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Censorettes

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For a young woman of exceptional intelligence and courage, being sequestered from the dangers of WW2 on the idyllic island of Bermuda is maddening. She is determined to get into the fight--then the fight is brought to her. Lucy Barrett is a Censorette, part of a branch of British Intelligence stationed on the island to inspect mail between North America and European nations For a young woman of exceptional intelligence and courage, being sequestered from the dangers of WW2 on the idyllic island of Bermuda is maddening. She is determined to get into the fight--then the fight is brought to her. Lucy Barrett is a Censorette, part of a branch of British Intelligence stationed on the island to inspect mail between North America and European nations at war. Determined to contribute in a more substantial way, Lucy uses her Cambridge education and love of Shakespeare to detect a Nazi spy ring operating out of Brooklyn. Just as she is promoted to a dangerous job overseas, her good friend is murdered. Should she embrace her new assignment, or seek justice for her friend?


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For a young woman of exceptional intelligence and courage, being sequestered from the dangers of WW2 on the idyllic island of Bermuda is maddening. She is determined to get into the fight--then the fight is brought to her. Lucy Barrett is a Censorette, part of a branch of British Intelligence stationed on the island to inspect mail between North America and European nations For a young woman of exceptional intelligence and courage, being sequestered from the dangers of WW2 on the idyllic island of Bermuda is maddening. She is determined to get into the fight--then the fight is brought to her. Lucy Barrett is a Censorette, part of a branch of British Intelligence stationed on the island to inspect mail between North America and European nations at war. Determined to contribute in a more substantial way, Lucy uses her Cambridge education and love of Shakespeare to detect a Nazi spy ring operating out of Brooklyn. Just as she is promoted to a dangerous job overseas, her good friend is murdered. Should she embrace her new assignment, or seek justice for her friend?

42 review for Censorettes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Charbonneau

    The heart of Call the Midwife, the brainy brawn of The Bletchley Circle! A team of extraordinary misfit women form an unbreakable bond in a world at war. The characters, especially “haughty as a duchess, persistent as a badger” Lucy, are unforgettable. So are the exotic locales of Bermuda and Alexandria, Egypt. This is what great historical fiction is all about. Highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anne Logan

    Do not let the drab cover of this book fool you; the pages are full of colourful, vibrant female characters with passion in their hearts, despite World War II raging on around them. Censorettes by Elizabeth Bales Frank is about a young group of British women who read and monitored postal correspondence for hidden Nazi influences and even though historical novels about women’s roles in wartime are flooding the market, I’m still enjoying these deep dives into little known pieces of our feminist hi Do not let the drab cover of this book fool you; the pages are full of colourful, vibrant female characters with passion in their hearts, despite World War II raging on around them. Censorettes by Elizabeth Bales Frank is about a young group of British women who read and monitored postal correspondence for hidden Nazi influences and even though historical novels about women’s roles in wartime are flooding the market, I’m still enjoying these deep dives into little known pieces of our feminist history. Plot Summary It’s 1941 and Lucy finds herself in Bermuda, working as a Censorette, doing her part to help the Allies by putting her impressive grasp of multiple languages to good use. In some ways she’s in paradise; safe from any active warfare, living in the suite of a hotel with other women her age, and just steps away from the beautiful beaches that the island is known for. Except Lucy wishes she was at home in London with her family, or at least what remains of it as her brother is off fighting and her mother was killed in the Blitz. Still, she works diligently, making friends with the other Censorettes and having a few flings with the American soldiers stationed on the island too. It’s not until a good friend is murdered that Lucy’s true strength shines through; she is determined to see the murderer brought to justice, and will stop at nothing to make sure it happens, even when she’s whisked half way across the world on another secret mission. My Thoughts The power of female tenacity and friendships is at the heart of this novel. Despondent about her current situation, Lucy finds solace in the women she lives with, her fellow Censorettes that are each vividly described as they push through the sorrows of wartime. Mundane things like who picks up the clothes on the floor, and who drops them may seem like a boring topic to touch upon when a war is going on, but these everyday situations that new roommates grapple with bring a sense of intimacy to the book, so much so that I felt like I was living with the girls too. Cut off from the rest of the world with only a few letters getting in and out, they oftentimes slept in the same bed, did each other’s hair, shared clothes, make up, becoming extremely close in the process. This sounds like a strange thing to say, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit envious of their connection and this strange environment they’ve been flung into. Truly making the best of things was what each woman did, and even though their time together ends in tragedy, they certainly succeeded in that goal. The characterization is most definitely the strongest part of this novel, but the plot is fairly steady and engrossing as well. Lucy is intelligent, and when she happens upon a few letters that seem oddly written, referencing Shakespeare with slightly incorrect quotes, she’s one of the few to pick up on it, fighting with her superiors over whether it could mean something more sinister. Pushing for people to take their beliefs and opinions seriously is a running theme throughout the book. Each Censorette is pushing against societal biases to assert themselves in different ways, and although Lucy is clearly a smart person, she is often brushed aside because of her gender. One of the American soldiers is particularly pushy, quick to viciously confront her when she refuses to marry him. It’s disheartening to read about the barriers women faced back then; even when they were going above and beyond to aid in the war effort, their achievements were so easily dismissed. Finally, a snarky little comment coming from my Canadian perspective about the American attitude, please indulge me! Near the beginning of the novel, the girls are talking about an upcoming dance with the American men, and one of them jokes that they may be able to pick up some secret intelligence by socializing with them: ” ‘ You never know what a besotted soldier in the arms of a pretty girl might let slip about U.S. foreign policy.’ ‘I think their policy is pretty clear: America First.’ “(p. 47) Do those words sound at all familiar? I barked out a laugh when I read that line-hopefully this sort of perspective will be left in the orange-hued past of our neighbors to the south. To read the rest of my reviews, please visit my blog: https://ivereadthis.com/ Sign up for my newsletter here: https://ivereadthis.com/subscribe/ Or follow me on social media! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ivereadthis/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ivereadthisblog Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivereadthis YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD6E...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shomeret

    Although I have read so much fiction dealing with WWII, I can still encounter a WWII novel taking place in an unusual setting such as the island of Bermuda in Censorettes by Elizabeth Bales Frank. I received a digital review copy of Frank's book from publicist Wiley Saichek. The Censorettes were women who actually were assigned by British Intelligence to read mail sent between European and North American residents during WWII. I assumed that locating the operation in Bermuda was a convenient me Although I have read so much fiction dealing with WWII, I can still encounter a WWII novel taking place in an unusual setting such as the island of Bermuda in Censorettes by Elizabeth Bales Frank. I received a digital review copy of Frank's book from publicist Wiley Saichek. The Censorettes were women who actually were assigned by British Intelligence to read mail sent between European and North American residents during WWII. I assumed that locating the operation in Bermuda was a convenient means of intercepting potentially dangerous letters before they reached their recipients. Protagonist Lucy Barrett's knowledge of multiple European languages made her quite useful in her position, but much of this novel centers on relationships. This is the dramatic heart of the book. Censorettes is not for everyone. I would recommend this book to readers who are interested in seeing WWII from an unusual angle, and who have some tolerance for novels whose pace is rather leisurely. For my complete review see https://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/2...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Irene Smith

    I’ve read this book twice, and love it even more the second time. Why? Well, I always enjoy stories set in World War II; maybe no war is “good” but this one wasn’t as morally dubious as some others. It was a time in which some people got to live their lives more fully than they might otherwise have, and some of these were women. My own mother was a “Code Girl” at Arlington Hall; I think her time as a WAC may have been one of the most fulfilling of her life, and much better for her than marriage I’ve read this book twice, and love it even more the second time. Why? Well, I always enjoy stories set in World War II; maybe no war is “good” but this one wasn’t as morally dubious as some others. It was a time in which some people got to live their lives more fully than they might otherwise have, and some of these were women. My own mother was a “Code Girl” at Arlington Hall; I think her time as a WAC may have been one of the most fulfilling of her life, and much better for her than marriage and motherhood. The plot of Censorettes is complex, and there are several important characters to keep track of (and two of the most central have four-letter names beginning with “L”) but it all works and it is well worth the attention it requires. The literary background—a running theme is Shakespeare, with whose works the narrator and author are deeply knowledgeable—adds depth and enjoyment to the story. The historical details are accurate and fascinating. I’m sure I’ll read it yet again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    J.R.

    I loved this book—intelligently written, deeply researched, with compelling women at its core. The female characters who drive the story are refreshingly multi-dimensional and nonconformist—particularly noteworthy given the WWII setting. This book will reward lovers of historical fiction who seek to be transported to the past and to unfamiliar places in the company of sharply drawn, deeply understood characters. The author weaves together narrative threads from three continents to craft a story I loved this book—intelligently written, deeply researched, with compelling women at its core. The female characters who drive the story are refreshingly multi-dimensional and nonconformist—particularly noteworthy given the WWII setting. This book will reward lovers of historical fiction who seek to be transported to the past and to unfamiliar places in the company of sharply drawn, deeply understood characters. The author weaves together narrative threads from three continents to craft a story with texture, emotion, and poetic language. What a treat.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    Interesting and detailed WWII novel set in Bermuda about censoring mail to detect spies and to keep essential information contained. Loved the book but the print was small and the paperback fairly long and tightly bound. Durable but difficult binding. Usually I can race through intriguing books but this one -- I had to read in spurts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Madelaine Shaw-Wong

    A novel complete with strong, brave and relatable female characters. Set in Bermuda, WWII. A crime has occurred. Lucy does more than simply censor the mail.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    What a great book, I could not put it down! I've read so many compelling stories set during WWII, but I'd never heard of the the British Intelligence group known as the Censorettes. This had it all - a wartime spy drama, with strong female characters who seemed modern and real, and the friendships, love interests, conflicts and their resolutions were so authentic and vivid, I could see this being made into an epic movie. One of my favorite books of this genre! What a great book, I could not put it down! I've read so many compelling stories set during WWII, but I'd never heard of the the British Intelligence group known as the Censorettes. This had it all - a wartime spy drama, with strong female characters who seemed modern and real, and the friendships, love interests, conflicts and their resolutions were so authentic and vivid, I could see this being made into an epic movie. One of my favorite books of this genre!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jess Braith

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara Berkes

  12. 4 out of 5

    A Stewart Gurr

  13. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Hagan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  15. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Hestand

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne Disabatino

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz V.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Breadfly

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  22. 5 out of 5

    the overstuffed bookshelf

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Meeker

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  26. 5 out of 5

    Teej Kelly

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mia

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Ellis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Schnurln

  31. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  32. 4 out of 5

    Denise

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

  34. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

  35. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Eargle

  36. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Post

  37. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

  38. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Hogmire

  39. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  40. 5 out of 5

    AK

  41. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  42. 5 out of 5

    Julia

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