Summary and book reviews of The Amber Shadows by Lucy Ribchester

The Amber Shadows

by Lucy Ribchester

The Amber Shadows by Lucy Ribchester
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Aug 2017, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

During the dangerous days of World War II, Honey Deschamps is spending her days transcribing decrypted messages at Bletchley Park, when she starts to receive bizarrely coded packages. When everyone is keeping secrets, who can you trust?

Bletchley Park, 1942: As World War II rages on, Honey Deschamps sits at her type-x machine, tediously transcribing decrypted signals from the German Army, doing her part to assist the British war effort. Halfway across the world, Hitler's armies are marching into Leningrad, leaving a trail of destruction and pillaging the country's most treasured artworks, including the famous Amber Room - the eighth wonder of the world.

As reports begin filtering into Bletchley Park about the stolen loot, Honey receives a mysterious package, hand-delivered from a man that she has never seen before who claims that he works at the Park as well. The package is postmarked from Russia, and inside is a small piece of amber. It is just the first of several such packages, and when she examines them together she realizes that someone, relying on her abilities to unravel codes, is trying to tell her something.

Honey can't help but fear that the packages are a trap set by the authorities to test her loyalties - surely nothing so valuable could get through the mail during a time of war. And yet, something about the packages reminds her of stories that her brother used to tell her about her absent father, and when her brother is found brutally murdered on his way to visit Honey, she can't help but assume that the events are connected. But at Bletchley Park, secrecy reigns supreme, and she has nowhere to turn for help…

Excerpt
The Amber Shadows

"Damned engines. The way they shudder when they're pulling to a halt. Sets one's teeth on edge." The man in the navy blue suit moves his hands down the serge on his thighs, pulling at the rouser creases. Though it is cold in the carriage, and they are the only two in this compartment, it is also airless. Horsehair stuffing pokes through cracks in the leather seats, making his legs itch. When his trousers are straight he fluffs the collar of his shirt.

Outside the train window the light is starting to fade. A tiny slash of fire signals the end of the sun; the rest of the sky is uniform navy. Where are they? Kent? Have they been rerouted? Have they left Buckinghamshire yet? They must be hours still from London, the fields are too pretty, the air is still too full of pollen.

Opposite him, the other man in the carriage stirs. His suit is cream linen, his hair blond; his voice when he speaks comes out slow and lazy. "You know Stravinsky spent months, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Ribchester has won literary prizes including a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, and it is clear why. Compelling historical details vibrate through each chapter, and Ribchester's prose shimmers with nuances unique to Britain and that era.   (Reviewed by Karen Lewis).

Full Review Members Only (860 words).

Media Reviews

Historical Novels Review

Suspense, mystery, and intrigue are high in this novel. Ribchester easily transports readers to the past, cleverly hiding clues throughout bits of the story, and creating quite a number of twists and turns throughout...Readers will be kept guessing, and the ending is a surprise. Recommended.

New York Journal of Books

While the mystery itself is compelling, the novel’s most intriguing elements come from depictions of life in England during wartime blackouts and rationing. [Ribchester] builds a realistic setting that makes Honey’s situation informative and believable.

Booklist

Both a quirky satire of WWII spy fiction and a complex, suspenseful story filled with unusual details portraying women’s lives during the war.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Ribchester movingly reflects on trust, illusion, and the stories that connect us to our pasts.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. [Ribchester] convincingly re-creates wartime life and the enclosed world of code-breaking and plays out the suspense in a Hitchcock homage almost worthy of the master.

Library Journal

This sophomore effort by the author of The Hourglass Factory is a fascinating historical mystery that explores issues of secrecy, trust, and families but never impedes the element of almost Hitchcockian suspense.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park MansionBletchley Park, the setting for Lucy Ribchester's The Amber Shadows, is situated about an hour's train ride north of London. The estate has been turned into a heritage museum open to the public since 1993.

Bletchley was originally a manor house on about 500 acres with rural outbuildings, but by the 1930s had fallen into disuse. The Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, scouted the estate as being a safe distance from London, yet on a direct train line for those in the know to be able to come and go. Here, the British "Government Code and Cipher School" staffed up in relative secrecy. Personnel numbered in the thousands during the war, of which about 75% were women. Enemy messages were intercepted on wireless then decrypted and ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Amber Shadows, try these:

  • The Women in the Castle jacket

    The Women in the Castle

    by Jessica Shattuck

    Published 2017

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

  • Code Girls jacket

    Code Girls

    by Liza Mundy

    Published 2017

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    "Code Girls reveals a hidden army of female cryptographers, whose work played a crucial role in ending World War II.... Mundy has rescued a piece of forgotten history, and given these American heroes the recognition they deserve." - Nathalia Holt, bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...
  • Book Jacket: This Blessed Earth
    This Blessed Earth
    by Ted Genoways
    For the Hammonds, a farming family in Nebraska, the 2014 harvest season started with a perfect storm...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Seven Days of Us
    by Francesca Hornak

    A warm, wry debut novel about a family forced to spend a week together over the holidays.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.