Christian Shelf-Esteem’s review of High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

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My Thoughts

Beneath the nurse’s apron Eve Marche wears while tending to German and Allied troops beats the heart of a spy. Pinned to it is the Iron Cross she was awarded for saving Major Otto Reinhardt. While the cross provides an element of protection from the Bosch, it also invites scornful glares from fellow Belgians. She can’t tell them the truth, no one must know—no one outside her family—of her involvement in the La Dame Blanch network. In her third novel, Kate Breslin dials up the danger and intrigue for a story I could not put down!

Breslin’s interplay between the greater European conflict (WWI), local resistance, and one woman’s remarkable stand against evil is brilliant. She accomplishes the first by using Belgium as her primary setting.  Then, through a series of flashbacks, transports readers to Britain, Scotland, and France. In doing so, we catch glimpses of the war from different vantage points. As for the citizens of Brussels, who doesn’t enjoy the spirited efforts of the underdog? I cheered for the resistance workers who engaged in both small as well as grand acts of subterfuge against their German occupiers. Many of whose nail-biting escapades were inspired by actual people (see the Author’s Note). Overall, my favorite aspect of the story was Eve. She’s a daughter, sister, widow, nurse, and spy, all rolled into one dynamic character. The secrets she keeps would overwhelm me, yet through prayer and a keen intellect she perseveres to save many lives.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel. This review is my honest opinion, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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