1940, Bletchley Park: I stand alone outside the gates, with no idea what lies ahead. It’s cold and dark. All I have are my suitcases and a handful of letters from my fiancé. Every day, the bombs have been getting closer. I’m only an ordinary civilian, but I was asked to come here in secret, and I’m determined to fight in whatever way I can for freedom and for love…
Inspired by the unforgettable true story of the women of Bletchley Park, this utterly gripping novel of secrets, love and courage shines a light on the incredible wartime work that changed the course of history.
When Stefania Carmichael steps into the mysterious world of Bletchley Park, she immediately finds herself signing the Official Secrets Act. In whispers, she is told that she’s been recruited because of her talent for languages. Before the war ripped Europe apart, Steffie was living in Rome, charming everyone she met with her quick wit and sharp mind, and engaged to the man of her dreams, handsome and brave Matteo. Now everything has changed.
With secrets swirling around the building, Steffie finds it hard to know who to trust, until she forms a close bond with two other new recruits. Ailsa is a gifted radio operator and Fran a logistics genius, and the two women help Steffie navigate her new world of codebreaking. But even though Steffie’s skills are crucial to the war effort, her position is put in jeopardy when Italy joins the opposite side of the battle – and her beloved fiancé becomes the enemy.
Her heart belongs to Matteo, but Steffie knows she must do whatever it takes to help England win the war. So when she is asked to go on a classified mission, she jumps at the chance. But it soon becomes clear there’s a traitor in their midst, and all eyes turn to her…
With her life at stake, can she prove herself innocent and save the man she loves? Or will Steffie lose everything?
About the Author
I wanted to be an author from the moment I could pick up a pen and was writing boarding-school novels by the age of nine. I made the early mistake of thinking I ought to get a ‘proper job’ and went into Factory Planning – a career that gave me some wonderful experiences, amazing friends and even a fantastic husband, but didn’t offer much creative scope. So when I stopped to have children I took the chance to start the ‘improper job’ of writing. It’s not been easy but I love it and can’t see myself ever stopping.
The Berlin Zookeeper is the first in my new series of WW2 novels. It’s a dual timeline novel set in Berlin Zoo in the present day and at the climax of the war, as the keepers battle to save the lives of both their animals and themselves in the face of terrible hardships. Coming this August is The Secret Diary, exploring the troubles facing a bold group of young women trying to integrate back into ‘normal’ society after life as a tight-knit team of ‘gunner girls’ – and trying to hide the secret that binds them…
I also write medieval fiction as Joanna Courtney.
website – annastuartbooks.com
twitter – @annastuartbooks
facebook – @annastuartauthor