Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish | #bookreview | @LouiseMorrish1 @CenturyBooksUK

I was really interested in this book when I heard that the author is inspired by the experiences of real women from the Second World War. I’m especially fascinated by what women did during the war as we usually just hear about the lives of those at home. Yet many women did important and dangerous work during the war and we read the fictionalised account of one such woman in this wonderful dual timeline novel.

About the book

1944: Newly recruited SOE agent Elisabeth Shepherd is faced with an impossible mission: to parachute behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France and monitor the new long-range missiles the Germans are working on.

Her only advice? Trust absolutely no one. With danger lurking at every turn, one wrong move for Elisabeth could spell instant death.

2018: Betty is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. With her carer Tali at her side, she receives an invite from the Century Society to reminisce on the past.

Remembering a life shrouded in secrecy and danger, Betty remains tight-lipped. But when Tali finds a box filled with maps, letters and a gun hidden in Betty’s cellar, it becomes clear that Betty’s secrets are about to be uncovered . . .

Nostalgic, heart-pumping and truly page-turning, OPERATION MOONLIGHT is both a gripping read and a novel that makes you think about a generation of women and men who truly knew what it meant to survive.

My Thoughts

Operation Moonlight is a terrific read. I warmed to the main character Betty both as a centenarian in the present day strand of the story and Elisabeth in the wartime part. She was such a brave and feisty character, even as a frailer older lady. She may have needed a carer to help her at home but she was as composed as ever mentally and well aware of exactly what she wanted.

I didn’t know much about the work of the Special Operations Executive in World War Two and so I learned quite a bit from the work Elisabeth carried out during the war. It was such a dangerous mission where she really could trust nobody, and at one point I was almost shouting at her to remember that. There were more than a few heart-stopping scenes and I could only admire the courage of Elisabeth and indeed the real life women who carried out such secret missions. The author has clearly done a lot of research, making the wartime strand of the story feel very real.

In the present day story, I particularly liked the character of Tali, Elisabeth’s carer. She had come to the UK from Mauritius and had her own difficult situation to face. In her own way, she had to be brave and stand up for what she believed in too. She was not just an employee but a friend and she proved herself to be a true friend to Elisabeth.

Operation Moonlight was a book I found enthralling from start to finish. I enjoyed both strands of the story equally and thought the author wrote about the themes of bravery, friendship and secrets extremely well. Operation Moonlight is excellent historic fiction blended with a heart-warming contemporary story.

My thanks to the publishers Century for my review copy through Netgalley. Operation Moonlight is available now in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats. The paperback will follow in March 2023.

About the Author

Louise Morrish is a Librarian whose debut novel won the 2019 Penguin Random House First Novel Competition in partnership with the Daily Mail. She finds inspiration for her stories in the real-life adventures of women in the past, whom history has forgotten. She lives in Hampshire with her family. 

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