences overshadow her post-war retirement.
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