Cover Image: The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I am enjoying this series and learning more about the unique women who were behind the scenes during WWII. The characters were interesting and enjoyable in this story!
Was this review helpful?
It was an intriguing story based on true events.  I didn’t know the “Doll Woman” was a real person!  Reading this story made me want to do a bit of research and more reading about Velvalee Dickinson.
I didn’t really like how the characters rehashed over and over again in their minds why they couldn’t be together.  Once or twice would have been sufficient.
I was hoping for more historical detail.  It felt like some of the details that were inserted were space fillers and not very pertinent to the story as a whole. 
I enjoyed reading about the FBI in its infancy being only 30+ plus years old in the story. 
The characters, despite their flaws truly wanted what was best for themselves, each other, and their country. 
I felt that the ending was a bit rushed, and it left me with several questions- of which I cannot write about here without giving away some of the plot!
The cryptography aspect was very interesting.  I appreciated the fact that the author did not make it hard to understand how codes can be created and broken. 
This was my first book by Johnnie Alexander, and I am intrigued enough to read more by her.
Was this review helpful?
WWII is my absolute favorite time period to read about so I was very excited to dive into this story, especially after a ringing endorsement from my bestie!
Eloise and Phillip were both great characters and I really admired their desire to serve their country no matter the cost! Their relationship went from annoyance to friendship to something more rather seamlessly and while I would have enjoyed more romance I thought it was well paced.
The “Doll Woman” spy was a story I hadn’t heard before and I was fascinated by the details of it and the process of hunting her down! I also enjoyed traveling around the country through the characters!
In short this was a really solid read that I thoroughly enjoyed!
Was this review helpful?
Such an interesting take on this history. I love when books look at the female side of war time activities especially something as male dominated as cryptography.
Was this review helpful?
The Cryptographer's Dilemma was written by Johnnie Alexander and is book one in the Heroines of WWII series.  Each of the five books in this series is written by a different author.

Summary: Eloise Marshall has always been good at breaking codes, so when she is sent on special assignment with the FBI, she is intrigued by the special code they have been unable to break.

Will she be able to solve the mystery and find who is leaking sensitive information about American troop movements before it is too late?  And can she do it while saddled with a surly agent as a teammate who wants to be anywhere else but with her?

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this book.  I really liked the relationship that develops between the two agents, and how she earns Phillip's trust.  The story is interesting, entertaining, and a good mystery. I also really love books set during World War II, so that was a plus too.

It is definitely worth the read-especially if you enjoy historical war-time fiction with a healthy dose of mystery and intrigue.

I would like thank Barbour Publishing, Inc. for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my review.  Thank you!
Was this review helpful?
The Cryptographer’s Dilemma was my first read by Johnnie Alexander.  But it wont be the last.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was filled with intrigue, suspense and a little romance thrown into the mix.  I think anyone who likes the not so common historical facts written into historical fiction will love this book. I enjoyed how the book was written.  It kept my attention until the last page.  
	I would recommend reading Johnnie Alexander’s website after reading the book.  She takes the time to show a “behind the scenes look at the characters in the book.  Velvalee was named WWII’s “Number One Woman Spy” by the FBI who also gave her the nickname of “The Doll Woman.” And The Cryptographers Dilemma was mainly about identifying and tracing down the doll woman.  At the end of the book Johnnie Alexander provided details on any liberties she took from historical facts.  And she also gave a list of the resources she used to write this book.  It was a fascinating read and I would recommend The Cryptographers Dilemma.  
	I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley with no obligations. 

Posted on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble
Was this review helpful?
What I think you should know:
The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is a Historical Christian Fiction by Johnnie Alexander. It is a standalone book in the Heroines of WWII series. It is set in the United States during WWII. It is a fictional spin on the true story and focuses on the effort to catch a spy who was supplying enemies with information about ship movements disguised as letters about dolls.

What you might need to know:
Eloise lost her brother Allen at Pearl Harbor.

What I think about this book:
This is the first book I have read by Alexander and I am super impressed. This was a well thought out story that had enough mystery and intrigue to catch my attention and enough substance to keep me hooked even though I thought I knew the basics of the story. Eloise was a wonderful character, however it was Philip who caught me. I love how his character wanted to serve in the military, not just the FBI. I also appreciated how he had a heart for the German spies who he caught and how he realized that even though they were our “enemies” they were just men who thought they were doing the best thing for their country. I really enjoyed reading this story and will read more of the series and more of Alexander’s works.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoy reading stories of what life was like on the World War 2 home front. I appreciated the fact that this book was based on historical fact and a real case. The background details were well-supported.

Eloise Marshall went to school to become a math teacher. But when her brother is killed at Pearl Harbor (mentioned very early in the book, so not a spoiler!), she offers her services as a cryptologist. She uses her mathematics backgrounds to solve codes in the war. That element was intriguing, and I wish the author would have included even more.

As an FBI agent, Philip should feel like he is making a difference. But really he wants to be over fighting in the war. Getting assigned to pose as Eloise's brother, so that they can travel across the country to try to solve a case that involves scripted letters is not what he has in mind.

The book had a great premise. But for me, the plot never quite moved past good to great. Some parts seemed repetitive. Some of the family situations were confusing and overly complicated. I wanted to like the book even more than I did. Still I would probably want to read the next book in the series.

I read this book through NetGalley. I wanted to write a review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Multiple cities in the United States 1942

When I chose to read this novel, I knew the author was Johnnie Alexander (an author I've enjoyed reading) and it's the start of a new WWII Series.  Sold.

Eloise Marshall, former school teacher, is happily serving the U.S. Navy in the role of code breaker when she is approached to assist the FBI with a unique case that would benefit from a woman's touch.

Her would be partner, Agent Phillip Clayton, is less than enthused to put it mildly.

Once their journey begins, they slowly begin to see positives in the other.  What I loved most about Phillip is how he represents others who so want to serve overseas, but aren't given approval for one reason or another.  He feels like he is less than a full contributor to the war effort.  At the same time, the way he is able to contribute, makes him question what's right in the eyes of God.  Shouldn't we all seek God for his guidance?  Readers get to see some raw emotion for a man in this situation.

Eloise is equally delightful with her love of solving codes.  She wants to prove that she can contribute to the war effort.  She has a spunky character about some areas, but shows fallibility in others.

Riding along with Phillip and Eloise as they solve the mystery of who is selling American secrets putting soldiers and citizens at risk was enjoyable.  I look forward to reading the next in the series.
Was this review helpful?
This is book one of the Heroines of WWII series, a Historical Christian read that takes place in the 1940's during Pearl Harbor era.  When Eloise, a FBI cryptographer and gets assigned a job to find out what the significant is about some letters regarding dolls. She and Phillip, another agent are assigned to each other to work undercover and find out the details about these letters.  Can they decode and be safe on this mission?  Will they find more feelings for each other than just a working relationship?  What is all the mystery about?

If you want a historical read that takes you back into time and drama, read this book.  It does have light romance but the mystery of the letters is what keeps you reading.  It is a good book that keeps your interest and the history and time details are good for those that like to go back into an era and time, it takes you there and keeps you interested. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting story, dealing with code breakers, FBI, and spies on American soil. I enjoyed the story, and was surprised to read that it was based a true event…
Was this review helpful?
The Cryptographer's Dilemma
By Johnnie Alexander 
Pub Date August 1, 2021 
Barbour 

Thanks to Barbour, NetGalley, and Johnnie Alexander for the ARC of this book.  It is definitely worth your time!~ 
espionage, romance, and a strong heroine—readers of Sarah Sundin will not want to miss The
Cryptographer’s Dilemma, a shocking tale of betrayal and truth being brought to light.
This is the first Johnnie Alexander Book I have read and I will be looking for more. 

5 star
Was this review helpful?
A unique WWII story:
I thought it was interesting and unique focusing on cryptography and the role the FBI played to keep the USA safe during WWII. I really enjoyed the intrigue and was curious as to how it would play out. It was a nice easy read with a good plot and excellent pacing.
It was good seeing Phillip and Eloise grapple with their issues and I liked the personal growth they both displayed. Personally I would have liked the romance aspects to have been developed more but it was still a sweet hint at a relationship. There was a very light Christian thread but overall this book could be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their personal beliefs.
I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this novel, a good example of an amateur person put on the tail of a traitor. Eloise is a good heroine. She's a capable woman, helping decode, then being taken in by the FBI. I liked reading about her FBI training. Eloise was a trooper.

I always enjoy learning something new when I read fiction and there was much in this novel about decoding. I had no idea the time and effort put into the process. And I was surprised at the many types of codes, especially the one that would look like a regular letter but contained code words and phrases. 

I like this series because the fiction is based on fact. There really was a Doll Woman who received money from the Japanese for information about American ships damaged at Pearl Harbor. I appreciate the Author's Note identifying the fact and fiction in the novel.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy historical fiction. You'll find a good novel about how the FBI worked in the 1940s, a bit about decoding, and a good budding romance. There is a little Christian faith in the novel but it is slight.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
What an interesting WW2 historical this novel was. Eloise Marshall is a cryptographer who is actually quite good at her job. So good in fact that she has caught the eye of the FBI who need her help on some suspicious letters about dolls and doll repair that the supposed senders and recipients knew nothing about. Joining her and going undercover as her brother is agent Phillip Clayton.

Both Eloise and Phillip want to help out in the war effort. Phillip especially wants to see battle but due to his color blindness he cannot fly any planes.  So they are both sent on this mission to get to the bottom of what these letters are all about. 

Many secrets come to light and the realities of the Great Depression are still heavy on each of their souls, even though they were younger during that time. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, thus killing Eloise's brother, has definitely impacted both of them. Can they get to the bottom of this mission intact and with answers to stop anything else nefarious the enemy is trying to do?

This was a very interesting read with a real life case that was quite strange but nonetheless threatened our freedom's of the time.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This was a well researched, well thought out story that interestingly educated me and made me want to know more. 
I enjoyed getting to know more about Eloise and Philip's jobs as a cryptographers, the research that went into deciphering codes to keep the country safe. 
It was truly exciting to see them caught up in trying to figure out who was writing codes to the enemy and it for an interesting read.
Lovers of historical fiction, world war II and spy stories would enjoy this one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit. All opinions expressed are solely mine
Was this review helpful?
Eloise Marshall cannot stand Phillip Clayton. She finds him arrogant, condescending, and full of old-fashioned ideas about women’s roles in society.
Phillip Clayton can’t believe his new partner is a woman. One with no espionage experience or training, and this mission they’re on… interviewing women about collector’s dolls?! Child’s play when you consider the life-and-death case he is currently wrapping up.

How do two mismatched people move from disdain and contempt to grudging admiration to love? Author Johnnie Alexander aptly traces this very gentle, romantic adventure from its inception in her suspenseful novel, The Cryptographer’s Dilemma, #1 Heroines of WWII.

I love the way that we see the softer sides of both Phillip and Eloise come to light in the other’s eyes, and their integrity becomes evident.
This line made Phillip swoon-worthy to me:
“In the depth of his eyes, she detected curiosity, but more than that, she found compassion.”
Yes, Phillip is good-looking, but Eloise finds that off-putting until she realizes his gentle, caring nature. Isn’t that an important quality most women want in a man?

Eloise, for her part, like Phillip, knows when to pry and when to give him space until he’s ready to share the massive burdens weighing down his heart. Plus she’s brave, adventurous, smart, and good at ferreting out information from suspects.

One part of the storyline gave me pause. I puzzled over it for a couple of days, wondering if the character’s actions fit with how that person was drawn. I finally decided one never knows the human heart and its machinations. I may or may not have written that part of the story with those results, but I agree it could be plausible.

If you like WWII novels, near-enemies to lovers(clean) stories, or tales where individuals overcome hurts in their past, this Johnnie Alexander novel is calling your name. Listen.

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own, voluntarily given.
Was this review helpful?
First in the new Heroines of WWII series, this novel combines the best of Christian historical and suspense genres. This is a stand-alone novel, as each of the others will be. It is the first novel I’ve read by Johnnie Alexander, and I am very impressed! The characters are portrayed with excellence. I felt as if I got to know each of the primary characters.  It is fast-paced, well-researched, and the protagonists are people of faith.

During World War II, women and a few men unable to enlist were recruited for in valued positions in cryptography or code breaking. Messages intercepted from enemies were sent to the unit to be decoded. There were many kinds of codes, with new ones being designed regularly, so it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. As someone who loves puzzles, I would have enjoyed doing this but would have lacked the mathematics skills to excel at it as Eloise has.

Eloise enjoys what she is doing, even if she does miss her mother and her students. Her brother Allan, with whom she had been very close, was killed at Pearl Harbor a few months earlier. This is her way of taking up his mantle to serve their country.

An FBI agent, Phillip wanted desperately to join his cousins and childhood friends as a pilot in the military but couldn’t meet a certain requirement. His plan is to flip a coin to see whether to enlist in the army or navy. His uncle, Richard, is a higher-up in the FBI, and gives him one last mission.

Richard has three letters that were sent to an address in Argentina. Two were pulled by the censors due to the unusual content. A third was marked return to sender, and the woman whose return address was on it had not written it. She took it to the head of her local post office. Richard asked Eloise if she thought they were in code. He sends them, posing as brother and sister, to Ohio and Spokane to visit the women whose addresses the letters are sent from. All are about dolls, so Eloise could talk about dolls with the ladies and be available for codes, while Phillip does the official interviews. Neither was happy about going with the other, so it will be a long week ahead of them.

The trip was extended as more information was uncovered. During their enforced time together, they got to know each other and erase the misconceptions they had for the other. Each has feelings for the other but knowing Phillip will be enlisting soon keeps them in denial. Soon they have bigger problems when a spiteful person blows their cover to the whodunit.

This novel invited me in at the start and held my attention throughout. I enjoyed reading about cryptography, meeting Phillip and Eloise, and considering the spiritual lessons. I appreciated how their faith was important to both, and how the intriguing the mystery was. The ending was overall satisfactory but I felt there was one open item that, while not critical to the mystery, had my curiosity. 
What happened to the real doll woman, as well as what is fact or fiction in the novel, is detailed at the end. I highly recommend this to those who appreciate reading about WWII “code girls”, a good mystery with potential for romance, and how people live out their faith.

From a thankful heart: I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher, NetGalley, and Celebrate Lit, and this is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK Joy Hannabass 

Cryptographer Eloise Marshall and FBI Agent Philip Clayton were not happy that they were thrown together on an assignment concerning  letters about dolls. It seems innocent enough, but there was something weird about it. This assignment sends Phillip and Eloise across the country to find who wrote the letters. They were to go as brother and sister, even though they couldn’t stand each other.

This was an interesting book to read. I’ve read several books about Cryptographer’s and coding, and enjoyed this one very much. I liked both Eloise and Phillip as I followed their journey interviewing ladies about their dolls and the letter each lady supposedly wrote. The other characters were likeable and they were all realistic. Getting an insight about the job of a cryptographer and figuring out the codes was informative and interesting. Johnnie Alexander does an awesome job with details in this story, it was very well researched. If you enjoy WWII stories you will enjoy this one. The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is Five Stars for me.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

About the Author
Was this review helpful?
The Cryptographer’s Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander is the first book in the Heroines of WWII series by various authors. Eloise Marshall is approached by the FBI to help break a code. What she and fellow FBI agent, Philip Clayton, uncover is a traitor giving secrets to the Japanese. This story takes you across the US and back again. You meet some interesting people along the way and learn about the different codes used during the war. Eloise and Philip made a great pair. There wasn’t a lot of heart-stopping action in the story, but it was more of an easy-read suspense.


I received this book from Celebrate-Lit for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?