This wonderful novel maintained my interest from the first sentence. Unlike so many WWII novels I’ve read, The Ways We Hide one isn’t about the British who served as intelligence agents. it’s about an American woman’s involvement with MI9 (which I knew nothing about). MI9, the British Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 9, was a highly secret department of the War Office between 1939 and 1945. Their function was two-fold: to help Allied POWs escape Nazi Germany, and help downed airmen evade capture after being shot down.
Fenna Vos grew up on Michigan’s harsh Upper Peninsula. On Christmas Eve, 1913, the union holds a party at the Italian Hall in Calumet for copper miner’s families during their five-month-long labor strike. After someone yells “fire!” a stampede down a steep stairwell kills seventy-three people, fifty-nine of them children. Fen narrowly escapes with her life.
Fast forward to WWII. Fenna is making a living as an escape artist in New York City. When a recruiter for MI9 sees her show, he recruits her to use her skills to make escape aids to thwart the Germans.
The author relates haunting experiences, the characters are well developed, and the plot is riveting… the trifecta of a good book. The Ways We Hide has elements of mystery, history, and adventure, and it is based on fascinating true events. It was both thrilling and frightening in parts; I even learned a bit about Henry Houdini.
The novel wasn’t perfect, but it deserves five stars. Highly recommended.
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy. The opinions expressed her are my own.