The Escape Game
Heroines of WWII #9
by Marilyn Turk
My rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: Christian historical romance
Beryl Clarke is doing her part in England during WWII, working as an air raid warden and helping her mom get through the devastation of her husband’s recent death during a bombing. More bad news comes when they learn that Beryl’s brother James has been captured by the Germans. The women will do whatever they can to help, even if it’s just packing Red Cross boxes and their own care packages for James and his friend Kenneth, who is also in the camp. But then Beryl learns of an escape kit disguised as a Monopoly game that is headed to various POW camps and knows she has to try to give the prisoners a heads up about it.
This book promises intrigue, adventure, and romance, but I found very little of any of those things. Most of the story was just showing life in Leeds during WWII, as well as life in a POW camp. James’s friend Kenneth is actually the second MC and is captured and taken to a POW camp before James is. He attempts to escape several times, unsuccessfully, but more detail is given to his time in the camp than the actual escapes. Kenneth and Beryl knew each other before the war started, when the two of them and James all attended Oxford University, and Kenneth and Beryl both thought fondly of each other at that time. This is what we’re told. So when Kenneth starts writing letters for his crippled friend James, Kenneth and Beryl remember each other fondly and start to hope for more some day. This we’re also told. The romance doesn’t really develop as much as it is just there for us to be told about. Maybe some flashbacks to the time they knew each other before would have helped, but overall, it just felt forced and empty.
The story of the Monopoly game being sent to POWs with an escape kit hidden inside is such a tiny part of this book. I feel like the story would have been better to have been more focused on the camp and less on Beryl’s life, but then, the series is called “Heroines of WWII,” so clearly she needed to be a main character. I also think it would have been better if Kenneth had been a stranger that Beryl met and got to know through letters he wrote for her brother, and then maybe the romance could have been more of a budding one by the end of the book, rather than what it was. Also, the epilogue was completely unnecessary, and that reminds me of the incredible coincidences that happen throughout the book. After several of these moments, I still thought for sure that my suspicion about the identity of a certain character’s relative would turn out to be wrong, because there was no reason I could think of to have such a huge coincidence. But sure enough…well, I won’t give away any spoilers. And the truth is, most people probably won’t be bothered by most of this. If you’re a fan of WWII-related Christian romance and aren’t bothered by the things I mentioned in my review, please do give the book a try. It does have plenty of good reviews.
Thank you to Netgalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me a copy of this book to review.
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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!