Overall, this was a good book. I enjoyed most of it. However, I deduct one star for good reason.
It was clear to me, and later confirmed, the author has never been to the Philippines. She can get away with that for many, but I knew, and it caused me to stand back a little instead of becoming utterly immersed in the setting. She did fake it quite well though. It was a shame because the book was meticulously researched and really did justice to those terrible times. Even a few weeks in Luzon would have helped enormously into getting to the essential heart of Filipinos and their culture instead of attempting to replicate parts in this novel by way of “distance learning.”
The faking also occurred with some of her characters as I could not quite connect with some of them. Some were simply too shallow. They felt like outline sketches at times when I yearned for more flesh, color, and zip.
The same can be said for the plot as good as it was. It plodded too many times, perhaps understandable because there are only so many ways to write a scene in a nightclub where you fear for your life because you are a spy surrounded by a fearsome and loathsome enemy.
But you know what? The author pulled off a difficult job. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in WW2 historical fiction.
PS shall I let you into a secret? I’m a grown man and I cried at the end of this book.