Thursday, February 16, 2023

Review: Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Tyndale House
Releases: March 7, 2023
432 pages
About the Book:

In the summer of 1933, a man named Adolf Hitler is the new and powerful anti-Semitic chancellor of Germany. But in Los Angeles, no-nonsense secretary Liesl Weiss has concerns much closer to home. The Great Depression is tightening its grip and Liesl is the sole supporter of two children, an opinionated mother, and a troubled brother.

Leon Lewis is a Jewish lawyer who has watched Adolf Hitler's rise to power--and the increase in anti-Semitism in America--with growing alarm. He believes Nazi agents are working to seize control of Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever known. The trouble is, authorities scoff at his dire warnings.

When Liesl loses her job at MGM, her only choice is to work with Leon Lewis and the mysterious Agent Thirteen to spy on her friends and neighbors in her German American community. What Leon Lewis and his spies find is more chilling--and more dangerous--than any of them suspected.

Code Name Edelweiss is based on a true story, unknown until recent years: How a lone Jewish lawyer and a handful of amateur spies discovered and foiled Adolf Hitler's plan to take over Hollywood. 

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I was really intrigued by this story when I first read the summary. It is set in LA in the early 1930s and talks about how a lawyer enlisted some everyday Americans to work undercover helping him find proof that the Nazi’s are trying to take over Hollywood. The story opens with introducing readers to Leisl and we learn that she has a lot of responsibilities with caring for her two young kids, her mother and brother. I quickly felt for her and the stress she was under. However I felt the story progressed really slow and I struggled to get into it. There are two points of views being told, Leisl and Agent 13. We don’t know much about Agent 13 and what his real identity is for most of the story, however I was able to figure it out long before it was revealed. Leisl needed to decide if she would stand up for what she believed was right. Could they stop the evil happening? The story had wonderful potential especially knowing that it was based on true events, however with the pacing and flow I struggled to get invested in the story and really debated about putting it down at the 40% mark, but I continued with hopes it would pick up. It did get a bit better with Leisl beginning to realize how the Jews around her were being treated just because they were Jewish not for what they had done. However, it was hard to believe that their plan would have actually worked out in real time the way it portrayed to have. I was high hopes for this story as the premise sounded really intriguing but I found it hard to really connect with the characters.

(I received an ARC of this book from Tyndale House through NetGalley; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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