What is going on between the covers
During the war, American Josie Anderson and Frenchwoman Arlette LaRue became known as The Golden Doves by working as spies who gathered information on Nazi communications to send to Allied forces in London. They were caught and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Seven years after the war ended, Josie works with Operation Paperclip for U.S. Army intelligence. She finds and interviews former Nazi scientists to determine if their work and knowledge would be helpful in the race against the Soviet Union to acquire their knowledge.
Arlette was separated from her son Willie while at Ravensbrück and is now searching for him. She gets a visit from someone who says they know where he is. Josie and Arlette reunite as they embark on a dangerous mission to bring a notorious Nazi doctor to justice and search for Willie.
My two cents
The story takes some time to get going as a detailed backstory is developed through Josie and Arlette as they narrate their experiences. The dual narrative adds depth to the story, allowing us to experience the journey from both perspectives. The story is intriguing and suspenseful with a complicated plot; however, the strength is in Kelly’s knowledge through her research that blends fact with fiction seamlessly. She weaves a tale of bravery, sacrifice, and resilience as she highlights Operation Paperclip and brings attention to The Nazi Ratline. She read the book The Ratline by Philippe Sands, which helped send her on a trip through Italy as she traced the routes thousands of Nazi fugitives took to escape justice, aided by Nazi sympathizers, including the International Red Cross and the Catholic Church. She also mentions other events I won’t say because of spoilers, making this one of the best-researched and informative historical fiction I have read.
The story is long at 528 pages, and I never like it when a book is over 350 pages. It always affects the pacing and feels uneven, with parts being weighed down by detail, and I want the story to move forward faster.
Overall, This is a compelling and meticulously researched novel that explores the courage and resilience of women during and after World War II while shining a light on the injustice of Nazi fugitives and what happened to the Nazi doctors and scientists after the war.
The Secret Doves, by Martha Hall Kelly, is the fictional story of Josie Anderson, an American daughter of the Ambassador to France, and Arlette La Rue a French woman with German roots. Both became friends as part of a well known French resistance duo known as the " Golden Doves;" together they helped sink several ambitious German operations during the war.
When they were arrested, they both lived through the horrors of Ravensbruck concentration camp, a place notoriously known for the debilitating medical experiments performed by a cadre of Nazi physicians on the innocent inhabitants.
Seven years later, Josie is back in the United States working as an Army Intelligence office, for "Operation Paperclip." This real-life covert, Cold-War program brought Nazi scientist to the States to describe their experiments and scientific findings in return for immunity. Arlette, on the other hand, is working in a Parisian cafe desperately hoping to find her son, Willie, taken from her in the concentration camp.
Suddenly, their worlds meet again. Josie is tasked with finding the famous Dr. Snow, a well known physician responsible for many of the medical war crimes at Ravensbruck.. Arlette is approached by a mysterious gentleman who claims he has found Arlette's son in French Guyana and is prepared to take her their to be reconnected with him.
The series of events experienced by Josie and Arlette on their different missions take them deeper and deeper into a mysterious and life-threatening plot that highlights the astounding efforts the International Red Cross, the American government and the Vatican did to protect these Nazi scientists.
While, I was fascinated by this real American operation, even after reading the author's notes, I still found it hard to determine the truth vs fiction in the story. Parts of the story felt contrived and ultimately completely unrealistic. Other parts made no sense - based on copious notes and documents, how could nobody know what Dr. Snow looked like? There were also side stories in the book that made it move much slower and did not really contribute to the plot. The end result is that the book felt flat to me.
I still wholeheartedly thank Netgalley and Penguin - Ballantune for the ARC.
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own."
The Golden Doves tells the story of two brave woman set during and after WW2.
I found a great love of Josie more so then Arlette. Although both woman are strong and not scared to fight for their believes. Reading how Josie traveled across the world and is scaring Nazis with her own position pleased me.
It's one of those books that you just can't put down. I really enjoyed it
Working for the French Resistance during WWII, Josie and Arlene pass on many secrets and are hunted by the Gestapo. Finally captured, they are sent to Ravensbruck, a brutal concentration camp where they and their loved ones are tortured and starved. Ten years later, these two brave women hunt for the Nazi doctor that abused them so many years ago. Well written and recommended.
Thank you Net Galley for giving me this opportunity to read 'The Golden Doves'.
This is a dual timeline story. Taking place between WWII and the 1950's.
Arlette is a Parisian female and Josie is American. The two women meet when they are in their mid to late teens. They get get paired up during WWII as spies gathering information on the Nazi's. They are known across France as the Golden Doves.
They are wanted all over France by the gestapo. They finally get arrested but it's not for spying it's for having underground papers by the French resistance.
The women are on a quest to find a Dr. Snow from Ravensbruck concentration camp. The doctor is wanted by the Russian's, Isreali's and the American's.
The women search across Europe and French Guiana.
Martha Hall Kelly is the Master of Historical Fiction and The Golden Doves is her best work yet.
The book is once again based on the true story of Josie Anderson and Arlette LaRue who both work for the Resistance and become so good at their jobs they are often referred to as The Golden Doves .
They show bravery, compassion, friendship and most of all resilience.
The chapters keep you turning the pages quickly as we go from Josie and Arlette, from Then and Now
Its a journey I relished and certainly didn't want the book to the end.
Martha Hall's notes at the end of the book are very interesting and enlightening and top off the perfect read.
Highly recommend any of Martha Hall Kelly's books and The Golden Doves will be at the top of that list.
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, Ballantine Books for the privilege of reading and reviewing The Golden Doves.
Why just read a story when you can experience one? In 1952 post-WWII France is rebuilding shattered lives. Friends and colleagues American Josie and Parisienne Arlette are dedicated to bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, many of whom have unfortunately fled. The two young women are particularly anxious to locate one of the most barbaric Nazis, elusive Dr. Snow. Not only are they Nazi hunters, they have secrets of their own.
Ten years earlier while in their teens the courageous and naive girls had joined the Resistance and had dangerous and important jobs. They became known as the Golden Doves and were captured by the Nazis, along with Arlette's precious son. In Ravensbrück they barely existed but managed to survive. Their paths take them in different directions with bits of romance, travel (French Guiana was fascinating!), heartache, loss, horrific memories and searches for answers.
Inspired by true events, dual timeline The Golden Doves by Martha Hall Kelly grabbed my heart and held me captive every moment. It is beautifully told from the perspectives of both girls with stunning descriptions of harrowing and emotional events, extraordinarily good characterization and sublime twists. That ending, though!
Be sure to read the author's inspiration for her novel. Her passion and meticulous research are obvious in every raw and powerful word.
Historical Fiction fans ought to prioritize this unique read, well worth your time. You will surely be awestruck more than once.
My sincere thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for providing me an early digital copy of this remarkable, remarkable book.
This book is phenomenal right from the first chapter. This is my first Martha Hall Kelly Novel and I’m just blown away. The post World War Two era of chasing down Nazis is probably one of my favourites to read and she nailed it. I was on the edge of my seat the entire way trying to figure out who was Snow, and I wasn’t anywhere close. Everything came together with the epic ending. I’m lowkey hoping she writes a second novel to follow Josie more as the moves us in her career. The cover is gorgeous, the writing was on point I look forward to reading more from this author.
Martha Hall Kelly delivers another amazing book. I think this is her best book so far. Look forward to reading any future novels by this author.
Golden Doves follows Josie and Arlette with alternating chapters through the WW II and after the war. They work with the resistance to bring down the Nazis and hunt for justice after the war. Also they uncover some horrific things that the Nazis did to prisoners in the camps and the escape of some high ranking officers after the war is over.
This book has it all, suspense, mystery, and a little romance. A great WW II novel well researched and inspired by real people. It kept me up reading to see what would happen next.
I would highly recommend this book especially for historical fiction fans. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an advance copy.
This was the first novel by Martha Hall Kelly that I've read and I loved it! The Golden Doves exemplifies what I love best about historical fiction - a gripping story based on real-life events with strong female characters that shines a light on historical events that I didn't know enough about.
The Golden Doves is a dual timeline/dual narrative story about two young women - American Josie Anderson and Parisian Arlette LaRue. In the WWII timeline (1943-45), the two meet as teenagers in Nazi-occupied Paris where Josie is living with her mother and grandmother hoping that her diplomat father can get them out and Arlette is on her own with a baby. The two are recruited by British intelligence and work together passing information to the Brits so successfully that they become known as the Golden Doves until they are captured and sent to Ravensbrück - an all-female concentration camp - where Nazi doctors are conducting horrific medical experiments on some of the women and children confined there. Shortly before they are liberated, Arlette's son, Willie, is taken away and she hasn't seen him since.
The two women are reunited in 1952 when Josie, now a US Army officer, returns to Europe on a dangerous mission to track down an infamous Nazi doctor that the US wants to find as part of Operation Paperclip - a top-secret US intelligence program that recruited Nazi scientists to work on America's behalf ensuring that their scientific knowledge didn't fall into the hands of the Soviet Union during the Cold War period. At the same time, Arlette is approached by a French man running a camp for war orphans in French Guiana who convinces her to travel there with him to determine if one of the boys at the camp is her son.
This is a well-researched, well-written, poignant story about two courageous female spies, the horrors of the death camps and the Nazis who evaded justice in the war's aftermath with help from both Western governments and the Catholic church. I found it very educational with respect to the Nazi Lebensborn program for producing "racially pure" babies, the disturbing medical experiments that were conducted on innocents and the Project Paperclip program which I knew nothing about. I had a hard time putting this one down due to the suspense of the 1952 timeline. It's an absorbing pageturner and, given the ending, I couldn't help wondering if there will be a sequel to The Golden Doves featuring Josie and Arlette - I certainly hope so!
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
“We were just two stupid teenage girls having the time of our lives trying to bring down the Reich.”
My first Martha Hall Kelly book and I’m impressed!
I’ve read lots of French Resistance stories before, but this one was a notch above. It focused on Josie Anderson and Arlette La Rue, the Golden Doves, and zipped in and out of different times in their lives in an effort to showcase their run-ins with the Nazis and their efforts to regain what they’d lost and bring justice for peace of mind.
I fell in love with Josie’s character in the 1950s timeline where she’s tasked with keeping Operation Paperclip in order. In her charge are Nazi scientists who’ve been brought to the States in an effort to keep them from the Russian intelligence. Kelly was able to put me in the mind of someone with incentive in bringing about justice. I loved the line of questioning and the shrewdness displayed!
Arlette got my attention when she was forced to take a risk, more than once, in an effort to keep her son safe. I was shocked at her actions, but realized I couldn’t judge without walking in her shoes, so to speak.
The little nuances were wonderful - the name of the café and the connection to the brass ornament, to name one. I learned about ‘rabbits,’ the words on the gate at Buchenwald, Americans in the concentration camps, the ratline between the Vatican and South America and the extent of the Lebensborn program.
The section that kept me riveted was the drama unfolding in French Guiana. The vivid descriptions of place and the unsettling lack of control and building tension were well written. I read well past bedtime in an effort to see if Arlette secured what she needed. I was TOTALLY blown away by the revelation. I did not see it coming.
It was worth all the time hopping to uncover a great spy story.
I was gifted this copy by Penguin Random House Canada, Ballantine Books and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.