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The Girl from Bletchley Park

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The Girl From Bletchley Park - Kathleen McGurl

1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country’s future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice – and Pam’s loyalty is pushed to its limits…
Present day. Julia is struggling to juggle her career, two children and a husband increasingly jealous of her success. Her brother presents her with the perfect distraction: forgotten photos of their grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park. Why did her grandmother never speak of her time there? The search for answers leads Julia to an incredible tale of betrayal and bravery – one that inspires some huge decisions of her own…

I really enjoyed this book, I raced through it in a day. It’s fast paced and keeps you intrigued. I liked the characters, Julia is harrangued right from the start and I  thought ‘I know this woman’s life!’ within 2 pages and wanted to shout at her family to get off their arses!
Pamela was a warmer character to me, clearly younger and more naive in some ways than Julia and she has more of the ‘adventure’ of the book. 

I really like the dual timeline aspect and it’s what often draws me to historical fiction but the problem is that one often feels stronger. In this book however, it was pretty evenly weighted. At the beginning, the earlier timeline with Pamela felt stronger, I connected more with the characters. The modern day timeline frustrated me a bit, and I felt I could spot the plot points coming. However, this did not detract from a great story and later I was hooked and cheering on both Julia and Pamela. Like a good puzzle it was a satisfying read as all the pieces slotted into place. There is plenty of love, betrayal and heartbreak and I found the little bit of an inside look at Bletchley Park fascinating - I have visited many years ago and now definitely want a return trip!


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Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources @hqstories for my copy of this ebook and spot on the tour
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following the lives of the girls that worked in secret at Bletchley Park within the war years. Also it shows family life of those who are related to those girls but in the present tense. Bletchley was a very important part of the war and if you haven't been there I recommend that you go after reading this book, you will find it very interesting. It may even help you to visit there first so that you have an insight to the book.  Very well written and explained and well worth a read.  5 stars 

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this eARC
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A brilliant novel with WW2 theming set alongside present day.  When an old Box Brownie camera belonging to her Grandmother is given to Julia  a story of code-breaking and Bletchley Park is discovered.  The camera still has film in it and upon developing Julia begins the task of unraveling her Grandmother's early life and discovering the  part she played in code breaking during the war.  Whilst in the middle of this, Julia's life is dissolving around her, her boys do nothing around the house, her husband is absent a lot of the time and her business partner is pilfering their accounts.  The story is heartbreak and happiness rolled into one.  A delightful book that I couldn't put down.
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Better late than never! Thanks go to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary digital copy of The Girl From Blethley Park. I voluntarily agreed to read and review around the publication date. My opinions are my own, and nothing has influenced my rating of this book.

The Girl From Blethley Park is a well written novel set in England during WWII. The pacing is steady and held my attention. The characters are engaging and the plot is intriguing.

This novel is told through the POV of Julia and Pamela. Julia is Pamela’s granddaughter and is reading her diary during her grandmother’s time spent at Blethley Park during the war. Each chapter title moves the story from present day to Pamela’s time. The transition is smooth and didn’t pull me from the story.

Pamela’s tale is intriguing and added greatly to my overall enjoyment of the book. Her work for the war effort gave me another look into the hows and whys of WWII. England was directly impacted by that horrific war. While this novel doesn’t focus on the bombs exploding over England, it gave me plenty of insight into the difficulties England endured.

Julia’s story is different. She’s a mother and a wife and has her own company. Her time is divided between her home obligations and her devotion to her business. As with many in her situation, either her work suffers or her relationships with her family. For me, I could understand her struggling since I too have gad to divide my time between my work and my husband. I could identify with her dilemma.

This is a novel dealing with issues women face today and started when women entered the workforce during WWII. Women then and today , must joggle devotion to family and obligations to their career much more than men. While it’s much better today as men accept a woman’s right to have important careers, there is still an inequality between them. Perhaps as the current generation becomes adults this will no longer be a problem.

If you enjoy women’s fiction and historical fiction then you will like The Girl From Blethley Park as much as I did. Happy reading!
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A gifted maths student in 1942, Pamela decides to defer her place at Oxford and instead take up the opportunity to contribute to the war effort by working as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. Her granddaughter Julia, running her successful software development company in the present day alongside the demands of her family, knew nothing about Pamela’s history until she found an undeveloped film on a Box Brownie camera, and – with the help of a memoir written by her grandmother’s friend Clarissa – the long-hidden secrets of her wartime life begin to emerge.

Meanwhile, Julia’s own life is rather falling apart – a husband who resents her being the main breadwinner, a family who expect her to do everything around the home on top of her long working days, and problems emerging about her company’s cashflow. Following Pamela’s fascinating history provides her with some escape from her day-to-day problems, and a story emerges of danger and betrayal, a young girl who finds herself caught up in the excitement of a new relationship and ignoring the warning signs.

A dual time story is always something the author does so very well – she has the gift of giving both threads equal weight, making both stories strong and engaging, always with clever mirroring between both threads. The behind-the-scenes view of Bletchley Park’s operations is superbly done, through the eyes and experiences of a young woman entering a world she initially knows nothing about – there’s the joy of new friends, the frisson of new romance, anticipation about the social life available, but also the emphasis on the need to be alert to any risks to security as their day-to-day activities play their part in changing the course of the war. The emphasis in other books I’ve read about Bletchley Park has always been on Turing and Enigma, and it was particularly fascinating to find out more about Colossus – with that nice mirroring when viewing it as an early form of computer, when Julia’s work in IT shows how far technology has moved on.

I must admit that – at first – I was slightly less engaged by the present day story. I’m rarely a fan of reading about the world of work, and there was an early emphasis on the ups and downs of Julia’s business – and I did struggle to like her, finding her particularly prickly at times, rather rubbing everyone’s nose in how successful she was. But as the story progressed, I found myself increasingly in her corner, liking her considerably more – and she certainly shows great strength in working through the issues that beset her. The family set-up is particularly well drawn – husband Marc’s absence of support or engagement (what an infuriating man!) and the two young sons who step up to the plate when their help is needed.

But I entirely loved every twist and turn of the wartime story – Pamela is eminently likeable, and having just left school suitably innocent and naive. There’s a nice focus on the changing roles of women, I very much enjoyed her friendships (Clarissa is a particularly strong character), and her story certainly had me on the edge of my seat at times.

As always, I really enjoyed the author’s story telling – this book is an easy read, but well-paced and compelling, and its dual time structure well-handled to keep the pages turning, immersing you in the secrets of the past while keeping you wholly engaged with the present. A very enjoyable read, and something just a little different from the author’s usual writing – definitely recommended by me.
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Another great book from Kathleen McGurl in her time slip frame.
During the Second World War Pam worked at Bletchley Park as one of the descriptors who were responsible for shortening the war. This due to signing the  official secrets act was never l own by her family.
Present day her granddaughter Julia is given a pile of old pictures and letters of Pam’s and then becomes the journey of finding out what Pam did in the war.
Running along side this is the story of Julia and how she deals with the traumas of her life.
Great read
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Book Review “The Girl from Bletchley Park” by Kathleen Mcgurl
The Girl from Bletchley Park

A country at war. A heartbreaking betrayal.

1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country’s future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice – and Pam’s loyalty is pushed to its limits…

Present day. Julia is struggling to juggle her career, two children and a husband increasingly jealous of her success. Her brother presents her with the perfect distraction: forgotten photos of their grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park. Why did her grandmother never speak of her time there? The search for answers leads Julia to an incredible tale of betrayal and bravery – one that inspires some huge decisions of her own…


This is one of those books that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go until the very last page. I adore Historical drama and especially anything surrounding Bletchley. I am utterly fascinated by it and what occurred there. This is a wonderful insight into how women were enlisted into roles and really helps you see just how hard it must have been to keep their work private. the constant worry that they might have let something slip.

The story telling across time is superb and the fact that Julia, in the present day finds out that her Grandmother worked at Bletchley park is a great addition to the way the plot unravels. She sees her in a totally different light. I found Pam to be an astute woman who really wants to do something for her country during the war. She wants to make a difference and maybe find a little love along the way. Pam almost lets her emotions get the better of her when she falls for a handsome gardener. Is he all he makes out to be, just a little bit too good? Alarm bells rang for me immediately when he starts asking Pam about her job, his moods change quickly and soon becomes very much more than Pam thinks.

Julia works hard in her own business seemingly to the detriment of her two boys and husband. When she discovers the history of her grandmother Pam, she really begins to look inward and wonders if she’s doing the right things in her life. Then she is let down in catastrophic ways by the two most important men in her life.

I savoured every historical word in The Girl from Bletchley Park. The pace is excellent and holds your interest. Moving between past and present day works excellently and only adds to hold your attention right until the end. A thoroughly moving and gripping story that I would highly recommend to any War time drama lovers such as myself.

Author Bio – Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe.

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I would like to thank #NetGalley and the #HQDigital for letting me read #TheGirlFromBletchleyPark. 
This book travels back and forth between World War 2 and the present day. 
Pam’s granddaughter is passed a box of memorabilia that her brother as come across decluttering their grandparents house. 
There is an old box brownie camera with some undeveloped film, and when Julia has it developed she finds photos of her gran in fromt of an old Manor House that her brother recognises as Bletchley Park. 
The book as alternating chapters exploring both Pam and Julia’s lifes. 
A really good read .
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4.5 Stars

A richly woven tapestry of love, loyalty and secrets, Kathleen McGurl’s The Girl from Bletchley Park will beguile, delight and enthrall fans of timeslip novels everywhere.

In 1942, Pam had decided to turn down a hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. Although deciding not to go to university was a difficult decision, Pam couldn’t stand idly by while her country was ravaged by Hitler’s bombs and she hoped that by doing her duty for king and country, she would be helping England to win the war. However, Pam never imagined that at Bletchley she would meet two men who would change the entire course of her life. When she finds herself drawn to one of them, Pam thinks that her happiness is at long last within reach – until a tragic turn of events ends up pushing her loyalty to its limits.

In the present day, Julia is in desperate need of a distraction. Having to juggle the demands of her challenging career with two children and a husband resentful of her success, when her brother presents her with forgotten photos of her grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park, Julia jumps at the chance to discover more about that period of her life. Her grandmother never spoke of her time there leading Julia to wonder just what her grandmother was hiding. As Julia begins to dig into the past, she discover a story of courage, bravery, treachery and betrayal that becomes increasingly prescient and that forces her to take a long, hard look at her own life.

At a crossroads, will Julia be inspired by her grandmother to make some drastic changes to her life? Or will fear and uncertainty force her to repeat past mistakes that will leave her mired in anguish and regret?

Kathleen McGurl is a gifted storyteller who writes sweeping tales readers cannot help but completely lose themselves in and The Girl from Bletchley Park is an astute, absorbing and engrossing tale with two strong women at its heart who will take readers on an emotional and enthralling journey that will tug at the heartstrings and bring a tear to their eye.

A captivating novel about impossible sacrifices, devastating choices and the power of love, The Girl from Bletchley Park is another surefire hit for Kathleen McGurl.
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When brother Bob gives Julia a box
A mystery from their gran's past it unlocks.
Sending Julia on a quest to discover more
About her gran, Pam, and what happened before.

Sometimes looking to the past
Can help you decide what to do at last.
This is a dual timeline family tale
Where about their lives Julia and Pam each regale.

It gives an insight into events in the war
As some secrets were kept forever more
But secrets are also kept in the present
Their revelations may cause dissent.

This is a family drama in two different times
But both involve betrayal and crimes.
I found it a real page turner, a fascinating read,
One that had me hoping these ladies would succeed!

I thoroughly enjoyed this gorgeous read
If you try it I'm sure you'll accede.
This author is the dual timeline queen
Writing the best in this genre that I've seen.

For my complementary copy of this book, I say thank you,
I throughly enjoyed reading it and this is my honest review.
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Loved it!
I always feel that I am getting two stories for the price of one with a duel timeline book.
During the Second World War Pam joins the staff at the codebreaking Bletchley Park.  Here she finds love and treachery, friendship and heartache.
in 2019 her grand daughter Julia, a high flying executive, discovers that her grandmother was one of Bletchley Park's workers.  But why had this been kept a secret?
I found myself immersed in this book whilst the jobs piled up. Needed to find out the complete stories
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This is a dual timeline story set in WW2 and 2019, explores the world of codebreakers at Bletchley Park and the life of a twenty-first-century business owner. Recruited to work as a wartime codebreaker Pamela is intelligent but naive. Successful business owner Julia fights a constant work-life battle without any significant help from her husband. The two women's stories converge as both face betrayal and heartbreak.

Full of intriguing historical details and contemporary issues, this is an engaging read. Both stories are immersive and enhance each other, producing a story full of family drama, friendship and secrets.

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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The Girl from Bletchley Park is an intriguing dual timeline story set in England in the present day, and the early 1940s. The two strands are highly engaging and keep your attention throughout.

In the contemporary part, we have Julia – a successful businesswoman, wife and mother of two teenage boys. But her success comes at a price. She has little time for her family, and with neither her husband nor the boys helping much with the household chores, she is a woman rushed off her feet 24/7. I seriously felt for her. 

In the historical part, we discover Pamela's story who, as it turns out, is Julia's grandmother. Pamela is a genius at maths, due to go to Oxford to study, so when her name is put forward for a position at secretive Bletchley Park, she regards it as her chance to do her bit for the country. Like her brother, Geoff, who is training to become a pilot. 

Pamela is a forward thinking young woman. She plans to use her intelligence to work, rather than setting up home straight after university, much to her mother's disappointment. She's very proud, though, when she joins the Wrens.

Pamela quickly settles in at Woburn Abbey, sharing a dormitory with other young women, and soon sets to work at Bletchley Park. Having to sign the Official Secrets’ Act, she knows it's more than just secretarial work they do – their excuse to anyone asking what they're doing. With the help of the creaking, but still perfectly working machines, they soon begin deciphering coded messages from German high command. 

When Pamela meets Frank, the only gardener at Woburn who was exempted for his asthma, she finds herself falling in love. His easy-going attitude draws her in. But over the course of their courtship, she discovers another side of his character – and one that begins to gnaw at her. But are her suspicions right?

Meanwhile, Julia is struggling to combine her two lives, and her husband, Marc, leaves out no chance to remind her, even though he enjoys the money she brings in – more than his salary – and their nice, big home. But then, things start to unravel, first at work, then at home. Can Julia save her business and her home life?

Both stories in The Girl from Bletchley Park are full of twists and turns. Pamela's world also carries a constant sense of danger, as attacks could happen every day, whilst Julia's shows the pressure many women who juggle family life and a successful business or career in our present day. 

Both women are strong characters, yet also dependent on others around them. Pamela's love interest seems secure, yet when her doubts creep in, she feels torn. I must admit I saw it coming when Frank was first described (a bit of a cliché, and a giveaway, in my view),  but Pamela's hesitance in revealing her new-found knowledge is still believable. 

Julia's husband, Marc, is a lazy sod! He sits in his comfortable nest, created through her hard work, and bullies her into doing all the chores too. I'd have thrown him out, but it's never that easy. I have actually seen this kind of relationship in my circle of friends, and the parallels are staggering. It likely happens quite often when the wife is more successful. Sadly. So Julia had all my sympathy. 

When betrayal from an unexpected side hit her, her life as she knew it begins to unravel, and she has to make some tough decisions. I found the way she dealt with it very realistic. Such a shock knocks anyone, and I really felt for her.

However, I thought the end of Julia's story was a little too neat. Everything fell into place, quickly, which is not quite how things often work out. To me, it felt a little rushed, and way too easy. 

Pamela's history also takes a turn, as she encounters danger far closer to home. I found the way she deals with the challenges thrown in her way realistic. And she had friends to support her.

The Girl from Bletchley Park is an intriguing novel, one that makes you read on. Both stories are compelling, and you want to know what happens next, even if you have an inkling. 

A highly recommended read. 

Note: I received a few copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinion expressed are my own.
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The Girl from Bletchley Park has a strong feminist vein that runs through the book. It is evocative and special. There is romance, but also strong lifelong freindship between feisty women. The book celebrates independent women, education and intellectual strength.
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Great book about a young independent woman’s time serving at Bletchley Park during the war.  As well as her present day relatives and their current life events.
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Pamela is a skilled mathematician who has been offered a place at Oxford University to study maths but she has been given an opportunity to work at the top secret wartime code breaking HQ of Bletchley Park. Julia is Pamela’s granddaughter and the discovery of a box of documents and photographs lead her into discovering more about her grandmothers time in the war, something she never spoke about
I loved both Julia and Pamela, they are strong and independent women who have to go through some really difficult times but they come out stronger. There were twists ins both of their stories that I wasn’t expecting and experiencing their worlds from their own point of view really worked for me. I think a part of me felt closer to Pamela than I did to Julia, there was something in Pam’s life that drew me in and had me addicted to her story a lot quicker than Julia’s. I struggled more with Julia as she was so different to me and it was harder for me to place myself into her world but as she started to open up and things became clearer I liked her more and more and by the end I was routing for her
Both Julia and Pamela had challenges and situations thrown at them and it was through these that I was able to fully understand them as characters and feel their emotions along with them and they felt more and more real
I was so absorbed in this book that it was only when the kindle got to 1% battery remaining that I realised the time which I think really shows the depth of the research and writing that had me hooked right from the very first page
I also loved the fact that the story focussed on the other side of Bletchley, the less famous one, not Enigma but the Newmanry where teams decoded teleprinter messages sent by the Nazi high command. This part of Bletchley’s story is so easily forgotten and I may not have understood it as well if I hadn’t watched a documentary on the Tunny code (as they called it), they were the team that used a number of machines including one of the first programmable computers called Colossus but who’s work was so shrouded in secrecy that it didn’t start to come out until the early 1990’s. I visited Bletchley Park years ago and really want to go again and I would recommend visiting, especially to the readers of the book so things can come to life more in your head (as it did in mine) 
I totally loved this book right from the very first page and I would recommend it to those who enjoy a book full of emotional drama with a storyline that will catch your interest and such detailed research that you will forget that it isn’t real
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Firstly I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

A very uncomplicated account of what it may have been like to work at Bletchley Park during the latter days of the war. The characters were warm, and interesting. Introducing one who was ‘not like us’ was possibly the key ingredient to this novel it was also an example of how bad things escalate, binging the reader back to reality with the effects caused by an addiction. The open ended closing of the novel, leaves the reader wanting to know how individuals within the book went out into the world after the declaration that the war had ended.

A nice easy to read and enjoyable novel. No real surprises, but manages to keep the reader absorbed,
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A dual timeline story involving Julia in 2019 and her grandmother, Pamela in 1943. Julia runs a successful software company with her co-director, Ian, and meanwhile is a wife and mother. Pamela is due to go up to Oxford to read mathematics but is asked by her teacher whether she would consider deferring for a while as there is another job she might be well qualified to do and help the war effort. 
Both of these are smart women who achieve in their fields and yet both are taken in by their other halves, which I found less that credible. In fact, I wanted to shout at Julia after a couple of chapters "DUMP HIM, DUMP HIM!" but sadly it took the rest of novel for her to reach the conclusion I did. Pamela too, although barely out of school, should have been more aware of what was going on around her. For these reasons I never truly believed in the characters and thus didn't find the book as satisfying as it could be.
The parts of the novel set at Bletchley included some details of the machines and how they operated along with some life of those serving there and this is the area of the book I found most interesting and the main reason I was drawn to the book. 
The novel is well written and easy reading but didn't really hit the spot for me. 
With thanks to Netgalley and HQstories and Harper Collins for an advance copy in return for an honest review.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this engrossing book, telling the modern day story of Julia and her grandmother Pamela who worked at Bletchley Park during the war.

The comparisons worked well, the characters were well drawn and convincing, and the novel held my attention throughout.

I have not read anything else by this author but I shall definitely check out the other works
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I’ve read about Bletchley Park and of course seen the film about it. This wasn’t my normal pick and just thought I would give it a try. I enjoyed the flicking back and forward between the women’s lives. It was th kind of book that doesn’t cause you to think too deeply but flows over you.
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