Secrets Well Kept by Lynn AmesSecrets Well Kept by Lynn Ames is a historical romance set during the Second World War, at a time when secrets can save lives, or ruin them.

As Nora Lindstrom prepares to focus on an academic life in science with her physics PhD, she is recruited for a top-secret project that could potentially end the war on the side of the Allies. With no idea what it entails, she travels to a government site in Tennessee to do her bit.

Mary Trask has been becoming more and more disillusioned with her life as mapped out by her mother – graduate high school, marry the boy next door and pop out babies at regular intervals. In a desperate attempt to escape, she signs up for mysterious war work that will allow her to break away. When she sets eyes on her new supervisor, Nora, feelings that have confused her suddenly become clear.

The women find themselves having to hide more than their work from the world and the pressures take their toll. At a time when knowledge of their love would lead to disgrace and ostracization, can the women find the happiness they so deserve?

The Characters

Nora is a shy, reserved academic, with no interest in relationships. Physics is her life and she is fighting for recognition in a world where women scientists do not receive the respect of their male counterparts. She has withdrawn into herself as a result. She could come across as prickly, but that was more due to self-preservation. She knows she isn’t attracted to men and seeing her find love with Mary opened her eyes to new possibilities. I loved seeing the change in her. I felt great empathy for her as her strengths and flaws were so sympathetically written.

Mary had a steely determination that was all the more impressive given her age. She knew she didn’t want to life the life others had decided she should and seeing her take control was thrilling. She had problems to overcome, but she found ways to deal with them and prevail. She brought out something in Nora, a tenderness that I would never have guessed existed at the start of the novel.

The Writing Style

The book is written with such beautiful attention to historical detail, that I felt I was right there in the 1940s, struggling through the War with them. Ames researched the era so well and has managed to seamlessly weave this into a lovely romantic story of first love. She made me fall for these women, made me ache for them and root for them as they tried to find a way to be together. It was perfectly paced and told over the course of a few crucial years, when the world seemed doomed.

The Pros

I loved the historical aspect of the book as I am a huge history buff. I was in that era for the whole time I read it. I knew what the stakes were for Nora and Mary, personally as well as professionally, and this came across. The romance was sweet and tentative as the women begin to realise what their feelings meant.

The Cons

None.

The Conclusion

Anyone who enjoys a sweet romance with well-drawn characters will lap this up. The historical background was a huge bonus and kept my interest from start to finish. I was delighted to see that this is the second book in a series, so I will definitely be seeking out the first one. This book can be read as a standalone though.

Excerpt from Secrets Well Kept by Lynn Ames

Mary finally lowered the letter. This really was happening. She was going to get on a bus with a packed suitcase and leave Sam, and Meyer’s, and her mother behind. The last gave her a pang. It didn’t feel right to leave her mother all alone. Then again, she’d be making more money in East Tennessee, and she could send most of that home. Best of all, what she’d be doing would be for the war effort. She could do something meaningful that would help bring her father home soon. Surely, that would justify her decision. And, when they succeeded, her father would come home and her parents would have each other. She was eighteen for cripe’s sake. It was time for her to be out on her own.

She began to pace. There was so much to do. She needed to pack, tell Doc she was quitting, find the bus schedule, and get a ticket. Maybe she should make a list. But if she made a list, her mother might find it. No, better to keep everything in her head.

She would have to tell Doc at just the right time, or else her mother would know something was up. That would be disastrous. She’d insist that Mary stay, and they’d have a terrible row. Secrecy was paramount. She was sure of it. She bounced on the bed and barely kept herself from squealing with joy. Mary Trask was striking out on her own. She’d show the world what she could do, oh yes, she would.

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