A Hearts on Fire Review;
When Winter Returns by Kathryn Miller Haines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“When Winter Returns” is a most delightful historical mystery with a strong, independent, flawed heroine, a woman who is not afraid to experience her emotions. Rosie Winter especially is unafraid of jumping into situations to help her friends, be they fellow actress Jayne (a lovely blonde who usually has no trouble finding acting or dancing parts), Al (a former mobster now on the run from his erstwhile sociopathic gangster boss), or Jack Castlegate-the wealthy Navy enlisted man with whom Rosie fell in love, only to suffer his disappearance, then reappearance in love with another woman. Rosie’s loyalty is unquestioned, even though following her loyal instincts can lead to serious, possibly fatal, trouble, as occurs when she helps Jayne on a condolence visit to the parents of her late fiancé, killed in action in the South Pacific. When Jayne and Rosie discover that the older couple’s son is NOT the boy whom Jayne knew-despite sharing a name and parents and home life-Rosie turns “detective” and starts tracking down the person impersonating the actual Billy DeMille-who had been killed at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, not while piloting a plane in the South Pacific in June 1942!
Layer upon layer of mystery abound, and author Kathryn Haines Miller superbly juggles a large cast of very well-developed characters. One of the most appealing aspects of this book for historical fiction fans is her grasp of the era: the slang, the locales (remember Horn & Hardart’s?), the neighborhoods, World War II in the South Pacific; and also the perceptions common at the time-all Germans were suspect, treated as potential spies, and only those who could “pass” as Americans (without accents, with generic adopted names) were safe. Ms. Haines has made a series convert of me, and I will definitely buy the first three books in this series soon. The author also has a YA series set in the same exciting historical period.
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