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Louise's War Hardcover – August 1, 2011


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Louise's War + Louise's Gamble (Louise Pearlie) + Louise's Dilemma (A Louise Pearlie Mystery)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727880403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727880406
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sarah Shaber's best novel yet.  I literally could not put it down. I finished it with tears in my eyes.  With a historian's eye for the telling detail, she captures the essence of Washington in 1942 with its paranoia, its secrecy, and its potential to let women reinvent themselves at a volatile time.  Highly recommended." -Margaret Maron

An OSS file draws the attention of a young widow. And a murderer. Louise Pearlie, whose husband died five years ago after his measles led to pneumonia, moves from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., where she begins work as a clerk in the Research and Analysis branch of the Office of Strategic Services. When she comes upon a document from Gerald Bloch, a hydrography expert on the coastline of French North Africa, requesting asylum for his Jewish wife and child while he joins the Resistance to fight the Nazis, she takes it to her supervisor. Next thing you know, the supervisor is found dead in his ransacked office and the document has gone missing. Louise, who was best friends with Rachel Bloch at college, is desperate to save her from the Reich's clutches. She resolves to find the file, get it to Gen. Donovan, and have him initiate plans to bring Rachel to the States. But it's difficult knowing whom to trust. Louise fends off several would-be suitors who may be Vichy supporters. She chats up Clark Gable at a posh mansion. She frets over FBI agents staking out her boarding house. She even breaks into the French embassy for more information on Gerald Bloch. She's also confused about her fellow boarder Joe Prager. He may or may not actually be a professor of Slavic languages, but he sets off delicious little tingles whenever he's near. Less cozy than Shaber's Simon Shaw series (Shell Game, 2008, etc.), and a virtual primer on how narrow minded 1940s society was, with women expected to get coffee for their bosses, homosexuals to hide their preference and people of color to accept job discrimination -- Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2011

More About the Author

Sarah Shaber is an award-winning mystery author from North Carolina. Her historical mystery series, published by Severn House, begins with LOUISE'S WAR (2010). It stars Louise Pearlie, a young widow working for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, DC, during World War II. A sequel, LOUISE'S GAMBLE, followed in May 2011. LOUISE'S DILEMMA will come out in November of 2013, and she is writing the fourth book in the series. Her Professor Simon Shaw murder mysteries are available as ebooks. She's also the author of a stand-alone horror novel, BLOOD TEST, and editor of TAR HEEL DEAD, a collection of short stories by North Carolina mystery writers. Shaber lives, writes, cooks, reads, and chills with her husband, Steve, in Raleigh.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The pacing is good and the other characters are realistically suspicious.
Ohioan
I love the way she manages the mystery knitted in with life in a boarding house during the war years in Washington.
Carolyn R. Harris
I hope the best for Louise and friends in the nest books that I will be reading soon.
Joanna Lindsey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sarah Shaber has chosen WW2 Washington DC as both the scene and character of her new novel, "Louise's War". It's a winning combination as the city - famously referred to by John Kennedy only 20 years later as a "city of northern charm and southern efficiency" - goes to war in Shaber's story.

Washington DC is one of my favorite cities; I've visited it often as both my sons have lived and worked there over the last ten years. It's a beautiful city - though not particularly comfortable in the summer - and wandering the streets at leisure is a walk through American history. The WW2-era buildings are all over the place; one of my sons lived in an apartment building on Scott Circle built during the war to house white-collar workers, who descended on Washington with the desire to help the "war effort" and, in many cases, to leave small-town life for the big city. It is one of those workers - Louise Pearlie - who's the main "human" character in Shaber's mystery.

Louise, in her late 20's and a widow, has moved to DC from Wilmington, NC. She's fairly sophisticated for a small-town gal, and equipped with a junior college education, gets a "file clerk" job with the newly-established OSS. She works in a non-descript building near the George Washington University campus, and lives in one of the many boarding houses which housed government workers. She has heard from an old friend - a French Jewish woman with two children she had attended college with - who needs help in getting out of Vichy France before the Germans move in. She tries to help Rachel and her children through the standard "back-door" measures common in the early 1940's.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Lemons on May 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that you need to clear your weekend for - its hard to put down. I love a mystery that gives a better understanding of some historical period or place - this one does both. Sarah Shaber makes 1942 DC come alive with intrigue and fear. This is the kind of book you read and pass on.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tamara on August 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm a longtime fan of Sarah Shaber, and I love her Simon Shaw mysteries. So I thought I might enjoy Louise's War... picked it up without even reading the cover description and now find myself, a day later, thinking: Wow! What an unexpected journey! I couldn't put the book down. The narrator's perspective and the time period are very different from many I've found lately on my mystery shelf. Set in D.C. during WWII, the main character claims she's a clerk with a government agency but is so much more: such a rich, complex character. With plenty of great characters, a dash of humor, and believable insight into the political and personal/economical climate of WWII D.C., along with a fantastic mystery (which by now I've just come to naturally expect from her novels), Shaber sure hooked me... and it was a great ride!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pat on September 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Could not put this book down. Sarah Shaber has captured a time, a town, and woman coming into her own in a way that few stories do. I so hope she is busy writing the next installment of the adventures of this file clerk/undercover agent with the OSS in wartime Washington DC.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maine Colonial TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Sarah Shaber is best known for her Simon Shaw series, having won the Malice Domestic award for Best First Traditional Mystery for Simon Said. Shaber strikes out in a different direction in her new series, featuring Louise Pearlie, a young widow who has left her home in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1942 to move into a rooming house in Washington, D.C. and a job at the OSS.

Louise comes across a file on Gerald Bloch, a French hydrology expert who is a Jew trapped in Vichy France. The file is about to be forwarded to the higher-ups at the OSS so that they may decide whether to smuggle Bloch and his family out of France and use his expertise on North African aquatic geography in a possible invasion. Louise is shocked to see that Bloch's wife is her closest college friend, Rachel, whom Louise has been worried sick about.

Louise's shock intensifies when her boss, who had the file, is found dead in his office and the file goes missing. Louise doesn't know who is responsible for making the file disappear, so she has to do her own investigation on the sly, knowing that time may soon run out for Rachel, Gerald and their children.

Shaber excels at portraying wartime Washington, with its large houses rapidly transformed into crammed rooming houses and even government offices. Without hammering the reader over the head, she lets us know the position women and African-Americans were in. The story takes place in late June to early July, and Shaber makes the reader feel the misery of the relentless heat and humidity in a city that the British government rated as qualifying for tropical hardship status for its personnel stationed there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Witchger on July 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those who like learning about history while they enjoy a good story will especially love this book. Shaber's depiction of WWII era Washington and the daily life of the city during those years of turmoil and change is filled with details that inform the reader about what it was really like to live and work in the nation's capital during the war years. Louise is a wonderful, endearing character. She appears to be a simple file clerk from the outside but she has a rich inner life, which the author skillfully reveals to the reader throughout the book.
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