Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
From the internationally bestselling author of The Long Flight Home, a thrilling WWII story of love, duty, daring, and espionage, as a young woman recruited from Churchill’s typing pool to become an undercover agent in Nazi-occupied France risks everything for the country – and the man – she loves…
London, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale air. Winning the war is the only thing that matters, and she will gladly do her part. And when Rose’s fluency in French comes to the attention of Churchill himself, it brings a rare yet dangerous opportunity.
Rose is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe. After weeks of grueling training, Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance, knowing that the slightest misstep means capture or death.
Soon Rose is assigned to a new mission with Lazare Aron, a French Resistance fighter who has watched his beloved Paris become a shell of itself, with desolate streets and buildings draped in Swastikas. Since his parents were sent to a German work camp, Lazare has dedicated himself to the cause with the same fervor as Rose. Yet Rose’s very loyalty brings risks as she undertakes a high-stakes prison raid, and discovers how much she may have to sacrifice to justify Churchill’s faith in her…
This recommended reading and discussion guide was shared and sponsored in partnership with Kensington.
THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
The Special Operations Executive (SOE), also known as “Churchill’s Secret Army,” was a real organization during WWII. Of its 470 agents in German-occupied France, 39 were women, many of whom were captured, tortured, and killed. What do you think Churchill saw in Rose that influenced him to have her recruited for the SOE? What do you think motivated Rose to join the SOE?
A number of historical figures make appearances in Churchill’s Secret Messenger, including Winston Churchill and General Charles de Gaulle. Did you recognize any other characters as people who existed in real life?
What are Lazare’s motivations to join the French Resistance? If he had not endured a childhood hand injury, what do you think his life would have been like?
Churchill's Secret Messenger: A WW2 Novel of Spies & the French Resistance
“Drawing on historical material, Hlad concocts an appealing and exciting story involving the recruitment of a typist, Rose Teasdale, working in Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms, to train for the SOE and parachute into France…Hlad does a nice job of intertwining the romance and action stories, treating both realistically and largely without melodrama. The early parts of the novel, detailing Rose's work in the below-ground War Rooms and her encounters with Churchill, prove every bit as compelling as the behind-the-lines drama. Good reading for both WWII and romance fans.” – Booklist on Churchill’s Secret Messenger