Top Review by Military Writers Society of America for THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR — Click on cover to buy.
BOOK REVIEWTitle: The Consummate Traitor Author: Bonnie Toews Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9781461015383 Reviewed by: Rob Ballister
Bonnie Toews’ THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR is a gripping spy thriller set in occupied Germany during World War II. The British know that Hitler is working on an atomic bomb, and will use any and all of their espionage assets to prevent that from happening. Two women from very different backgrounds find themselves working together in Nazi occupied territory, but somewhere in their chain of command is a traitor, and they are left fighting for their lives as they struggle to complete their mission with the world hanging in the balance.
This book had a very interesting and unique plot, and there were twists and turns in seemingly every chapter which left me guessing until the end. There is plenty of action, and the characters for the most part are well developed and historically accurate. The author has a particular gift for setting up a scene and drawing the reader into the story; one scene in particular was so vivid that it haunted me for days after I read it. The story does span several years (from the late 1930’s through the end of World War II) in only 325 pages, but the author does a remarkable job at using the gaps in the story line to further character development. Throughout the story, the characters describe to each other what happened to them in the time periods not explicitly covered by the story, and in the end the timeline is quite complete and consistent.
Toews also does a commendable job of weaving scripture references and her Christian faith into the overall story without forcing the issue or preaching: a difficult line to walk but definitely done well in this book.
This story is not for the faint of heart; there is no profanity, but there is violence surrounding the Holocaust and several references to torture. Spy fans will enjoy it, as well as those who enjoy World War II historical fiction.
I have just received a book by columnist Gary Joseph LeBlanc that documents his 3,000-plus days as the primary caregiver for his father, who had Alzheimer’s. It’s a common-sense approach to caregiving he calls, STAYING AFLOAT IN A SEA OF FORGETFULNESS. Gary’s father died of Alzheimer’s, but other diseases such as Parkinson’s also involve memory impairment and behavioral problems that test the most patient loving caregivers. He says, “When caregivers are looking for help, the last thing they need is medical text so complex they already forget what they read by the time it’s laid back down.”
Gary originally wrote a column for his local newspaper about the daily ups and downs in taking care of his father. He chose 65 of those articles to form his step-by-step book to help others who are companions of those entering into the “murky waters” of mental impairment and a debilitating disease. His goal was to make this book an easy read. He does that, but he also adds layers of insight, empathy and wisdom from recognizing that point when a caregiver becomes burned out and needs respite to describing the ongoing grieving process that begins as the loved one “whittles away to a twig” until actual death and thereafter.
All through the book Gary inserts associated poems and pearls of wisdom. One is by Gary himself: Have you ever been cruising through your day when you suddenly hear lyrics from a song that stick with you for awhile? Well, this Beatle song came on the radio and I heard them singing, ‘I get by with a little help from my friends.’ It got me thinking; through a campaign of caregiving, you need to always be grateful for all the little things people do to try to help.
For readers who want to read military fiction as well as non-fiction about the military experience, the MILITARY WRITERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA sells books online written by its American and Canadian members. Click on the MWSA bookstore and order riveting reads as gifts for those who value combat stories and spy thrillers.
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Highly Recommended: The following children’s book is written by the wife of a Canadian soldier and illustrated by his daughter. “Daddy is leaving for the war. He leaves his son a pad of paper and a box of crayons. He asks his son to draw pictures of things that happen while he is away. The son is very sad at first and doesn’t want to do much of anything. But, after being sad and thinking on it, he remembers his Daddy’s request. He gets out his pad of paper and crayons and starts drawing for his Daddy. He is very choosy with his colors and tries to draw his feelings about what is going on and what he wants to happen. He thinks that his daddy and all the Mommies and Daddies should be able to come home to their children as soon as possible. He creates things that will protect the soldiers and also ways to bring them home faster. The book closes with him wishing on a star and hoping his Daddy will be home soon because he misses him so much.”