Shadows on the sea by Joan Hiatt Harlow

Hello there, this second week of April I will be featuring a story of courage during the Second World War years. This story unfolds across the Atlantic from where the main battles were fought, in a small coastal town in Maine. Read on to learn of an American historical mystery…

Shadows on the sea young girl crouching by pigeon on ground lighthouse in background
Intriguing mystery

Title: Shadows on the sea

Author: Joan Hiatt Harlow

Genre: Fiction – historical

Publication details: Margaret K. McElderry; NY, 2005

What this book is about: It is 1942, and America is at war with Germany. 14-year-old Jill Winter’s mother is travelling to Newfoundland and must pass through the treacherous North Atlantic, where German submarines – U-boats – stalk like wolves. Her famous pop-singer father, is on tour, so Jill is sent to Winter Haven, Maine to stay with Nana. Quarry, a local boy, says that “gossip ain’t never been so good,” and Jill soon discovers he’s right – Winter Haven is full of secrets and rumours. It seems everyone has something to hide – even Nana! Jill doesn’t know whom to trust, and she’s worried for her mother’s safety. And things get even worse when she finds a wounded carrier pigeon with a coded message attached to its leg. Jill is determined to get to the bottom of all these mysteries, but when she uncovers the biggest secret of all, she finds herself in grave danger – and must run for her life!

My review: A really interesting read!! I love war stories like these – highlighting friendship, courage and loyalty. This is one about friendship – particularly the one Jill made with Wendy Taylor and how it played out. Joan Hiatt Harlow has now firmly become a favourite author to watch out for!! I really enjoyed this book as the descriptions of Winter Haven during those war years transported me to a harsher, yet simpler time. Her dialogue and storyline was quite funny as well. Apparently Joan Hiatt Harlow has a companion story to Shadow on the sea called “The watcher” where we get to see what happened to Wendy!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

The watcher young girl with German shepherd dog war planes above houses
Mystery story

Title: The Watcher      

Author: Joan Hiatt Harlow

Genre: Fiction – historical

Publication details: Margaret K. McElderry Books; NY, 2014

What this book is about: 1942. Berlin, Germany. How did Wendy end up in such a place? Just a few months ago, she was enjoying her time in Maine, supporting the American war effort. But she was kidnapped, then betrayed by her own mother, who is actually a Nazi spy. As a new Berliner – and now a German – Wendy is expected to speak in a language she’s never known and support a cause she doesn’t believe in. There are allies, though, among the Germans. Allies who have been watching Wendy since she arrived. And Wendy, along with her new German Shepherd puppy, must comfort them. Her life depends on it.

My review: This companion novel to Shadows on the sea was written by Joan Hiatt Harlow due to demand and curiosity of Wendy’s account after she left Winter Haven so abruptly. An engrossing read I must say. We are able to see what it was like in Berlin during those tumultuous times and gauge the reactions of the civilians living there. Although Wendy’s mother Adine works for the Nazi’s and tries to get Wendy to change her point of view, Joan Hiatt Harlow goes to lengths to show that there were those who didn’t agree with the Nazis and worked behind the scenes, in secret, to help Jews out. An amazing story, well written and wonderful characters!! My favourite next to Wendy, and Watcher the dog is Barrett!!

My rating: 4 ⭐

Additional note: I just wanted to let you know that some scenes portrayed in this book would be better for older readers or with some parental support.

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