It is August 1944 and the Gestapo is mercilessly rounding up suspected enemies of the Third Reich. When Joseph Engel, a German physicist working on the atomic bomb, finds that he is actually a Jew, adopted by Christian parents, he must flee for his life to neutral Switzerland. Gabi Mueller is a young Swiss-American woman working for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) close to Nazi Germany. When she is asked to risk her life to safely "courier" Engel out of Germany, the fate of the world rests in her hands. If she can lead him to safety, she can keep the Germans from developing nuclear capabilities. But in a time of traitors and uncertainty, whom can she trust along the way? This fast-paced, suspenseful novel takes readers along treacherous twists and turns during a fascinating--and deadly--time in history.
The Swiss Courier was only just released a few weeks ago, and there are already a ton of great reviews out all over the web. Based on all the reviews I've seen, I had really high expectations of it, and I was really anxious to read my first book by Tricia Goyer. Even though it was a really great story, there were just too many things that kept bugging me throughout the whole story, and I just can't help but give my honest opinion.
First of all, the title alone is somewhat misleading. I look at the cover and see a woman along with the book's title, The Swiss Courier. So, I expect that she will be the main character in the book. Well, she wasn't. During the first half to two-thirds of the book, she appears about every 3rd chapter at best. While the rest of the story was good, there's so much other activity going on, and her character almost gets lost in the shuffle. Because of this, I think that's why I didn't connect with her or any of the other characters throughout the story.
Another thing that disappointed me was a portion of Joseph Engel's story. I really enjoyed the beginning of it when I was learning about him, and what he's on the brink of discovering. But then, it just stops abruptly once he's in hiding. It was like I got to meet him for 10 minutes, and then he was gone.
Lastly, I think it would've been a huge help if there had been some sort of glossary enclosed in the book. I don't know the slightest bit of German, not to mention that my knowledge of WWII in general is limited, and can't tell you how many times I was confused along the way. In addition to this, I think it would've helped tremendously to have a "fact or fiction" segment at the end of the story just to establish what was real and what wasn't.
You'd think from all those criticisms that I didn't like the book one bit, but I really did. It is quite evident that there was tons of research that was poured into this book, even down to the plane ride at the end. There were even a few twists and turns that caught me by surprise...so much so that I was practically holding my breath hoping that things would end the right way! Overall, I would have to give it 3 stars--a middle-of-the-road rating because even though it was a good story, there were a lot of things that could've made it better.
**Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy for review.