The Brass Compass (Brass Compass Series Book 1) by Ellen Butler – Review by Tara Johnson Barnes
The Brass Compass by Ellen Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lilly Saint James has had a good life travelling and attending prestigious schools throughout Europe where she has been taught manners and proper etiquette. Throughout her travels and schooling she has also mastered several different languages including French, Italian, and German. Lilly has never wanted to attend these schools and instead yearned to be home with her mother. When her mother suddenly dies in 1938 Lilly feels lost and angry that she was not able to be there. She lashes out at her stepfather and becomes desperate to find her way in the world. All Lilly really wants to do is to help with the war effort but is unsure how she can do so.
When Lilly is discovered by the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), an agency newly formed by the government, it gives her the opportunity to work undercover as a spy. When Lilly stumbles onto an opportunity to become a nanny for a German Army Colonel she is able to gather valuable intelligence to take back to the Allies. Working within a small group of other OSS agents, and trusting few, becomes especially dangerous when her secondary contact is captured and interrogated by the SS. With no choice but to save herself Lilly flees into the night determined to get the valuable intel contained in the mini film cartridge in her shoe into the hands of the Allies.
Lilly’s journey is fraught with danger as she works her way through enemy territory. She has no help and is uncertain who to trust so it is vital that she reaches her destination. She weaves her way through the darkness battling cold, exhaustion, and hunger desperate to get the vital strategic information into the hands of the Allies. Lilly’s life is at risk at every turn and even more so when she is captured and tortured by the enemy. Will Lilly survive the torture? Will she get the intel into the hands of the Allies?
This book had me intrigued from the beginning and I fell in love with Lilly’s character. Not only was Lilly intelligent, but she was quick to think on her feet as well. The sheer bravery and determination it took for her to continue going was admirable. Lilly found a way to survive the harshest of conditions and keep going under circumstances where many others would have just given up. Lilly never gave up hope that she would get her vital intel into the hands of the right people. I found myself cheering her on as she trudged through snow and the cold. I prayed that she would find food and shelter. I cringed and cried when Lilly was captured and brutalized. I hoped and I prayed that Lilly would continue fighting and reach her destination.
This book gave me valuable insight into the lives of the brave men and women who risked life and limb during the war. Many of whom worked tirelessly behind the scenes and did not receive recognition for their sacrifices. It made me appreciate even more so the heroic actions of those who fought in the war and what they sacrificed to keep us safe. To all those who risk their lives to keep us safe, thank you.
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