Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing Summer 2022 Historical Fiction Blog Tour for The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman! Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing and the author for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this tour.
Title: The Codebreaker’s Secret
Author: Sara Ackerman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: August 2nd, 2022 (MIRA Books)
Synopsis: 1943. As war in the Pacific rages on, Isabel Cooper and her codebreaker colleagues huddle in “the dungeon” at Station HYPO in Pearl Harbor, deciphering secrets plucked from the airwaves in a race to bring down the enemy. Isabel has only one wish: to avenge her brother’s death. But she soon finds life has other plans when she meets his best friend, a hotshot pilot with secrets of his own.
1965. Fledgling journalist Lu Freitas comes home to Hawai’i to cover the grand opening of the glamorous Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Rockefeller’s newest and grandest project. When a high-profile guest goes missing, Lu forms an unlikely alliance with an intimidating veteran photographer to unravel the mystery. The two make a shocking discovery that stirs up memories and uncovers an explosive secret from the war days. A secret that only a codebreaker can crack.
Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing, Harper Collins Canada and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In 1943, codebreaker Isabel Cooper is assigned to Pearl Harbor to join the team of cryptanalysts there. But she also has another reason for wanting to be in Hawaii – it is where her brother’s plane was shot down and she is hoping to find his best friend in order to learn more about his last days. Meanwhile in 1965, journalist Lu Freitas, comes home to Hawaii on an assignment to cover the opening of a luxury hotel. When a famous guest goes missing, Lu teams up with a renowned photographer to get to the bottom of things. Their search leads them in an unexpected direction following a shocking discovery though, and the key to the mystery may lie in a long held secret from the war days.
Having read Radar Girls last year, I was eager to read another book about the Pearl Harbor codebreakers. Dual timeline stories are my favorite narrative style for historical fiction because it’s so much fun to watch two stories unfold in parallel and search for the link between them. As I expected, the WWII timeline was much more interesting, with the descriptions of code breaking and deciphering cryptic messages that led to major victories for the Allies. The beautiful backdrop of Hawaii was so well written that at times, it was easy to forget that this was a WWII novel and just enjoy the vivid descriptions. The 1960s timeline on the other hand, took much more time to develop and for the most part, I was eager to get back to the other arc until the stories crossed paths and the link started to become clear. However, I found it cool that it was centered around the opening of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel which was a real event and the author wrote about it based on her own experiences
The characters were all likeable and I enjoyed their arcs. Isabel’s friendship with Gloria in particular was so well written and I found that I could really connect to all the characters despite only Isabel and Lu having POVs.
The mystery aspect of the story however, was rather weak. It took far too long for the connection between the two timelines to become clear, and once it did, things wrapped up much too quickly. The pacing was also very slow and barely anything significant happened for the first half of the book, so I ended up skimming through a lot.
The rushed ending made it feel a little unrealistic, but on the whole, things were wrapped up pretty neatly and it was a fun, adventurous read. I would recommend this book for fans of historical fiction and dual timeline narratives, and mystery fans too!
The Codebreaker’s Secret releases August 2nd, 2022.
About the Author
Sara Ackerman is a USA TODAY bestselling author who writes books about love and life, and all of their messy and beautiful imperfections. She believes that the light is just as important as the dark, and that the world is in need of uplifting stories.
Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!