Christine Wells p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. This issue features Christine Wells, the author of The Juliet Code, a romance and thriller about women working in the Special Operations Executive in WW2, operating wireless transmitters and spying behind enemy lines in occupied France. Other novels include The Wife's Tale and The Traitor's Girl. There is also a report on the Lifeline Bookfest, which is a great opportunity to browse through millions of second-hand books in Brisbane, or, as Norman Wallis reports, to get rid of some if you want to declutter.

The ability to plant questions the reader wants answered is what keeps the pages turning in The Juliet Code. It’s a well-researched novel, too, with many of the characters more or less based on real people. If you’re writing a novel and you think it’s missing something plot-wise, check out The Juliet Code to see how Christine Wells keeps the plot moving forward, in this case, a wartime romance/ thriller. It’s a WW2 story about British women in the Special Operations Executive, working behind enemy lines in France, as wireless operators and spies.
The main question is what Juliet Barnard is so afraid of. After the war, in 1947, she doesn’t want to talk about her war experiences. Her family, in Britain, is unaware she was even in the SOE, let alone in France dodging German wireless trackers: to say nothing of being imprisoned and tortured in a mansion in Paris’s Avenue Foch. But a newspaper prints a story, planted by another SOE spy, revealing her work behind enemy lines. Then Mac, an SAS officer and Nazi hunter, asks her for help in trying to find out what happened to his sister, Denise, another agent from the SOE who disappeared in France during the war. But Juliet Barnard is reluctant. Is she hiding something, as her lover Felix conjectures? What price might she have to pay if she helps Mac? beyond the obvious trauma of reliving her capture behind enemy lines.
And the other main question of course is: What happened to Denise? Denise trained with Juliet but disappeared behind enemy lines. Did Juliet have something to do with Denise’s disappearance? And what will happen when they track down Strasser, the Nazi presumed to be the key to finding Denise?
All along the way, Christine Wells plants more questions, keeping the story spinning. Juliet, her lover Felix and Mac, head to France to try to find out what happened to Mac’s sister Denise, and to track down Strasser. And what happened to the other SOE agents for that matter? Who is the “English Girl” whom a French woman, and ex-wartime collaborator, tells Juliet about? And what about Strasser, Juliet’s interrogator at Avenue Foch. He’s an uber-narcissist: A sensitive, cultured manipulator and killer. But is he going to escape? do a deal with the Russians and move to Moscow as some kind of post-war consulting psychopath?
And you can tell there’s a big reveal coming at the end. And even when you think the story is over, another question is planted. Who is this telegram from?
Any budding writers would do well to check out The Juliet Code and draw a blueprint of the story to see how it was plotted.

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