Through Her Lens

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Pub Date Apr 02 2024 | Archive Date Mar 10 2024

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Description

In Through Her Lens, Melissa Bacon weaves a gripping tale of a young woman's journey of self-discovery set against the backdrop of World War II. Meet Millicent Trayford, a brilliant young woman working for British Intelligence in the perilous hunt for the deadly Nazi V1 and V2 bombs. Millicent's world is turned upside down when she decides to blow up her own life and pursue her lifelong passion for photography.

Three years ago, Millie dutifully packed away her cameras and began her career in Secret Intelligence after discovering her surrogate mother’s flat leveled during the Blitz. Her commander has reassigned her to help verify and destroy the Nazis’ long-range vengeance weapons program before D-Day. Amidst the urgent demands of her work a Royal Air Force pilot named Callum won’t let her forget who she is. He is always there – sneaking her a camera and tempting her with a life spent with him instead of her fiancée, Elliot.

Melissa Bacon masterfully captures Millicent's struggle to choose between her dreams and her duty to family and country. Through Her Lens chronicles a piece of history based on actual events surrounding Operation Crossbow, a top-secret intelligence investigation tasked with stopping the V1 flying bomb and V2 rocket program. This exploration of women's empowerment is a must-read for those interested in untold stories of the heroes of World War II.

In Through Her Lens, Melissa Bacon weaves a gripping tale of a young woman's journey of self-discovery set against the backdrop of World War II. Meet Millicent Trayford, a brilliant young woman...


A Note From the Publisher

Melissa Clark Bacon was raised and stayed in Little Rock, Arkansas. By day, she works as a data analyst, and by night, she writes stories and makes photographs using historic and alternative printing processes. Her short story, “The Handkerchief,” where her character Millie first appears, won Best in Show Adult Fiction Short Story at the Grand Prairie Festival of the Arts. Her current creative work focuses on revealing unnoticed women from the past through captivating stories and photographs that aspire to elevate their contributions and offer them up as role models to women today. Through Her Lens is her debut novel.

Melissa Clark Bacon was raised and stayed in Little Rock, Arkansas. By day, she works as a data analyst, and by night, she writes stories and makes photographs using historic and alternative printing...


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Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9798891321182
PRICE $18.99 (USD)
PAGES 312

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Average rating from 11 members


Featured Reviews

I love historical fiction, but this was not my favorite book that I have read. I would encourage readers to try reading “Through Her Lens” because I know it has a lot of potential to be someone’s favorite.

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Wow...this is a stunning debut. Not only does it present a piece of World War II history that doesn't receive the accolades it deserves but the story surrounding it is beautifully written. The main character, Millie, is a complex young woman who is already a gifted photographer when the war begins. The story follows her internal struggles between duty to family and country at great personal cost. The author's writing style is as illuminating as one of Millie's exquisite black-and-white photographs; perfectly centered, focused, and powerful with no wasted space.

I love the structure of this novel. The prologue isn't just a warm-up to the story. It's essential. Each chapter has a heading with the date and a countdown to D-Day, immediately letting the reader understand where the focus is. Millie wants to photograph the women of Britain in the many ways they contribute to the war effort but instead, she is put to work analyzing thousands of air reconnaissance photos. They are searching for proof of Hitler's vengeance weapons that could threaten D-Day, an almost impossible task. "The rockets might have been hiding in plain sight. When you look for something you have never seen before, you could be staring straight at it and not even know it."

I got so caught up in the search for the V1 flying bombs and the V2 rockets that when the inevitable human cost entered the story, I was slammed by the tragic losses for Millie. I was a weeping mess for the final fifty pages of the book although the ending did salvage my soul. This story shines a bright focus on the many ways women contributed to the war effort, knowing they would never be recognized for it. Indeed, the war wouldn't have been won without them. Reading this brilliantly written book will make you proud and perhaps light a fire for the recognition of all women. I will be buying copies for my daughters, friends, and myself. I loved it and I know many other readers will too. Kudos to Melissa Clark Bacon!

My thanks to NetGalley and Atmosphere Press for the digital ARC. All opinions and the review are entirely my own.

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This book, the author’s debut novel, explores the story of Millicent Trayford, a photographer turned British Intelligence agent. Millie had lived taking pictures, especially those that highlighted the importance of women’s work in society. When the Blitz changes her world forever, she packs up her cameras and agrees to work for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force after being convinced by her father.

Her time searching for Hitler’s vengeance weapons is excruciatingly slow, and Millie longs for a life where she does not have to listen to the orders of others: not her father, her fiancé, her commanders, nobody. What would she have to lose to attain that life?

Through Her Lens played right into my favorite genre of books AND focused on a strong female main character, which was wonderful. I enjoyed that Melissa Clark Bacon carefully included details that were accurate but not widely known in terms of the crews who searched for the existence of the weapons.

While the first half of the book was setting the story and establishing the characters’ places in that story, I tore through the second half in a matter of hours. Millie’s heartbreak and her will to broadcast the work of the women she encouraged was inspiring and emotional. I definitely recommend this book to those who are a fan of the genre & strong female main character.

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Melissa Clark Bacon, Through Her Lens, Atmosphere Press, April 2024.

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review.

Through Her Lens is accomplished storytelling with several threads that move smoothly through the narrative. Seamless links intertwine the past, romance, detailed searches on the ground and in the air for signs of the rumoured German V1s and V2s, a woman’s determination to give women in wartime the graphic history they deserve and her own fight against public and private discrimination. Lady Millicent Trayford is not always a sympathetic character, as her story lines are complex, but she provides a valuable central figure, the motivation for her actions is worth engaging with and she affords an insight into the way in which women’s personal aspirations can be complicated by public demands. The chapters are bounded by a Prologue and Epilogue, each adding an enlightening addition to the narrative. I particularly liked the description of Picasso’s Guernica in the Prologue and the clever way it established the foundation for so much in the rest of the narrative.

The writing adopts a pace relevant to the material covered in each chapter. Where Millie is thoroughly and happily engaged with her photography the writing is pacy. In contrast, during her time investigating mounds of photographs for clues to the possibility that there are German weapons about which little is known, and the search for evidence of them, together with the slow-moving response to the imminent danger, the writing moves more slowly. Some readers might find this tedious, but Melissa Clark Bacon’s ability to involve us so thoroughly in Millie’s life, her inability to fight for herself at times, and the pace of investigation and resolution is skilled.

Through Her Lens is a book that will stay with me. Millie’s work as well as her struggles to follow her inspiration are both absorbing and instructive. Secondary, but nonetheless important, are the struggles those around her, in her private and public lives. The responsibilities of war time, at times supporting personal agendas, at others possibly at odds, make arresting reading. This is a book that will not suffer from rereading. It is on my list to do so.

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This was beautifully written with such a strong female main character, highly recommend for anyone who loves historical fiction and women who power through loss and grief, leaving all woman readers proud to be women.

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Fabulous
Millie is a photographic interpreter at RAF Medmenham where it is her job to scour photos to help to prove the existence of the V1 and V2 weapons that at this point are believed by many to not exist
Millie is a fascinating character, and as the daughter to an Earl who is also high up in the RAF and the security services among other things, and she is used to doing what her father tells her even though she wants to rebel against that and pursue her dreams to photograph the women who so often go unseen. As the story continues, Millie starts to develop as a character and begins to realise that in order to get what she wants, she may need to stand up to her father and allow her true self to come forward
The world of photo intelligence in WW2 is so often overlooked, the pilots flew unarmed planes with cameras onboard instead of weapons and the photos they took then got analysed by interpreters for information which then got passed up the chain. It was these people who would be able to confirm where to attack and if a bombing raid had been successful but in a time where so many signed the Official Secrets Act their work is often hidden away. It was fascinating to read about the search for the V weapons and how they went about it and a part of me really wants to try the technique for making 2D photos into 3D described
It was a world that I didn’t really know much about and this book pulled me in and kept me reading. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because it is clearly written with an American audience in mind with a lot of terms for things that aren’t in use in the UK, silly things like railroad instead of railway etc, which did keep pulling me out of the story but that’s just the obsessive in me. This probably won’t cause any issues for most people but for me it somehow detracted from the story which was otherwise so well written and engaging
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a story about the unseen people, those who made a difference with a heroine who you will love

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Melissa Clark Bacon does a great job in writing this book, it had everything that I was hoping for in a historical fiction novel. I thought Millie was a interesting character and worked with the time-period going on and enjoyed how she worked with the story. It uses the World War 2 elements perfectly and it was great to read.

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This was a solid 3.8 for me, it was a bit slow to begin and only really livened up halfway through. The storyline makes you think of all the people that contributed to making us safe during the war. I was unaware of the plane camera and getting them sent back to people to search for the German missiles. Very interesting, so glad Millie got what she wanted in the end., but so sad she still lost loved ones. Who knew being a photographer could be so dangerous and rewarding at the same time!

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*Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the chance to review an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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