England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.
Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.
The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.
Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award–winning author of several novels. Her most recent books exemplify her unique style of storytelling—reimagining biblical stories within other historical contexts. Tracy’s novels have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called “beautifully written” and “page-turning” by Publishers Weekly and “gripping” with “exquisitely drawn” characters by Library Journal. Tracy and her husband have three boys and live in Michigan.
With my two book clubs and reviewing schedule, I read a lot of books. A. LOT. And sometimes I get a bit weary of the same old same old — books that are good, just not great. A few weeks ago I was ready for great and I got it. Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot is not only great, it is excellent, exceptional. Set amidst the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in Europe and its retreat to Dunkirk, the novel can certainly be labeled historical fiction. But with its imaginative plotting, inventive writing style and unforgettable characters, Maggie Bright is a literary gem that will appeal to all book lovers. This one is easily rated Very Highly Recommended!
There are two parallel, yet connected story lines in Maggie Bright. Private Jamie Elliott cannot believe the British Army is in retreat. Charged with safely delivering an injured Captain back to England, Jamie is faced with an army in full retreat, attacks by the Germans from the air and on land and a broken man who can only communicate in verse. He, along with a motley group of fellow soldiers, makes his way to the city of Dunkirk hoping against hope for rescue. On the home front, Clare Childs, American Murray Vance and Detective William Percy (as well as other minor characters) are swept up in intrigue and espionage as they face the chilling truth of Hitler’s ideals. Ordinary people are called to extraordinary efforts in a fight of good against evil.
Maggie Bright is a novel to be savored, not rushed through. Tracy takes her time developing the story and her characters. Her characters are the finest of men and the most courageous of women. Her research is impeccable and her writing finely crafted. Several things stand out in this novel. Most of the book is dialog — an interesting means of revealing emotions and motives. Tracy’s use of John Milton’s Paradise Lost quoted by Captain Milton as point and counterpoint to the action going on in Northern France is truly impressive. She is also able to convey the determination, courage, tenacity and grace of the English people as they are faced with holding the line against tyranny and injustice.
Prayer is an essential part of the story of Maggie Bright. Very few of the characters pray on a regular basis, and many are not even sure of who God is. The description of King George’s call to prayer and the British response is very moving. Sacrifice is also a major theme. I loved that the actions of the men of the Dunkirk rescue are described as love disguised as duty.
There is so much more I could say about Maggie Bright, but I will leave you with just one thought — read this book!!
Very Highly Recommended.
Audience: older teens to adults.
Great for book clubs.
To purchase this book, click HERE.
(Thanks so much to Tyndale and Tracy Groot for review copies of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
I have an embarrassment of riches — I received 2 copies of Maggie Bright! I have to keep one copy; it is signed by Tracy. But I will give one lucky reader a copy of this fabulous book. Just leave me a comment. The giveaway will run through Memorial Day, May 25.