A Peculiar Combination was one of my favorites of all the books I read for the May edition of Historical Novels Review. They also made this book an “Editor’s Choice.” It’s a great read and the start of a new series.
A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver is the first book in the new Electra McDonnell series, which is set in World War II England. Electra (Ellie) belongs to a family of thieves. Her Uncle Mick is a master safecracker, and she and her cousins, Toby and Colm, have learned everything they know from him. With Toby and Colm off fighting in the war, it is up to Ellie and Uncle Mick to keep supporting the family. When a house robbery goes bad, Ellie finds herself working for a government official, Major Ramsey, in order to keep herself and Uncle Mick out of jail. Their first mission leads to more as it becomes clear a traitor is at work and German spies are involved.
This is an engaging and addictive historical thriller with a touch of romance. I immediately connected with these characters, especially Ellie and Uncle Mick. Ellie is an intriguing and complex individual. She is a thief and safecracker, but has also been to finishing school. She can operate in any level of society, which makes her a perfect thief and a perfect spy. Uncle Mick is a locksmith by day and safecracker by night, but he has a moral code, even as a thief, that he will not break. He has passed that code onto Ellie. Ellie’s missions into high society with the Major are thrilling and fun to watch. They are a reminder that World War II was also fought silently by spies on both sides. Fans of historical thrillers and strong female characters are going to love this World War II spy adventure. Highly recommend.
I received a free copy of this book from Minotaur Books for review in Historical Novels Review Magazine. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.
ASHLEY WEAVER is the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries in Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana. She is the author of the Amory Ames series and the new Electra McDonnell series.
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