Goodreads summary of A Traitor In Whitehall By Julia Kelly (Review Below):
From Julia Kelly, internationally bestselling author of The Last Dance of the Debutante, comes the first in the mysterious and immersive Parisian Orphan series, A Traitor in Whitehall.
1940, England: Evelyne Redfern, known as “The Parisian Orphan” as a child, is working on the line at a munitions factory in wartime London. When Mr. Fletcher, one of her father’s old friends, spots Evelyne on a night out, Evelyne finds herself plunged into the world of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cabinet war rooms.
However, shortly after she settles into her new role as a secretary, one of the girls at work is murdered, and Evelyne must use all of her amateur sleuthing expertise to find the killer. But doing so puts her right in the path of David Poole, a cagey minister’s aide who seems determined to thwart her investigations. That is, until Evelyne finds out David’s real mission is to root out a mole selling government secrets to Britain’s enemies, and the pair begrudgingly team up.
With her quick wit, sharp eyes, and determination, will Evelyne be able to find out who’s been selling England’s secrets and catch a killer, all while battling her growing attraction to David?
Reason 1- Refreshing
Have you ever had a cold glass of water on a blistering hot day (OK, probably a stupid question)? Or, have you ever drank too much soda and then had some cold water? That is what A Traitor In Whitehall, by Julia Kelly, on the whole. It is a refreshing read. It is a fantastic read on any point, but especially if you want an entertaining read. Being the start of a series is a bonus. If you like the Electra McDonnell series by Ashley Weaver, you will enjoy reading A Traitor In Whitehall.
Reason 2-Characters/Strong Female Lead
Evelyn Redfern leads a cast of characters dominated by females. She is intelligent, sassy, and independent. Good luck telling her to stop once she has something to chew on. Bonus points because Evelyn is an avid reader of mysteries and always has a book to accompany her. Julia Kelly does a great job balancing people’s assumptions of readers (especially the influence they might have on amateur sleuths) with the actual truth. Evelyn isn’t some nerd with no gumption or people skills due to having her nose in a book. It is quite the opposite. Much of Evelyn’s detecting involves connection to other female characters about deep secrets that had shameful perceptions at that point in history. The supporting cast of female characters are thoroughly fleshed out without the many characters bogging the story down.
Mr. David Poole is the lead male character and his dynamic with Evelyn. Julia Kelly writes slow-burn (I’m not a romance person and found that it didn’t move too fast, nor did it impede the overall plot. I look forward to how their relationship develops. And I trust Julia Kelly with having a whole new supporting cast in book #2 in the Parisian Orphan series.
‘The killer could be waiting nearby, looking for another opportunity to strike.’ Mr. Poole leveled a look at me. ‘I find that very unlikely. If he wanted to do that, he would have killed you already.’
‘Oh, thank you very much for planting that pleasant thought in my mind.’
Julia Kelly’s writing flows easily while building a complex world, characters, and mystery. As the historical time would dictate, it is often a grave reality check of what the people of London lived through during World War II. However, it is well balanced with light-hearted and outright laugh-out-loud moments. A Traitor in Whitehall is the first book I’ve read by Julia Kelly, but it certainly won’t be the last.
‘Sometimes you wonder if horrible people will ever gettheir comeuppance. I suppose now I have my answer.’
Thank you to Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio for an advanced audio arc of A Traitor In Whitehall by Julia Kelly, which releases on October 3.
It is the first book in a new series, meaning there will be more build-up than upcoming entries in the series. Julia Kelly creates the setting and the lead characters’ background, mainly in the first third of the book. However, this information serves as the essential foundation for A Traitor in Whitehall and the Parisian Orphan series. This is accomplished without feeling bogged down or losing the suspense, which becomes more complex throughout the plot. There are even a couple of mysteries regarding the lead characters that I suspect will carry through the series. It adds another level of excitement for things to come.
Reason 5-WII Setting
Obviously, I didn’t live through WW II, let alone in London. I do have a minor in history, so I have a studied foundation. Julia Kelly does a wonderful job setting the scene for life in London during WW II, with detailed nuance. She conveyed the fear of air raid sirens over a long night, with citizens not knowing what they would find in the morning. Moreover, the destruction caused to extensive parts of London, including daily interruptions, is paramount to the story. Lastly, everyone makes an effort to do their part in the war with no job, seemingly small or insignificant. It shows the real-time, collective coming together of all.
Marisa Cailin is an excellent narrator. One point of view can sometimes be dull, but the writing, in combination with Marisa Cailin’s narration, makes for a spectacular audiobook.