ALL IS FAIR, by Dee Garretson, Swoon Reads, Jan. 22, 2019, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
I love historical fiction. I love being transported to the past and immersing myself in a different time period. So it should come as no surprise that I really enjoyed All is Fair, by Dee Garretson.
Lady Mina Tretheway knows she’s destined for greater things than her fancy boarding school, where she’s being taught to be a proper English lady. It’s 1918, and war is raging across Europe. Unlike her father and brother, who are able to assist in the war effort, Mina is stuck sorting out which fork should be used with which dinner course.
When Mina receives a telegram that’s written in code, she finally has her chance to do something big. She returns to her childhood home of Hallington Manor, joined by a family friend, Lord Andrew Graham, and a dashing and mysterious young American, Lucas. The three of them must band together to work on a dangerous project that could turn the tide of the war.
Thrilled that she gets to contribute to the war effort at least, Mina jumps headfirst into the world of cryptic messages, spycraft, and international intrigue. She, Lucas, and Andrew have to work quickly, because if they don’t succeed, more soldiers will disappear into the darkness of war. —Synopsis provided by Swoon Reads
All is Fair is equal parts historical fiction and adventure. It’s a bit predictable, and there are some pacing issues, but overall, it’s an enjoyable read.
All is Fair features a strong lead character and supporting actors. Forgive me for the Downton Abbey references, but the book takes place in the same time period as one of the seasons, so here you go. Mina is very much the Lady Sybil of the group. She’s independent, likes pushing the boundaries and is eager to make a difference. Andrew is more your Matthew Crawley type and Lucas, though American, strikes me as Tom Branson.
The setting is also reminiscent of the change we see in Downton Abbey as World War I changes societal norms at all levels.
The pacing at the beginning of All is Fair is a bit off, but picks up as the story unfolds. The book concludes in such a way that I can’t help but think that this is the first in a series. I hope that’s the case and that Garretson finds her groove in the second novel.
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