It’s January 1941, and the Blitz is devastating England. Food supplies are low, Tube stations in London have become bomb shelters, and U-boats have hampered any hope of easy victory. Though the United States maintains its isolationist position, Churchill knows that England is finished without the aid of its powerful ally.
Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt’s most trusted adviser, is sent to London as his emissary, and there he falls under the spell of Churchill’s commanding rhetoric—and legendary drinking habits. As he experiences life in a country under attack, Hopkins questions the United States’ silence in the war. But back home FDR is paranoid about the isolationist lobby, and even Hopkins is having trouble convincing him to support the war.
As Hopkins grapples with his mission and personal loyalties, he also revels in secret clubs with newsman Edward R. Murrow and has an affair with his younger driver. Except Hopkins doesn’t know that his driver is a British intelligence agent. She craves wartime action and will go to any lengths to prove she should be on the front line. This is London under fire, and it’s only when the night descends and the bombs fall that people’s inner darkness comes to light.
First off, I must warn you. As I read this book I kept grabbing my phone to look up a person or place. That, in turn, led me to another person or place. My warning is this: If you tend to slip down the rabbit hole of historical facts you will want to beware of this book. Digging for facts is one of my favorite activities and I completely enjoyed spending time searching the web.
Harry Hopkins with President Roosevelt
Who is Harry Hopkins? I consider myself a middling sort of history buff and had never heard of him. If I had it was long ago and I’d since forgotten. I was glad to make an acquaintance with him through Sleep in Peace Tonight. It was interesting to read about Edward Murrow, Winston Churchill, and other historical figures.
Unfortunately, there was a bit of a disconnect for me with this book. I couldn’t seem to connect with the characters. I enjoyed reading about them, especially since they were actual people. But as interesting as they were in real life they never came alive in the way that I expect. The dialogue read as a little forced to me which is why these particular characters didn’t pop off of the page.
I should mention that I read, and loved, Black Venusby the same author. I highly suggest you look to that book for a cracking good work of historical fiction. While I enjoyed Sleep in Peace Tonight I enjoyed Black Venus quite a bit more.