The Brass Compass
Ellen Butler makes her first foray into historical fiction with the World War II period drama The Brass Compass, in which Lily Saint James, a beautiful American spy, must make her way through enemy territory to the safety of the Allied forces.
After a childhood spent traveling Europe and soaking up the languages, Lily’s mother suddenly passes away, and she moves back to her home in the States. Lily quits her job as an office worker in Washington, DC with the determined intention of joining the Army in order to make a real difference in the war effort. But instead, thanks to her roommate, she is recruited into the Office of Strategic Services and begins a career as an undercover agent. While on assignment in Stuttgart as a telephone operator, a chance meeting with a distraught housekeeper leads to a position as the nanny in the household of a German army colonel, which gives her access to intelligence that is highly valuable to the Allies. Her life is abruptly changed as she witnesses her contact commit suicide rather than face interrogation by the SS. Knowing she cannot return to her job and that she must get the mini film with vital information that she has hidden in her shoe into Allied hands, she escapes into the night with nothing but the coat on her back and her ingenuity.
Lily Saint James must draw on every bit of her training, both mental and physical, to make it to safety.
Butler has created a thoroughly enthralling novel from a perspective rarely entertained. Not only is her protagonist drawn with depth and great humanity, but her supporting characters are as fleshed out and interesting. This is a delightful read that will keep the reader up late at night, not wanting to put it down. I look forward to many more adventures with Lily Saint James!
Power to the Pen