The White Lady: A Novel

Image of The White Lady: A British Historical Mystery
Release Date: 
March 21, 2023
Reviewed by: 

The White Lady is a phenomenal read. You are prisoner from the opening paragraph until the suspenseful conclusion! But why? How? What makes it so?

Do not assume that this is a simple post-World War II story of a combat soldier and his family. It isn’t an uncomplicated story of civilians in post war England, either. Yet there are elements of these. The narrative is grippingly complex and one that will enthrall to the very end. There are many hints of things to come, but can you figure out what any of them are? Maybe. Maybe not.

It begins in 1947 England in the little village of Shacklehurst, a fictional place, southeast of London. Sounds like a peaceful setting far away from the city of “the Smoke.” Peace is soon interrupted by two older brothers beating up a younger brother. The victim has been expelled from his family of crime—until they need him for a job, that is.

A kind lady, Elinore White, “Linni,” comes upon the scene. She comforts the wife and child. This is the segue into Charles Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story.” That situation awakens the experiences of the sympathetic woman. The flashbacks begin. We soon experience the secret life of a saboteur, a resistance fighter during World War I. Suspenseful, captivating, and frightening. Then back to 1947 England and a continuation of what began in the home county of Kent in 1947. The narrative opens new vistas of intrigue from this location in southeast England.

We are then thrust into Belgium courtesy of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in WWII. Again, Linni’s life behind German lines is explored. Members of the SOE required combat skills few possessed, spur of the moment lifesaving decisions, and nerves of steel. For too many SOEs, life after insertion lasted but six short excruciatingly painful days. The hero of this story not only survived but thrived in this environment.

This thrilling book reveals much about mankind. Humans can be brutal, tender, kind, treacherous, cold, friendly, tremendously loyal, deceiving, brave, cowardly. Jacqueline Winspear includes all of these traits in The White Lady.