Wow! Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is an immersive powerful read full of espionage as it graphically portrays ‘subterfuge upon subterfuge‘. It is set just a few short months after the end of World War 2 and depicts the rapid movement from the ‘old war to the cold war‘ in rich, graphic detail that is so compulsive. With over 460 pages I devoured this book in a weekend. I couldn’t put it down. It shocked me, it educated me, it gripped me.
Believe me if you love historical fiction I urge you to read Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook – especially if you love reading about women that subtly reveal their power, courage and strength when they are underestimated by the people around them.
It’s also a fantastic and fascinating read if you have an interest in food (as I do). Each new chapter opens with a recipe, some revealing cultural insights, all revealing historic facts, some sadly revealing harrowing details.
Unmarried and caring for her widowed mother during the war years, Edith Graham is a teacher who has always been keen to do her bit. She finally grabs her chance at the end of 1945 when she applies for a position setting up schools in the chaotic aftermath of post-war Germany. However Edith is intrigued and unsettled when she is ‘pulled out of the final briefing‘ for her new role, taken to Government Offices in London and grilled about ‘her first love, only real love‘, Kurt von Stavenow, a boyish, young German who she hasn’t seen for many years.
This sets off a gripping and unsettling web of political intrigue and espionage that uncovers many of the horrific atrocities of World War 2. It also powerfully depicts how an individual’s personal ‘history informed‘ their own ‘fractured morality‘.
In the early days of 1946 Edith travels to Germany to take up her position aiming to get German children educated. She also finds herself embroiled in a plan to root out Nazis who are living in plain sight trying to escape punishment for their war crimes. Using her love of food, Edith sends secret coded messages via recipes back to London. After all, everyone knows that Edith loves to share recipes. Edith also knows that ‘food reveals a great deal.’
As Edith is thrust right into midst of life-threating danger, she discovers more about the horrific nature of the war crimes and why exactly these Nazis are so sought after by the British, the Americans and also the Russians. I was so shocked by these revelations.
In her search for truth and humanity, the uneasy tension in the gripping narrative intensifies. I swear I was so nervous and excited reading this book as I wasn’t sure who to trust. If you love a book that keeps you guessing right the way through, you definitely need to read this book. However I wasn’t prepared for the dramatic twist. It’s so clever but so emotional and took my breath away. I was left reeling.
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is the first book written for adults by renowned children and Young Adults author Celia Rees – and what a truly powerful read it is.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour to help publicise this great novel. To follow the blog tour, please see below.
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook was released as an e-book on 14th May 2020 and published in hardback on 23rd July 2020.