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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

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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
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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.
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Eloise Marshall was happy in her job as a maths teacher before the US Navy recruits her as a cryptographer … and she is then transferred to the FBI. After training, she is partnered with Phillip Clayton. He is unable to fight because he is colourblind … something I didn’t work out until about halfway through, despite the author’s effort to show it in the first line. (Was I the only person who didn’t understand he was colourblind?)

The FBI needs both Eloise’s code-breaking ability and a “womanly touch” to discover the truth behind some strange letters about broken dolls. Are the letters nothing more than they appear to be, or are they some kind of message within a message, a traitor using a steganography code to pass information to America’s enemies?

At one point, Phillip observes that Eloise doesn’t seem to notice masculine attention. He seems to see this as a positive, that she’s not trying to attract male attention. I saw it as a negative: how good is she as an FBI agent if she doesn’t notice the people around her?

I enjoyed the World War II setting. I’m a big fan of novels featuring code-breaking and cryptography (e.g those by Roseanna M White). It was the cryptography that caught my attention. I also enjoyed the back-and-forth hunt for the evildoer—and I appreciated it even more when I read the Author’s Note at the end and discovered the plot was based on fact.

But I was kind of lost when it came to Eloise’s “dilemma”. What was it? I can only assume it was the will-she-won’t-she search for the father who abandoned her and her mother … a plot point I thought was weakened by the fact we didn’t know she was searching for him.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story, as it’s a unique angle that made for a solid romance. Thanks to Barbour Fiction and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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Singled out for a special assignment, Eloise Marshall, a codebreaker with the US Navy, is determined to serve her country and do her part for the War effort. Phillip wants nothing more than to serve his country, but unable to enlist he asks his uncle to find him a way to serve in the FBI. An encrypted letter sets Phillip and Eloise on the trail of a Japanese informant, will they be able to stop the informant before it's too late?

An engaging historical novel about the sacrifices of the men and women fighting the war on the home front. Phillip and Eloise are excellent heroes that you can cheer for throughout, I liked how they grew as friends over the course of the book, and that they could confide in each other and talk about their faith together. Eloise is brilliant, but humble, and I love that she does the best that she can with what she is given. Uncle Lawrence is an excellent supporting character, who encourages them along the way. 

Overall, a well written novel about the heroes who fought from the home front, with building tension throughout. A well paced read, with an engaging plot, as they piece the clues together. Highly enjoyable read, with excellent characters, definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
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An intriguing World War II spy thriller set in the US as the FBI attempts to stop The Doll Lady, who has been passing American secrets to the Japanese. Based on a real person who betrayed her nation, the book tells how the FBI recruits Cryptographer Eloise Marshall to assist Agent Phillip Clayton in tracking down the guilty party. This takes them around the country amid adventures and danger. I enjoyed the compelling story, which WWII buffs should like too. We see a different side of the war—one most probably have never heard of. The true-to-life characters and situations were convincing, but I felt like a few loose ends weren’t tied up in the conclusion—such as Eloise’s stepmother and confronting her own mother. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting novel that holds your attention to the end and keeps you wondering how it will all turn out. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is a Christian Historical Fiction Story that is written by Johnnie Alexander. This is the first book in the Heroines of WWII series. The series is written by different authors, but tied together by the Heroine theme. I was super excited to read this book since I have done major research with my masters on spies. Spies spoke and wrote in codes. So I was excited to read about code cracking and such during World War II. 

Travel back to 1942. We see  Eloise Marshall who is a FBI cryptographer. She has recently lost her brother in Pearl Harbor. She is smart, talented and beautiful. However, she can't tell anyone what she is doing. Agent Phillip Clayton wants to enlist and join the fight, however is asked to work one more FBI case. Phillip's uncle has recruited Eloise to decode some letters between doll makers. What is uncovered is a Japanese Spy Ring. Could there be a traitor within the Americans?

I love the amount of research that the author did on this book. As a historian myself, it is refreshing to see so much history placed into a book to make it as real as possible. The characters are well developed, the storyline is intriguing and the writing flows nicely. I am excited to read the next book in the series. 

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program, all thoughts are my own.
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If you enjoy Historical Christian Fiction focused on World War II then this is definitely the book for you. You can tell the author did her research and was passionate about the topic. It truly jumps out at you through the pages as you are reading. I thought the characters were well developed and the storyline is truly engaging and intriguing. The author did a great job at interweaving the element of faith throughout the story. 

Overall I thought this was a great start to this new collection by Barbour Publishers! I highly recommend you grab this one. 

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma
by Johnnie Alexander
Pub Date 01 Aug 202
 Barbour Publishing, Inc.,  Barbour Fiction
 Christian  |  Historical Fiction 


I am reviewing a copy of The Cryptographer’s Dilemma through Barbour Publishing and Netgalley:



Eloise Marshall is an FBI cryptographer who is grieving the death of her brother who was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls.  


Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job.  A case of coded defense coordinates is related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?


I give The  Cryptographers dilemma Five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!
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When it comes to historical fiction, those stories taking place during or around the time of WWII happen to be among some of my absolute favorites, so I was really excited to check out this first book in the new Heroines of WWII series. While a fictional story, it is based upon true events... which always make for some great tales, don't they!?

First and foremost, the research that went into bringing The Cryptographer's Dilemma was evident in the story, which is something that I always very much appreciate in this type of story... I may not be the biggest history buff, but I enjoy learning about how people lived at the time. I enjoyed the history in this story and learning more about the roles of some of those people right here in the US during the war. Given the book description and the topic of spies and the like given, I must admit I perhaps expected this one to be a little more fast paced than it was for me personally, but it was enjoyable nonetheless I look forward to reading more in this series to come! 

 **I received a complimentary copy of this book for consideration. All thoughts are my own.
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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma
by Johnnie Alexander
Series: Heroines of WWII Book 1
Barbour Publishing
Rated: 4
Back of the Book: “Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII. FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?”
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this WW2 mystery romance. It took me a bit longer to read this book due to my schedule however each time I picked this story up I was pulled back into the adventure and romance. I think that it was a fun perspective and unique storyline. I also appreciated that the relationship between the characters bloomed over time as their characters revealed more depth rather than just physical attraction and lust. That being said it was a clean romance and the story was well balanced between the romance and the mystery of the doll woman. One thing I did not care for was the cover. The model looks lifeless which is not a reflection of Eloise's character. If this is your genre, give this book a read.
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review shared here.
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The Cryptographers Dilemma was a fun book to read. I enjoyed it very much. I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a spy. So it was fun to live vicariously through Eloise & Phillip. It was fun to watch them interact as the story went along. I thought the characters were well developed. I liked how Johnnie Alexander used historical characters and weaved them throughout the story. I love history so reading another aspect of the was a enjoyable! II’ve always been intrigued by spy’s and code. Learning about the different codes used during World war two was pretty fascinating.

Johnnie Alexander did a wonderful job recreating a part of history not everyone will know. I am excited to read more from her!

I recommend this book to my family and friends. v

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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"I have found that I have a fondness for stories of the men and women who did codebreaking during the Second World War. Instead of taking place in England as others I've read, The Cryptographer's Dilemma takes place in the United States. And most of the story takes place outside the walls of the Navy codebreaker's rooms and on the trail of the source of mysterious letters intercepted by the Postal Service. I was especially interested to learn that this is based on a true account.

I loved Phillip and Eloise. They were both very likable characters. Their growing attraction to one another was very natural. Phillip's penchant for imitating Humphrey Bogart was cute and it actually helped me to keep a 1940s image in my head instead of the present day.

While the plot was exciting, the story wasn't edge-of-your-seat for me. The pace was slower and focused more on the interactions and the bigger story than action and intrigue.

This first book of a new series with multiple authors appears to be related by subject and not interconnected in any other way. If you enjoy stories of the FBI and espionage, give The Cryptographer's Dilemma a read.


I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own."
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The Cryptographer's Dilemma is an intense cat and mouse read to catch the person who is writing in code, giving information to the Japanese.

The author did an excellent job of combining historical information with a cast of characters that are engaging. I really enjoyed watching Eloise's growth throughout the story and her ability to adapt to unusual circumstances.

A touch of espionage and romance kept me guessing about the players in the story until the end, and the spiritual reflections were inspirational. It is a very enjoyable and exciting read. Highly recommended.

I received a copy from the author and voluntarily choose to review it. All opinions are my own.
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I absolutely love it when authors take little known pieces of history, and make them come alive in a book. I found the plot to be simply fascinating. First of all, I enjoy reading about women in history who made something for themselves in a “man’s world” so to speak. Eloise was so talented, and yet couldn’t even share with her mother what she was doing. But I think the secretness of it made it that much more exciting. I can’t imagine the amount of research Alexander had to do in order to portray this character. To see her reading the letters, trying to pick up any clues, figure out the code, and put it all together. It was brilliant.

Then you have our a hurting hero, upset because he cannot support his country the way he wants to because of his disability. I don’t think I’ve read a color blind character before, and could certainly sympathize with how upset he was. I would have liked to see more of this in the story line honestly. But I also understand that there are only so many words and author can put in a book! I will say the best lesson I learned from Phillip is that God has a plan for our lives, and it doesn’t always match what our plans are. Phillip wanted to fight in the war so desperately, and I think it took him awhile to truly understand that he was fighting in the war, just in a different way. And in the end it ended up being the better way, of course, because he met Eloise. But it took him some time to get there, just like it does us.

The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is a gem of a book that I am so happy I decided to read. It has mystery, excitement, a little romance, travel, and and interesting bits of history along the way. Historical fiction fans will enjoy reading about Eloise and Phillip and their journey to find the letter writer. I highly recommend! I was given a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I love war stories about espionage and how people are caught. What intrigued  me about the story was learning about cryptography. It is a special gift to be able to decipher codes  that are sent to deter the conman person from figuring out what is being said. Elosie is  a very smart woman whose talent is vital to the FBI. It was interesting to get a glimpse of how she works. It must have been a great honor to be chosen for a special assignment. Working with another agent will find her traveling to different places while collecting information for  the  FBI. 

Phillip was a good character but I didn’t connect with him as much. He was a good agent yet he always seemed to think he could be doing something else for his country. At first I wasn’t sure how working with Eloise would work out, but they did take their assignment serious enough that they blended well with each other. As they began their secret mission I was ready to join them and help them along the way. They made me want to know them more and the author gives us a little background about each of them which helped me understand their traits better.

The secret letters that they followed was really fun as the mystery started to unravel. The historical facts are good and kept with the time period perfectly. Each letter was a challenge as Eloise used her skills to decipher the hidden messages in each one. It was easy for me to figure out who the person was behind all the mystery which disappointed me. I wanted more mystery and less about Eloise worried that she would not be a part in solving the case. 

I had no idea that the story was based on a true historical person. Now this made me want to go back and do research about this person. It wasn’t uncommon for secrets to be passed during wartime, but it was uncommon as who was doing it in thus book. Having the codes deciphered quickly was a let  down for me. I wanted tithe author  to expand on this more and maybe add more drama to the story. 

I was very confused when a certain character appeared in the story. It just didn’t make sense why he was there and how quickly Eloise started to depend  on him. We see her upset seeing something  in the paper and given no clue for some time. I really want to know how he became involved and why he was suddenly trust worthy. The ending was a let down though and was very light on a faith element. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit . The review is my own opinion.
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This story interested me, as I did not know much about cryptographers prior to reading the novel, and this book details the well-researched history of cryptographers during World War II.  I think I was hoping for a more complex and detailed plot, but the characters in this book truly shine!  I liked Eloise and Philip and enjoyed reading about their realistic relationship as it developed in the story.  The mystery was a bit too simplistic for me, but I think focusing on the growth of Eloise and Philip allowed me to enjoy this novel.  I also really liked how the author created a strong female lead who is smart and independent and did a good job highlighting the roles of women during WWII.  Overall, I liked reading this novel and recommend it to those who like historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Tours.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is an entertaining, absorbing read!  This fictional account, based on an actual FBI case, kept me invested from the first page to the last.  Ms. Alexander’s clear, concise style and attention to detail allows you, the reader, to feel you are alongside Philip and Eloise on their adventurous journey across the United States in search of the identity of the World War 2 spy who is selling information to the Japanese.  I like the way cryptography is incorporated into the story.  It adds interest without being boring or overwhelmingly complex. The combination of richly drawn characters, a steadily flowing plot with plenty of intriguing twists, slow-building romance, and a thread of faith, make for an exciting, satisfying reading experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it especially for lovers of historical romance. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book in e-book form from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Solving a mystery is one of my favorite activities, so 'helping' Eloise decode the clues was fun. Especially as it's based on a true story! 

I felt a connection to the emotional roller coaster she was on, right there with her as she grappled with both Philip and her family stresses.

The transition from wanting to knock the chip off Philip's shoulder to wanting his approval to wanting his heart was well done. Not rushed, even if the whole story takes less than a month.

Philip is a great guy whose dream of being a pilot was crushed before it ever had a chance. But he's a Good detective, and determined. And given half a chance, his heart shines through in great ways!

There's enough of the story wrapped up to be fully satisfying, and yet a couple of things are not completely tied up to either leave room for a sequel or satisfy realists who know that we do not always have the answers we want.

I received a copy of the book from #celebratelit and @netgalley and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
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I thought this book was nice. Not really my favorite, but I just finished another book with a similar plot that I just liked better. Nothing against this author. I thought it was nice just not my favorite.
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I chose this book because it's part of a series that I read another book in ("The unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII"). I enjoyed this book - it is a slow burning story, which to me, seemed to really quickly wind up at the end.
I felt that some of the characters could do with more context and less contradictions. To explain this would require spoilers, so I won't go into details but some relationships change in an instant and it seems like the characters have done a complete 360.  I also felt like the doll lady needed context as I had no feeling about her either way until the end.
I got this in exchange for an honest review. As I said earlier, I did like the book and it's worth a read despite my small problems with the book.
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