Cover Image: The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

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Member Reviews

If you’re looking for a read with espionage, romance and a likable heroine, look no further. The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is such a treat to read and admittedly hard to put down. Though it’s main characters are fiction, I was enthralled to learn about Velvalee Dickinson, the first American woman to face the death penalty for her wartime betrayal during WWII. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The Cryptographer's Dilemma was my first Johnnie Alexander novel. Most WWII themed novels take place in Europe, but this historic novel takes place entirely in the US. What I loved most about the story, but did not realize until I read the author's note at the end, is that this is based on a true story. Yes, Velvalee and her mysterious letters did actually exist, as did a FBI investigation. This truly raised my level of appreciation for the story. I thought the characters were well thought out. I liked them all. The plot was a bit predictable, but the conclusion was solid. As for the writing style, I must admit that I never felt "transported" or truly lost in the book. I enjoyed it, but this did affect how invested I felt. Perhaps it was just me, but I would have preferred a style that was a bit more descriptive and perhaps a little longer. Overall, this was a good read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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The first in a series about women heroes of WW2, this novel has lots of action and enjoyable characters. Eloise, a codebreaker for the navy, is recruited to join the FBI to catch a spy named the Doll Woman who sold secrets to Japan. Phillip is the FBI agent who partners with Eloise to uncover the identity of the spy. Posing as brother and sister, they travel cross-country following up leads. This is a fictional account about a real-life spy. The chemistry between Eloise and Phillip develops throughout the story and I was rooting for them by the conclusion. Solid 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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#thecryptographersdilemma #netgalley
What a thrilling historical chase across the US to find the mysterious doll woman. This book is filled with action, suspense, history and romance. I loved it!
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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is the fascinating story of The Doll Woman’s covert activities during World War 2. Eloise Marshall was a talented code breaker and an amazing aid to the FBI in exposing the criminal, traitorous activities of Velvallee Dickinson. 

Some parts of the story seemed a bit too remarkable to be believable, but it is a novel not a text book and it was very interesting and enjoyable. .

I received an ARC from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. This is my own opinion.
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I thoroughly enjoyed The Cryptographer's Dilemma.  There was enough mystery to keep me wanting to read one more chapter and enough romance to keep me rooting for things to work out.  I didn't know until the end of the book that it was based a true story about spies during WWII.  Knowing that made me appreciate the story even more.
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This was an awesome book about one of the (fictional) unsung heroines of WWII. Women played such a large role so I always enjoy reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, about awesome, strong, intelligent women who did amazing work during this time. 

Eloise, a cryptographer who’s working with the FBI to de-code letters to unmask a traitor. Philip is the FBI agent who is paired with her. He initially isn’t thrilled with this assignment but soon begins to appreciate the skill set that Eloise brings, which then leads to growing feelings for Eloise herself. 

I liked that this was a nice mix between a sweet romance and suspense. The historical details were interesting, especially with some real historical figures mixed in. Some of the plot is predictable and I initially didn’t love Philip, but as the story progressed, I became engrossed in this book and I think it was a satisfying read. 

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is not what I expected, but it was a very good read! I thought, based on the title, the story would be full of code breaking and clues. That was about 20% of the story. The rest was a crash course in FBI field training during WW2. The Cryptographer's Dilemma is highly entertaining and enjoyable. The characters were likable, the plot line intriguing, and I had to finish it in one sitting. 

The basic plot is about cryptographer Eloise Marshall. She is teamed up with FBI agent Philip Clayton to track down someone who might be sharing secrets with the Japanese. The US Postal Service has intercepted seemingly innocent letters about dolls and doll conferences. But Eloise feels these letters are coded messages about warships. Eloise is suddenly thrown into the private world of spies, espionage, and subterfuge. With her cryptographer skills and Phillip's spy skills they will work together to try and track down the traitor.

If you like historical fiction that is light on romance and high on adventure, then you will enjoy this book. I look forward to the author's next book!
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I was disappointed in this as I expected to learn more about the "doll lady," and the FBI and naval Intelligence roles in finding her. This could have been very interesting but the focus was on the protagonists' relationship, which was not very plausible.
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Based on the true story of Velvalee Dickinson, aka the Doll Woman, The Cryptographer's Dilemma fictionalizes the story of the hunt for the traitorous spy who was passing information about damaged ships from Pearl harbor to the Japanese.  The character of Eloise, a crypotographer enlisted by the FBI is slowly developed as is her backstory.  FBI agent, Phillip Clayton's character seems to be stock FBI from 1950's movies.  The plot becomes predictable as the attraction between the two main characters grows.  References to their faith and "God's plans" for them seem to be randomly thrown in since nothing in the background of these characters leads the reader to believe that either one is especially religious.  This could have been an excellent spy vs FBI novel instead it falls to the level of a 1950's paperback romance.  Unfortunate, considering the factual story behind the novel; it could have been so much more.
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The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander is part of a series of novels celebrating the heroines of World War II. This is a fictional account based on an actual FBI investigation into a woman who was selling secrets to the Japanese.
From the first page, I was engaged, and this was a hard book to put down. I loved the characters than Alexander created to tell the story. These characters are people I would like to meet. Eloise is a cryptographer working with the FBI to decipher the code in letters mailed by the suspected traitor. She is paired with Philip, an FBI agent, as they travel around the country following clues and tracking leads, in hopes of catching the traitor, the elusive Doll Lady.

There is great chemistry between Eloise and Philip, and their friendship grows as they spend so much time together. But this is Eloise's story. The story of the cryptographer who faces a number of dilemmas as she works with Philip and the FBI to apprehend their target.

This book is very well written, with engaging characters, and lots of twists and turns thrown it. It is full of adventure and intrigue, along with some romance. You won't want to miss this one. A very good read - once I hated to see come to an end. This is my first Johnnie Alexander read, but it won't be the last! 

The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander will be published by Barbour Fiction on August 1, 2021. I received an advance reader copy from Net Galley in exchange for my opinion.
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The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander is a World War II novel focused on studying of codes and secrets. With the heroine's experience and brainpower. She is tossed into a world of secrets and even more daring adventures than she bargained for. While the chase to find the hidden message behind the Doll letters, the heroine and hero find romance as they try to work together and work hard to solve the mystery. The World War II world sounds familiar, even a little chiche at times. Sometimes, I felt like the World War II scenery was not that important that I forgot I was chasing someone who was giving away our nations secrets through these letters. The ending scene where the climactic moment occurred was very unclimactic too. Here is the horrible elements leading up to it. Here is the ultimate showdown. Oops! Story over. Wait! Backtrack. Did I miss something? After reading the ending for the second time, I did see the moments, but it was not all it was cracked up to be. Overall, The Cryptographer's Dilemma started out pretty interesting, and I could not wait to see what happened, but as the story progressed, the stroy and moments fell flat to me. 

I received a complimentary copy of The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander published by Barbour Publishing through Celebrate Lit. Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.
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This was the first book that I have read by Johnnie Alexander and I will be looking for more. The story caught my interest right away. I really like fiction that is based on true events, this being the investigation into the "Doll Woman" who gave information to the enemies of the U.S. after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I enjoyed learning more about the cryptographers who left home to aid in the search for any missives and secret information going out within the U.S. These kinds of things fascinate me. The story focuses on the cross country investigation led by a female cryptographer and a male FBI agent who are looking into the possibility that the government has found a traitor. The focus of the investigation is a seemingly harmless woman who sells dolls to collectors.
I am intrigued with this story and it's outcome. I followed the author's advice to seek out more information about this notorious woman. The fictional side of the story was equally interesting. I liked the characters and their story. I enjoy a riveting and clean read with historical information.
I want to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for my advanced reader's copy of the book. This is my own opinion.
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Eloise Marshall, the cryptographer, has several dilemmas. Should she leave her cryptography job at the Navy and work with the FBI? Should she pose as FBI agent Philip C’s sister and travel cross-country with him? Should she confront her father who disappeared thirteen years ago? Should she tell her mother?
Colorblindness keeps Philip from serving in the military during World War II. He’s frustrated, but soon grows to appreciate the opportunity to work with Eloise. Their task is to find an American traitor who uses messages about dolls to convey information to the enemy.
Based on true events, the story moved along at a good pace and kept my interest.
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This is another great WWII read!  This time, on American soil, the FBI is following leads to apprehend possible spies.  Having just broken up a ring of traitors, loyal to Germany,  a new search begins to find the author of letters referencing dolls that are suspected of having a double meaning.  In WWII, women's roles began to change as the men marched off to war, leaving behind countless jobs that must still be done.  Eloise, a cryptographer working for the United States Navy is pulled into the FBI to bring a woman's touch and her experienced code-cracking abilities to aid in the search for the new spy.  Her partner, an FBI agent with a chip on his shoulder after being rejected for active military duty due to color blindness, must get along with his new partner, chosen by his uncle, also with the FBI.  His one salvation, having four sisters and being more accustomed to women's moods than some men.
The story keeps the reader engaged and at times suspenseful, hoping the "Doll Woman" spy can be caught and brought to justice.  Above all, so many secrets, kept by so many different parties, are bound to cause difficulties as the story unfolds.
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I don't think I have read anything by this author (Johnnie Alexander) before, and this was a good introduction to her work. The book was intriguing, with the right balance of romance and suspense elements. I think the author did a good job of keeping the reader interested from beginning to end, although the romantic elements seemed a bit rushed towards the end. The investigative/cryptographic elements were good -- not too deep for the casual reader like myself who is looking for entertainment, rather than a mystery to solve. I think this book would be a good read for those who enjoy historical fiction by Roseanna M. White or Elizabeth Camden. I would read more of this author's work.
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I really enjoyed this story set in World War II. The characters were flawed, but interesting and empathetic, so it wasn't difficult for me to get attached to them. I hadn't heard of the Doll Woman case, so it was fun to learn about that bit of history, as well. I hadn't read anything by this author before, but after reading this book, I'd definitely read others by her!

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for the eARC of this story in exchange for my honest review.
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I selected this book because it highlights the role of cryptography, not a frequent theme in WWII novels. The story is based on true events, which to me makes a story extra attractive. I expected a suspense novel, but the book has a limited amount of tension. The main characters travel across the country, stop here and there, have a chat and a cup of tea while the reader is wondering where this is going. Although the objective is to find the “Doll Woman”, other unrelated events unexpectedly pop up. The book is a quick read and therefore there is no space to delve deep into the characters explaining where they are coming from. This makes certain events (for example Eloise losing control and an incriminating photograph) appear to come out of the blue. Eloise repeatedly following her own counsel left me speechless. I also found it hard to see a character who was so negatively portrayed initially, all of a sudden become (somewhat of) a good guy. An FBI man who acts the way Phillip did towards the end of the book, really? Overall it’s a quick and clean read with an interesting premise. I enjoyed the author’s writing style but I prefer thicker books with more back story and maybe that’s why it didn’t really strike a chord with me. 

Thank you NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me with an ARC, all opinions are my own.
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A fantastic novel made even better by the author's note about how it was based on a true story!  Eloise and Phillip are an unlikely pair to go gallivanting across the country in search of foreign spies, yet they make it work.  They meet up with some unexpected faces from the past, protect each other from danger, and discover a little bit about themselves along the way.  Would love to see more from this author!
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I am always delighted to find a new novel by JOHNNIE ALEXANDER and THE CRYPTOGRAPHER'S DILEMMA definitely does not disappoint. Taking place during WW11, the book is exciting and inspirational and  will grip you from beginning to end. Based on the true story of the Doll Lady, the author adds fictional characters that you will not forget in a hurry.
When Navy cryptographer, Eloise Marshall, is seconded by the FBI to unravel jargon codes in letters written by Japanese sympathizers after Pearl Harbor, she is determined to not let Agent Phillip Clayton or his uncle Richard Whitmer down. To start with, Phillip is not impressed with being partnered with a civilian, but his opinion soon changes when he experiences her interviewing skills and the easy way they work together.
There is a strong Christian message of forgiveness and reconciliation and of relying on the Lord who often engineers circumstances to bring about His purposes in a person's life. Add to this a sweet romance and plenty of intrigue and suspense and you have all you need for a great read.
I highly recommend The Cryptographer's Dilemma to anyone who enjoys this genre.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Barbour Publishing. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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