I love this series, and this was a wonderful addition to it. Ian Flemming was fantastically written and added so much to the story! I did struggle at first to really envision what was happening during the beginning, but it took off from there.
This is one of my favorite historical mystery series. If you enjoy the Amory Ames, Jane Wunderly, Verity Kent, and Phyllidia Bright series, you'll love this one.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my complimentary digital copy. All opinions are my own.
A Courage Undimmed is the third Olive Bright historical WW2 spy mystery by Stephanie Graves. Released 24th Jan 2023 by Kensington Books, it's 320 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. Paperback format due out in 4th quarter 2023 from the same publisher. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats, it makes it so easy to find info with the search function.
This is a very well wrought and realistically rendered WW2 novel set on the home front in late 1941. Series protagonist, intelligent and capable Olive Bright is less than pleased by the higher ups' disdain for her covert program raising racing/carrier pigeons for the war effort. She receives an assignment to escort a visiting officer from Royal Naval Intelligence, Ian Fleming (yes, that one) who turns out to be a disapproving and arrogant, but undeniably clever, pain in the nether regions. She's soon drawn into murder, espionage, and intrigue alongside Fleming.
I enjoyed the skillfulness with which the author wraps the fictional narrative around a framework of actual historical people and events. It's done so skillfully that it's not always apparent where fact shades into fiction.
Four stars. With three books extant in the series, it would make a good choice for a binge/buddy read or even a book club reading project. The author has included good background historical notes at the back of the book (spoilers involved, don't read before finishing reading). Fans of Anna Lee Huber and Rhys Bowen will likely enjoy this series.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
A Courage Undimmed is the third novel in the Olive Bright mysteries. Olive is a very strong and intelligent character. The mystery was bell well-plotted. The story is evenly paced. I love the details in the story. Thus, I recommend this for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Rhys Bowen, and Susan Elia MacNeal!
It’s November, 1941 and British pigeoneer Olive Bright is worried about her pigeon enterprise since fewer birds are being used to transport messages during the war. Will the program come to an end? Major Blighty, the new CO at the Baker Street intelligence operation at Brickendonbury Manor where Olive works seems to have little interest in the pigeons’ contribution to the war effort. He’s even assigned Olive to the lesser job of escorting a visiting Royal Navy Intelligence Special Branch operative, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming…a job she doesn’t enjoy at all.
But a murder at a seance right in front of Olive has her searching for answers to who killed the medium so publically. And everyone is a suspect, even Fleming, who, for some reason Olive doesn’t understand, attended the séance as well. It will take her best efforts to figure out who committed the murder. Along with this, Olive is juggling her relationship with co-worker Jamie and trying to decide if she wants to train as an undercover operative to be deployed into Europe.
The author creates a great slice of village life during the WWII, the risks taken by so many and the sacrifices shared.
"The thought that raced through her brain in that moment was simply, 'He's home'.
Thank you to Kensington Books for a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I won a copy of the first book in this series in 2020, and have been hooked ever since! So much so, in fact, that I was checking ARC websites daily within a few months of release just to make sure I didn't miss a chance for the next installment of Olive Bright's adventures!
This time around, we follow Olive finding herself at a seance to prove a claimed medium as a fraud. Unfortunately, what starts out as the possibility of an amusing evening goes quickly awry as the medium herself ends up dead. Can Olive solve the murder while juggling her other responsibilities as a FANY, pigeoneer, and active volunteer in her village, and while also debating whether to pursue becoming a secret agent and her growing feelings for her superior officer and fake boyfriend?
I had such a fun time reading this book! I struggled a little bit trying to remember who some of the minor characters were, but I thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with Olive, Jamie, Jonathan, Violet, Harriet, Max, etc. for another 300 pages, as these characters are so well-written and multi-faceted and feel like real people.
I didn't care so much about the murder mystery as much as just seeing what all the characters were up to. I was sad to see Jamie absent for a large portion of the book, but in retrospect, it made sense, and their scenes were worth a wait or two.
I hope we're blessed with a book 4 next year because I'm excited to be introduced to the American pigeoneers and see what else Jamie and Olive get up to!
I enjoyed the mystery and getting to know the characters. I believe it is the first time I've read this author. Being able to get some insight into what people had to do in the War was interesting as well.
Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book has a great storyline with lots of activities simultaneously to keep the reader engaged. The characters are full of personalities and often add intrigue or humor to the story. I really like the love interest Jaime. I feel he is a good match for Olive. The book reads mostly like historical fiction but then goes into mystery mode when Olive is uncovering the truth about Mrs. Dunbar’s death which worked for me. I also liked learning a little about caring for homing pigeons. I found it interesting.
Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
This is 3rd in the historical mystery series, and I’m loving this series! It’s set in an English village during WW2 and centers around Olive Bright, a pigeoneer who supplies her fine-feathered friends for a nearby agent-training facility for communication missions in enemy territory.
Olive is a feisty, nosy, intelligent young FANY who (in this storyline) is seriously considering (and begins training) to become an agent. She receives a firsthand view of the gravity of the decision as she sees off some friends on a very dangerous mission. In the meantime, she is investigating the murder of a psychic medium in her village who was poisoned, not once but twice, during a séance that she herself attended. And finally, she’s also examining her fake relationship with her undercover boyfriend Captain Jamie Aldridge (her liaison for her secret involvement in the war effort).
This story is not only fun and entertaining (Olive is a wonderful heroine!) with other well-fleshed out characters as well (including a colorful cast of villagers), but also loaded with actual historical details of the time that really resonated with me.
My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
In Stephanie Graves’ third Olive Bright mystery, the pigioneer who some in the village compare to Miss Marple, must solve the murder of Mrs. Dunbar, who claims an ability to channel the dead. Olive has been secretly training her birds for use by the military. On a trip into the village she notices a crowd surrounding Mrs. Dunbar. After she reveals disturbing news to several of the villagers she agrees to conduct a seance to contact their loved ones. Before the seance even begins Mrs. Dunbar is dead, poisoned by someone in attendance. DS Burris is in charge of the investigation. He is not the most observant person and Olive questions if the murderer will ever be found without her help.
While Olive’s pigeons are contributing to the war effort and she is working at Station XVII with the FANY she would like to take a more active role. She has been practicing her French and learning combat skills with the hopes of becoming an agent. The station is also providing training for Operation Anthropoid, an assassination in Czechoslovakia. After meeting several of the men involved and realizing the dangers they will face, she questions whether she actually has the courage to face the enemy. Captain Jamie Aldridge is Olive’s contact at the station. To explain his presence at the dovecote he poses as Olive’s romantic interest. While he supports her desire to become an agent, he is also a voice of reason and she sometimes finds him infuriating, leaving her confused about her own feelings.
A Courage Undimmed is not only a satisfying mystery, but also a story of the people who were willing to sacrifice themselves for others. Graves’’ story is built around actual people, events and missions with a brief appearance by Commander Ian Fleming. Her Author’s Notes look at the history behind her story, making this book even more fascinating. I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing this book for my review.
This is the third book in the series and while I read book one I am pretty sure I haven’t read book two,, but it wasn’t a problem to follow the story. Olive Bright is a fun character. I love her admiration of mysteries in literature and use those stories to help her solve real crimes. I also like how front and center are the efforts women men for the war instead of the more traditional focuses on combat or espionage. I thought Olive did some good growing int his story which makes it my favorite so far. I did think the mystery was a little disappointing but it had some good twists and turns. Olive is invited to a seance but they’re in for surprise when instead of communication with the dead someone joins the dead. And while local law enforcement is on it Olive can’t help but investigate on her own as well.
This is a well plotted and intriguing mystery that kept me guessing and compelled me to keep reading. The historical background was well researched and made for a vivid read. This is the first I have read so can't comment on how the character's progressed but I did find them interesting and compelling not my usual era but very enjoyable. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Book Three in the Olive Bright series is a splendid cozy mystery set in a British village, with Allied spies training nearby to wreak havoc across WWII Europe.
There's even an appearance by Naval Commander Ian Fleming (the very one!) and a fantastic cast of characters led by Olive, feisty pigeoneer and FANY, and her handsome boss Captain Jamie Aldridge.
COURAGE can be read solo but compels readers to circle back to the first two books to get the full force of author Stephanie Graves' gripping tale, which kept me up late, made me laugh, made me swoon, and left me on tenterhooks wondering who committed the village murder and if a vital mission would succeed against the Nazis in 1942. Highly recommended!
A clever mystery and WWII homefront atmospherics make this a good read that will satisfy both fans of the series and newbies- who will be fine with this as a standalone (Graves does backstory well). Olive, who works as a FANY, wants to be an agent dropped behind the lines, and who trains pigeons used in the war effort, also solves crimes- to the point where her friends and family are worried about the people of their small village. Well this time, it's Velda Dunbar who dies, a woman who purports to be in contact with the spirit world- a woman who has distressed many with her assertion that a UK warship has sunk. So much so that the Royal Navy has sent Ian Fleming (yes, that one) to look into her as well as into Olive's pigeons. He makes a marvelous cameo player (and much fun is poked at him). If this has sacrificed some of the charm of village life to the hunt for the villain, so be it because we also get a nice dose of Jamie, the Irish operative who is both Olive's boss and her heart. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. Now that the US has entered the war.........
This is the best I read in this series so far: a well plotted and solid mystery that kept me guessing and a vivid and well researched historical background.
The character evolved and are well rounded.
A compelling and gripping story.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
4.5 which I am rounding up to 5 since I could not put A Courage Undimmed down.
Olive Bright is back in full force and she never fails to be in the thick of things.
Not only is a member of FANY, she is training her pigeons and to top it off she is present when another murder occurs in the town of Pipley
Lieutenant Ian Fleming was also present.
Olive is determined to figure out who killed the psychic and diligently gets to work. Agatha Christie would be so proud.
Then there is Jamie. Love these two together.
Should Olive move on and become an agent or stay with FANY and Jamie .
The pages turned quickly as I laughed with Olive and cheered her on.
I cant wait to see what adventure Olive and Jamie get up to next and I will be first in line to find out.
Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books, Kensington for another great book in the Olive Bright series.
This is the 3rd book in this series, and as the characters develop I'm finding that it is less about the pigeons/pigeoneering and more about the mystery. Nothing wrong with that, I was just fascinated with the prior book that I read in the series that focused on the pigeon mission.
That said, if you enjoy cozy mysteries set during war time, this is a great book for the TBR shelf. It is well-written, interesting, a bit of romance thrown in, and even a real-life character, Ian Fleming takes part.
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book, but my opinions are my own.
A Courage Undimmed is the third in the marvellous Olive Bright series. The cold winter and war advancements of 1941 cause Olive to wonder about the future of her beloved carrier pigeon position in the war. She is given an unexpected new assignment, one which is rife with spying and intrigue. She escorts Lt. Ian Fleming to Intelligence at the spy training center at Brickendonbury and a whirlwind of adventures ensue. Everyone has secrets and a séance reveals more than what Olive bargains for. Not only are minds rattled by what the medium foretells but murder adds a new dimension entirely. Olive's relationship with her supervisor/fake boyfriend Jamie for war purposes continues with banter, sparks and assorted emotions. And then America joins the war.
Olive is a flawed and likeable character, one who almost feels like a friend after reading each novel in the series. Stephanie Graves' imagination and creativity jump from the pages and she has a knack of drawing in the reader quickly and completely. The pigeon carrier slant is engaging and fascinating which is what grabbed me to begin with and her characters firmly keep me invested.
Readers who enjoy Historical Fiction with mysteries do be sure to read the Olive Bright series. For me it is unnecessary to even read the book blurbs...I automatically and happily read what Stephanie Graves writes, knowing my experiences with her books will be rich.
My sincere thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this wonderful book and for introducing me to this lively series!
A great addition to a wonderful series! The mystery kept you guessing, and the story was superb. The characters are so well written, you can't help but get involved in their lives. I can't wait until the next book in the series!
Olive Bright is back and the war is creeping closer to the villagers of Pipley. As the Christmas season of 1941 comes to Pipley, change is in the air. There is a new commanding officer at station 17 (oh Major Boom, did you have to transfer? I lived your little explosives!) and he seems to take an instant dislike to Olive. Then there is news of others moving on to different stations within the secret organization that Station 17 is part of and Olive is trying to decide if she should stay a FANY or train to become an agent.
Then one of the newest villagers claims to be able to communicate with the spirit world, bring news that could be devastating to others living in the village. The village is in a tizzy trying to figure out what is real and what is not, and what is worse, a young Commander Ian Flemming (yes, THAT Ian Flemming) is sent to investigate if sensitive and secret military information is being passed around. It isn’t until our trouble making spirit guide mysteriously dies during a seance that Olive finally has something to distract her from all of this change: a good old fashion death surrounded by mystery! When the death is classified as a murder, Olive is on the case.
As Olive investigates this mysterious death, Station 17 is preparing for a mission that no will talk about and Olive senses that the darker days of the War are coming. And then there is Jamie, Olive’s direct supervisor and extremely reluctant partner in crime., who may be bring the greatest changes to her life and Olive isn’t sure if it is something she wants or not. And worst of all, Jamie is keeping most of his cards close to his vest.
The book does a great job advancing the growth of Olive while also bring the horrors of war slightly closer to the people of Pipley. It shows the great contrasts of the hope of the holiday season against the dawning realization that the war is nowhere close to being over. And as the suspects pool of the murder begins to narrow, Olive has to face one change too many: the killer might just be someone she holds dear..
A great story with twists and turns, sadness, and, yes, some joy, I can’t wait to see what’s next for Olive and the village of Pipley. Watch out, the Yanks have just joined the war.
The third book in Stephanie Graves' Olive Bright Series, A Courage Undimmed, is a fun story that follows our Olive as she works to assist the war effort with her pigeons and solves local murders that the police can't seem to figure out. This time, a charlatan who was pronouncing death on a navel ship drops dead during a séance, and Olive is right there when it happens. As she tries to figure out who would cause the lady's death, of which she had several who would wish it, Olive also has to fight her growing feelings for Jamie, her captain and "pretend" boyfriend.
I have enjoyed all of the stories in the series and I find Olive to be an engaging young lady with a brilliant future. I can't wait to see what else happens!
thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review. All opinions are my own.