The Kendell family is a typical family in pre-WWII England. Alfred Kendall is struggling to keep his family business of importing glass afloat through the tough economic times. When he is given the opportunity by the British government to go on a minor mission to Czechoslovakia, he jumps at the change to serve his country and to also hopefully earn some much-needed money. Intelligence tells him to take his young son Hugh with him for cover. After Hitler invades, Alfred has to make a choice. The Czech resistance will get him out, but he must leave Hugh behind to ensure his return. When Alfred cannot return what will happen to Hugh?
Hugh’s disappearance rips his family apart as they try to survive WWII. Hugh himself goes through much adventure trying to survive. Hugh learns that the enemy is not always apparent. His brother Stephen goes into intelligence during and after the war, and his sister Meg searches for love and stability.
I liked that the story was very unique. About half of the book was set in WWII and then the last half was set in post WWII England and it focused on espionage. I loved the East European setting for much of the book. I also loved the love story between teenage Hugh and Magda, the daughter of a high official off the Nazis. I thought the story had a good overall look at German people. Some were fanatical supporters of the Nazi regime, and others were just trying to survive.
I had a hard time with the flow of the story at times. There were a lot of minor characters with missing pieces in their story. As the book went along, the missing pieces were mostly filled and everything tied together at the end. One item I seriously disliked was the incest between Hugh and his sister Meg at the start of the story (involved inappropriate touching). It’s not something I want to read about and it did not add to the story at all.
Overall, The Second Midnight was an interesting WWII thriller and post WWII espionage novel. It was a unique story that was full of action.
Book Source: Review Copy from Harper Collins as a part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you! For more stops on this tour, please check out this link.
About The Second Midnight• Paperback: 400 pages • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (January 28, 2020)
From the international bestselling author comes a World War Two tale of one boy’s fight for survival in Nazi EuropeA secret mission… 1939. As Europe teeters on the brink of war, Alfred Kendall is tasked with carrying out a minor mission for the British Intelligence Service. Traveling to Prague, he takes his troubled young son, Hugh, as cover.
A terrible choice… When Hitler invades Czechoslovakia, Alfred is given an ultimatum by the Czech Resistance. They will arrange for him to return to England, but only if he leaves his son Hugh behind as collateral.
A young boy stranded in Nazi terrain… Hugh is soon taken under the wing of a Nazi colonel – Helmuth Scholl. But even though Scholl treats Hugh well, his son, Heinz, is suspicious of this foreigner. And as the war across the continent intensifies, they are set on a path that will ultimately lead towards destruction… .