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Set in Germany following World War 2, this historical fiction tale follows Brit Edith Graham as she joins the Control Commission, an entity that hires civilians to rebuild war-torn Germany. Edith is tasked with setting up schools in ravaged German towns. Before she leaves London, she is recruited by the OSS to spy while in Germany and send back intelligence through recipes she gathers as she travels. However, when Edith arrives, she realizes that many of the people in occupied Germany are not what they seem. Rees brings the post-war country to life – the devastation to the cities and towns, the rush to find war criminals (sometimes to prosecute, sometimes to send to the U.S. or Britain to use their knowledge), the lack of food and shelter, the underground Nazi movement that hopes to re-emerge, and the slow uncovering of the vicious Nazi experiments on humans. Beautifully written and masterfully detailed, this atmospheric book transported me to the streets of post-war Germany and entertained me with an intriguing cast of characters. This book is one of the best that I have read this year.
— From Cindy's Staff Picks
Rees, using recipes as a way to communicate information from deep Nazi Germany to English allies, showed us once again women were huge assets in WW2, but also considered disposable when plans went wrong. This depiction of life from the inside trying to determine who could be trusted was brilliant and my favorite read of the summer. - Christina
— From Christina's Staff Picks
"A perfect summer read; gripping, original, well-drawn and compassionate"--Joanne Harris
"Celia Rees is a superb writer, and this novel has one of the most irresistible and unique story hooks I've ever come across. This book deserves to be huge!"--Sophie Hannah
A striking historical novel about an ordinary young British woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war criminals in post-war Germany that will appeal to fans of The Huntress and Transcription.
World War II has just ended, and Britain has established the Control Commission for Germany, which oversees their zone of occupation. The Control Commission hires British civilians to work in Germany, rebuild the shattered nation and prosecute war crimes. Somewhat aimless, bored with her job as a provincial schoolteacher, and unwilling to live with her overbearing mother any longer, thirtysomething Edith Graham applies for a job with the Commission—but she is also recruited by her cousin, Leo, who is in the Secret Service. To them, Edith is perfect spy material...single, ordinary-looking, with a college degree in German. Cousin Leo went to Oxford with one of their most hunted war criminals, Count Kurt von Stavenow, who Edith remembers all too well from before the war. He wants her to find him.
Intrigued by the challenge, Edith heads to Germany armed with a convincing cover story: she's an unassuming Education Officer sent to help resurrect German schools. To send information back to her Secret Service handlers in London, Edith has crafted the perfect alter ego, cookbook author Stella Snelling, who writes a popular magazine cookery column. She embeds crucial intelligence within the recipes she collects. But occupied Germany is awash with other spies, collaborators, and opportunists, and as she's pulled into their world, Edith soon discovers that no one is what they seem to be. The closer she gets to uncovering von Stavenow's whereabouts--and the network of German civilians who still support him--the greater the danger.
With a unique, compelling premise, Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook is a beautifully crafted and gripping novel about daring, betrayal, and female friendship.
About the Author
Celia Rees is an award-winning YA novelist who is one of Britain's foremost writers for teenagers. Her novel Witch Child has been published in 28 languages and is required reading in secondary schools in the UK. Rees’s books are published in the US by Candlewick and Scholastic. Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook is her first adult novel. A native of the West Midlands of England, she lives with her family in Leamington Spa.