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The Cryptographer’s Dilemma (Heroines of WWII)

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A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates relat A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?


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A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates relat A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?

30 review for The Cryptographer’s Dilemma (Heroines of WWII)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    The premise of the book was a great one and I know the author did a ton of research for this story. It is based on true events. The story has great character development and is well detailed. Pub Date: 01 Aug 2021 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grace Hitchcock

    Espionage, romance, and a strong heroine—readers of Sarah Sundin will not want to miss The Cryptographer’s Dilemma, a shocking tale of betrayal and truth being brought to light.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    2.5 stars Honestly, the story was a disappointment to me. I've previously enjoyed Alexander's contemporary books and was very excited to read a WW2 novel from her. However, I never got to bond with either of these characters because too many things simply didn't make sense. Early on it said she lived with her mother in the city but then that apparently was in some long former life? This is an example of numerous disconnects in plot points. The POV is limited third-person but the story isn't candid 2.5 stars Honestly, the story was a disappointment to me. I've previously enjoyed Alexander's contemporary books and was very excited to read a WW2 novel from her. However, I never got to bond with either of these characters because too many things simply didn't make sense. Early on it said she lived with her mother in the city but then that apparently was in some long former life? This is an example of numerous disconnects in plot points. The POV is limited third-person but the story isn't candid about what the characters are really thinking and feeling. She has a major emotional breakdown but we aren't even told why--just told that something in the paper has wrecked her. This sort of story-telling is my least favorite because it's like they're government agents finding things out and just leaking bits and pieces to the press but we aren't actually there with them finding things out. The doll lady was an interesting issue but honestly it didn't come up until halfway through the book. This left the plot feeling a bit unbalanced because so much led up to the clue and then there were sudden scenes in her POV. I'd have much preferred leaving out her POV and getting more of the clues that the two leads were following. In such a short novel, too many POVs is a risky business, and in this case since the two leads were distant, the third POV was enough to push it over the edge into choppiness. Overall, I felt like it tried to be too many things at once (including a side plot of a family drama moment) and ultimately failed in the immersive experience I look for in a novel simply because there was too much going on at once, which resulted in a lot of telling and not enough showing. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    Multiple cities in the United States 1942 When I chose to read this novel, I knew the author was Johnnie Alexander (an author I've enjoyed reading) and it's the start of a new WWII Series. Sold. Eloise Marshall, former school teacher, is happily serving the U.S. Navy in the role of code breaker when she is approached to assist the FBI with a unique case that would benefit from a woman's touch. Her would be partner, Agent Phillip Clayton, is less than enthused to put it mildly. Once their journey beg Multiple cities in the United States 1942 When I chose to read this novel, I knew the author was Johnnie Alexander (an author I've enjoyed reading) and it's the start of a new WWII Series. Sold. Eloise Marshall, former school teacher, is happily serving the U.S. Navy in the role of code breaker when she is approached to assist the FBI with a unique case that would benefit from a woman's touch. Her would be partner, Agent Phillip Clayton, is less than enthused to put it mildly. Once their journey begins, they slowly begin to see positives in the other. What I loved most about Phillip is how he represents others who so want to serve overseas, but aren't given approval for one reason or another. He feels like he is less than a full contributor to the war effort. At the same time, the way he is able to contribute, makes him question what's right in the eyes of God. Shouldn't we all seek God for his guidance? Readers get to see some raw emotion for a man in this situation. Eloise is equally delightful with her love of solving codes. She wants to prove that she can contribute to the war effort. She has a spunky character about some areas, but shows fallibility in others. Riding along with Phillip and Eloise as they solve the mystery of who is selling American secrets putting soldiers and citizens at risk was enjoyable. I look forward to reading the next in the series. My gratitude to publisher Barbour and Celebrate Lit for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. All opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    Great cat and mouse game. This book contains some of my favorite things: spy craft, tracking a traitor and WWII homefront. It was an absorbing story that had us following FBI agents all across the country showcasing the movements of the agents, a budding romance and a coincidence that could only be orchestrated by God. Ms. Alexander also treated us to descriptions of some landmarks in St. Louis, New York and Seattle. Based on a real person, the Doll Lady, I learned something new which I love whe Great cat and mouse game. This book contains some of my favorite things: spy craft, tracking a traitor and WWII homefront. It was an absorbing story that had us following FBI agents all across the country showcasing the movements of the agents, a budding romance and a coincidence that could only be orchestrated by God. Ms. Alexander also treated us to descriptions of some landmarks in St. Louis, New York and Seattle. Based on a real person, the Doll Lady, I learned something new which I love when reading historical fiction. The author took the basic story of this traitor and wove a fascinating and interesting tale around it. Eloise finds herself pulled into an intrigue and wishes for home and normalcy: “But no. That longing was the fantasy. God had planted her feet on an unusual and perhaps even dangerous path. She prayed He would never leave her side while she was on it.” And Phillip, while skeptical of a female partner, come to rely on Eloise for her expertise and she grows on him. A great start to a new collection from Barbour Publishers. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarita

    From the synopsis I expected a lot more excitement, danger and thrill. And though there was some mystery and intrigue, this story started very slow and I almost put it aside until an emotional event for Eloise grabbed my I intention. I did not know this story was based on a true event. I think the author did a good job with mixing fictional characters and a story but keeping to the facts of the true story. This is the first of a new series by Barbour Books which I am looking forward to. This was a From the synopsis I expected a lot more excitement, danger and thrill. And though there was some mystery and intrigue, this story started very slow and I almost put it aside until an emotional event for Eloise grabbed my I intention. I did not know this story was based on a true event. I think the author did a good job with mixing fictional characters and a story but keeping to the facts of the true story. This is the first of a new series by Barbour Books which I am looking forward to. This was a new-to-me-author and an enjoyable introduction to this author. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.*

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Geaney

    3 Reasons to read The Cryptopgrapher's dilemma by Johnnie Alexander: 1. While Eloise's character is fictional, the story is based on a real FBI investigation of a woman who sold information to the Japanese government during WWII. It's unusual to find a WWII novel set entirely in the United States and interesting to read about the changes the war brought and how service-aged men who remained back were treated.  2. Eloise and Phillip have real chemistry! Initially, Agent Phillip Clayton behaved petu 3 Reasons to read The Cryptopgrapher's dilemma by Johnnie Alexander: 1. While Eloise's character is fictional, the story is based on a real FBI investigation of a woman who sold information to the Japanese government during WWII. It's unusual to find a WWII novel set entirely in the United States and interesting to read about the changes the war brought and how service-aged men who remained back were treated.  2. Eloise and Phillip have real chemistry! Initially, Agent Phillip Clayton behaved petulantly when directed to take a civilian code-breaker along to investigate a series of suspicious letters. Eloise, on the other hand, was up to the challenge and undaunted by his estimation of her skill. Before long, he acknowledges her abilities and in time, begins to admire her for her tenacity, intelligence, and beauty. I really enjoyed how the author built their professional partnership into something more.  3. Due to the nature of the case, the characters are always on the move. The constant need to collect or process information kept the plot advancing at a nice clip.  This story was a real treat! Readers who enjoyed Roseanna M. White's The Number of Love or Sarah Sundin's The Sea Before Us will love this book. Highly recommend. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Bradley

    Johnnie Alexandar did a great job creating characters I care about. I loved the way Eloise was able to use her skills as a cryptographer to figure out the clues. And the way she quietly stood up to Phillip when she needed to was great. Don't get me wrong about Phillip--he was great, but he really wanted to be in the thick of the war flying P51 Mustang fighter planes, but couldn't because he was colorblind. He felt like he wasn't doing enough to win the war. But he slowly came to understand how vi Johnnie Alexandar did a great job creating characters I care about. I loved the way Eloise was able to use her skills as a cryptographer to figure out the clues. And the way she quietly stood up to Phillip when she needed to was great. Don't get me wrong about Phillip--he was great, but he really wanted to be in the thick of the war flying P51 Mustang fighter planes, but couldn't because he was colorblind. He felt like he wasn't doing enough to win the war. But he slowly came to understand how vital it was to fight the war on the homefront, too. I loved watching the two fall in love, especially since neither of them wanted to. This is a great mystery with enough clues to keep mystery-lovers working to figure out whodunnit. (Or who the spy was.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    3.5 stars "Are you ready to be my sister again?" Ready. Set. Back up a minute. "Only a few months ago Eloise (Marshall) had been teaching high school algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Now she was preparing to decipher a strange letter, which might or might not be written in code, and taking on a new identity while she traveled with a stranger to investigate a possible traitor." . . . . That stranger being . . . F. B. I. Agent Phillip Carter, who wasn't all that thrilled about teaming up with a 3.5 stars "Are you ready to be my sister again?" Ready. Set. Back up a minute. "Only a few months ago Eloise (Marshall) had been teaching high school algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Now she was preparing to decipher a strange letter, which might or might not be written in code, and taking on a new identity while she traveled with a stranger to investigate a possible traitor." . . . . That stranger being . . . F. B. I. Agent Phillip Carter, who wasn't all that thrilled about teaming up with a naval cryptographer, who was basically an untrained civilian with an uncanny knack for breaking codes. Someone was using seemingly innocent correspondences about expensive dolls to betray matters of national security and Phillip was determined to solve the case quickly in order to move on to what he really wanted to do; enlist. Was Eloise going to be as asset or a liability, it was hard to predict, he just never imagined that she would become valuable, and in an entirely different kind of way. These characters! In some ways they outshone the plot, which is a very interesting story. There was a certain pleasantness about the way Eloise and Phillip realized their relationship was deepening, in spite of all their efforts to remain platonic. When details surrounding the actual case seemed a bit synthetic, the organic nature of the couple's conversations exhibited authenticity. Through it all, Peter and Eloise struggled mightily with internal dilemmas, ultimately recognizing the hand of God at work in their lives, for clearly "a coincidence (was) never a coincidence" in this story. A lovely, enjoyable beginning to a new historical series!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan F

    This was the first book that I have read by Johnnie Alexander and I will be looking for more. The story caught my interest right away. I really like fiction that is based on true events, this being the investigation into the "Doll Woman" who gave information to the enemies of the U.S. after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I enjoyed learning more about the cryptographers who left home to aid in the search for any missives and secret information going out within the U.S. These kinds of things fascinat This was the first book that I have read by Johnnie Alexander and I will be looking for more. The story caught my interest right away. I really like fiction that is based on true events, this being the investigation into the "Doll Woman" who gave information to the enemies of the U.S. after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I enjoyed learning more about the cryptographers who left home to aid in the search for any missives and secret information going out within the U.S. These kinds of things fascinate me. The story focuses on the cross country investigation led by a female cryptographer and a male FBI agent who are looking into the possibility that the government has found a traitor. The focus of the investigation is a seemingly harmless woman who sells dolls to collectors. I am intrigued with this story and it's outcome. I followed the author's advice to seek out more information about this notorious woman. The fictional side of the story was equally interesting. I liked the characters and their story. I enjoy a riveting and clean read with historical information. I want to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for my advanced reader's copy of the book. This is my own opinion.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    "The Cryptographer’s Dilemma" is a Christian romance set in 1942 in America. There was a mystery, but more scenes focused on Eloise or Philip thinking about their personal troubles than on solving who the traitor was. The author often had someone think about what happened rather than show events, especially in the first half of the story. These were significant events, like apparently Eloise's and Philip's opinion of each other changed from "unpleasant person" to admiration during a briefly summ "The Cryptographer’s Dilemma" is a Christian romance set in 1942 in America. There was a mystery, but more scenes focused on Eloise or Philip thinking about their personal troubles than on solving who the traitor was. The author often had someone think about what happened rather than show events, especially in the first half of the story. These were significant events, like apparently Eloise's and Philip's opinion of each other changed from "unpleasant person" to admiration during a briefly summarized train ride. It was a sudden change from mildly negative feelings to fighting romantic attraction, and I'm not really sure why they were attracted. For that matter, I never understood why an invaluable cryptographer was quickly trained as an FBI agent and sent to interview people when other people (with more experience) could have done that job. Eloise's past was a secret for half of the story. There's a scene where she saw a newspaper photograph and got extremely upset for pages, and we have absolutely no idea why. It's hard to empathize when I have no idea why she's upset. Many chapters (20% of the book) passed with no more information about why she's upset or what was in the picture. At least with Philip, we know about the event that had him upset. I didn't really understand him, though. He felt guilty that a criminal was facing the death sentence because of his testimony since even that man is made in the image of God. However, he's determined to go to the war front, and it never occurred to him that he might feel guilty about personally killing the enemy. The mystery was basically talking to a few doll collectors in an attempt to understand who could have written the coded messages. It didn't take Eloise long to solve the code. Scenes from the traitor's point of view explained her motives and actions, so it's not a puzzle for the reader to solve. At the end, Eloise threw away common sense (though not her gun) when she charged in before the FBI to save her beloved stranger...er, Phillip. And, of course, they paused in the middle of a time sensitive, danger-filled moment to have their first kiss. So it had a lot of my pet peeves. There was no sex or bad language. I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  12. 4 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    This is the first in a wartime series featuring unsung heroines. The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is set entirely in the USA with the majority set in Portland or Washington and highlights the FBI’s investigation of WW2s number one woman spy, The Doll Woman, Velvalee Dickinson. Velvalee was a respected member of the national doll-collecting community in 1940s USA, but it was her secret life as a spy for the Japanese that caught the FBIs attention. She wrote letters using a jargon code that provided in This is the first in a wartime series featuring unsung heroines. The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is set entirely in the USA with the majority set in Portland or Washington and highlights the FBI’s investigation of WW2s number one woman spy, The Doll Woman, Velvalee Dickinson. Velvalee was a respected member of the national doll-collecting community in 1940s USA, but it was her secret life as a spy for the Japanese that caught the FBIs attention. She wrote letters using a jargon code that provided information about US ships damaged at Pearl Harbour and, in exchange, received money from the Japanese government. Fictional Elosie Marshall, a codebreaker for the navy, is recruited by the FBI to work on the Doll Case. Phillip Clayton, a fictional FBI agent, poses as her brother and they travel across the States investigating the identity of Doll Woman. There’s a little of everything in this interesting, quick, and easy read; mystery, romance, family issues, and religious inspiration. Had the book been a little longer, the author could have fleshed out the characters a little more resulting in better reader connection and better plot flow. Some things came out of left field and caused me to do plenty of re-reading. Had more time been spent on their backstory, I would not have wondered why seemingly random events had popped up where and when they did. Regardless, I learned so much about steganography and basic FBI training in addition to understanding a little more about the first American woman to face the death penalty for her wartime betrayal. “The one thing worse than German saboteurs on American soil was an American traitor. If one of Uncle Sam’s own was betraying the country, the Bureau needed to find the who, what, and why as quickly and quietly as possible.” “Sometimes I wish God would write a message in the sky so I could understand…so I could know why.” “You gave him something he didn’t deserve. I think the preachers call that grace.” This slow-burning Christian historical fiction will be published August 1, 2021. I received this advance copy from Johnnie Alexander, Barbour Publishing, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    Set in Washington DC in 1942, cryptographer, Eloise Marshall, is mourning the death of her brother who was killed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She wishes there is more that she could do to help the war effort. FBI Agent Phillip Clayton wants to enlist but his color blindness precludes this. When the FBI discovers a possible spy who is relaying messages to the Japanese via code messages about dolls, Phillip and Eloise are asked to join forces to find the spy. Full of twists, turns, coded m Set in Washington DC in 1942, cryptographer, Eloise Marshall, is mourning the death of her brother who was killed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She wishes there is more that she could do to help the war effort. FBI Agent Phillip Clayton wants to enlist but his color blindness precludes this. When the FBI discovers a possible spy who is relaying messages to the Japanese via code messages about dolls, Phillip and Eloise are asked to join forces to find the spy. Full of twists, turns, coded messages, doll collectors, and doll sellers, Eloise and Phillip traveled throughout the US as brother and sister following leads. Alexander kept my interest from start to finish as I learned about doll collecting as well as how coded messages could be so misleading unless you understood the various codes. Eloise was so knowledgeable about codes and her instincts were so spot on when she read something and immediately realized how it had been coded. I thoroughly enjoyed following Phillip and Eloise across the US as they followed leads and discovered new information until they finally cracked the case. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I really enjoyed this first edition in the WWII heroine series. While the hero and heroine were fictitious, the story is based on a real FBI investigation during the war. I absolutely loved the idea of teacher turned codebreaker serving with the FBI fascinating. The author has written a fast-paced story, with a realistic hero and heroine, a little bit of romance, little bit of family secrets and a wonderful mystery to keep me turning the pages. I think this particular story could have benefited I really enjoyed this first edition in the WWII heroine series. While the hero and heroine were fictitious, the story is based on a real FBI investigation during the war. I absolutely loved the idea of teacher turned codebreaker serving with the FBI fascinating. The author has written a fast-paced story, with a realistic hero and heroine, a little bit of romance, little bit of family secrets and a wonderful mystery to keep me turning the pages. I think this particular story could have benefited from a longer format that would tie up a few loose storylines, but I found it enjoyable and plan on reading more books by this author in the future. I received an advanced review copy from the author via Barbour Fiction and NetGalley. I was not required to write a review and the opinions expressed here are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    The Cryptographer's Dilemma was my first Johnnie Alexander novel. Most WWII themed novels take place in Europe, but this historic novel takes place entirely in the US. What I loved most about the story, but did not realize until I read the author's note at the end, is that this is based on a true story. Yes, Velvalee and her mysterious letters did actually exist, as did a FBI investigation. This truly raised my level of appreciation for the story. I thought the characters were well thought out. The Cryptographer's Dilemma was my first Johnnie Alexander novel. Most WWII themed novels take place in Europe, but this historic novel takes place entirely in the US. What I loved most about the story, but did not realize until I read the author's note at the end, is that this is based on a true story. Yes, Velvalee and her mysterious letters did actually exist, as did a FBI investigation. This truly raised my level of appreciation for the story. I thought the characters were well thought out. I liked them all. The plot was a bit predictable, but the conclusion was solid. As for the writing style, I must admit that I never felt "transported" or truly lost in the book. I enjoyed it, but this did affect how invested I felt. Perhaps it was just me, but I would have preferred a style that was a bit more descriptive and perhaps a little longer. Overall, this was a good read (3.5). I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are entirely my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Johnson

    I really enjoyed this book! The plot was interesting and kept me turning the pages to see how things would end! The characters were likable and I enjoyed their teamwork as they worked to uncover the traitor. I think this is a great start to this new series!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    There are so many reasons to love this book! It has interesting facts about WWII, if is filled with danger and suspense, and there is also a sweet romance. Author Johnnie Alexander uses the true facts of Velvalee Dickinson, an American woman convicted of selling information to the Japanese government during World War II, and combines them with fictional details to create a fascinating story. I enjoyed learning about coding and the art of deciphering messages, and I loved the many references to t There are so many reasons to love this book! It has interesting facts about WWII, if is filled with danger and suspense, and there is also a sweet romance. Author Johnnie Alexander uses the true facts of Velvalee Dickinson, an American woman convicted of selling information to the Japanese government during World War II, and combines them with fictional details to create a fascinating story. I enjoyed learning about coding and the art of deciphering messages, and I loved the many references to the WWII era. As cryptographer Eloise Marshall and FBI agent Phillip Clayton travel across the country to uncover clues, there are many mentions of popular movies, and even their budding attraction to each other is reminiscent of 1940s courtships. Alexander's plot is intriguing, the characters are well-developed, and I especially enjoyed her interpretation of Velvalee's thoughts and actions. I was drawn into this story immediately and my attention never waned. This is the first book of a new series, Heroines of WWII, and I look forward to the books that follow. I recommend The Cryptographer's Dilemma to all who enjoy historical Christian romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. These are my own thoughts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ArynTheLibraryan

    Solving a mystery is one of my favorite activities, so 'helping' Eloise decode the clues was fun. Especially as it's based on a true story! I felt a connection to the emotional roller coaster she was on, right there with her as she grappled with both Philip and her family stresses. The transition from wanting to knock the chip off Philip's shoulder to wanting his approval to wanting his heart was well done. Not rushed, even if the whole story takes less than a month. Philip is a great guy whose dr Solving a mystery is one of my favorite activities, so 'helping' Eloise decode the clues was fun. Especially as it's based on a true story! I felt a connection to the emotional roller coaster she was on, right there with her as she grappled with both Philip and her family stresses. The transition from wanting to knock the chip off Philip's shoulder to wanting his approval to wanting his heart was well done. Not rushed, even if the whole story takes less than a month. Philip is a great guy whose dream of being a pilot was crushed before it ever had a chance. But he's a Good detective, and determined. And given half a chance, his heart shines through in great ways! There's enough of the story wrapped up to be fully satisfying, and yet a couple of things are not completely tied up to either leave room for a sequel or satisfy realists who know that we do not always have the answers we want. I received a copy of the book from #celebratelit and @netgalley and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J.E. Grace

    The Cryptographer's Dilemma is an intense cat and mouse read to catch the person who is writing in code, giving information to the Japanese. The author did an excellent job of combining historical information with a cast of characters that are engaging. I really enjoyed watching Eloise's growth throughout the story and her ability to adapt to unusual circumstances. A touch of espionage and romance kept me guessing about the players in the story until the end, and the spiritual reflections were in The Cryptographer's Dilemma is an intense cat and mouse read to catch the person who is writing in code, giving information to the Japanese. The author did an excellent job of combining historical information with a cast of characters that are engaging. I really enjoyed watching Eloise's growth throughout the story and her ability to adapt to unusual circumstances. A touch of espionage and romance kept me guessing about the players in the story until the end, and the spiritual reflections were inspirational. It is a very enjoyable and exciting read. Highly recommended. I received a copy from the author and voluntarily choose to review it. All opinions are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Henderson

    Fascinating story filled with history, intrigue, mystery, suspense and romance. Great story. I received a complimentary copy of the book. No review was required.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)

    I absolutely love it when authors take little known pieces of history, and make them come alive in a book. I found the plot to be simply fascinating. First of all, I enjoy reading about women in history who made something for themselves in a “man’s world” so to speak. Eloise was so talented, and yet couldn’t even share with her mother what she was doing. But I think the secretness of it made it that much more exciting. I can’t imagine the amount of research Alexander had to do in order to portra I absolutely love it when authors take little known pieces of history, and make them come alive in a book. I found the plot to be simply fascinating. First of all, I enjoy reading about women in history who made something for themselves in a “man’s world” so to speak. Eloise was so talented, and yet couldn’t even share with her mother what she was doing. But I think the secretness of it made it that much more exciting. I can’t imagine the amount of research Alexander had to do in order to portray this character. To see her reading the letters, trying to pick up any clues, figure out the code, and put it all together. It was brilliant. Then you have our a hurting hero, upset because he cannot support his country the way he wants to because of his disability. I don’t think I’ve read a color blind character before, and could certainly sympathize with how upset he was. I would have liked to see more of this in the story line honestly. But I also understand that there are only so many words and author can put in a book! I will say the best lesson I learned from Phillip is that God has a plan for our lives, and it doesn’t always match what our plans are. Phillip wanted to fight in the war so desperately, and I think it took him awhile to truly understand that he was fighting in the war, just in a different way. And in the end it ended up being the better way, of course, because he met Eloise. But it took him some time to get there, just like it does us. The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is a gem of a book that I am so happy I decided to read. It has mystery, excitement, a little romance, travel, and and interesting bits of history along the way. Historical fiction fans will enjoy reading about Eloise and Phillip and their journey to find the letter writer. I highly recommend! I was given a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Excellent WW2 story. I really like stories set during this era and this is one of the best I have read. The mystery Phillip and Eloise are investigating is intriguing and exciting and with the side backstory of Eloise's past added another fun element to the story. A quick, easy and very enjoyable read. Excellent WW2 story. I really like stories set during this era and this is one of the best I have read. The mystery Phillip and Eloise are investigating is intriguing and exciting and with the side backstory of Eloise's past added another fun element to the story. A quick, easy and very enjoyable read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ochegba

    This was a well researched, well thought out story that interestingly educated me and made me want to know more. I enjoyed getting to know more about Eloise and Philip's jobs as a cryptographers, the research that went into deciphering codes to keep the country safe. It was truly exciting to see them caught up in trying to figure out who was writing codes to the enemy and it for an interesting read. Lovers of historical fiction, world war II and spy stories would enjoy this one. I received a compl This was a well researched, well thought out story that interestingly educated me and made me want to know more. I enjoyed getting to know more about Eloise and Philip's jobs as a cryptographers, the research that went into deciphering codes to keep the country safe. It was truly exciting to see them caught up in trying to figure out who was writing codes to the enemy and it for an interesting read. Lovers of historical fiction, world war II and spy stories would enjoy this one. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit. All opinions expressed are solely mine

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dana Michael

    The Cryptographer's Dilemma is a World War 2 story set here in the United States. This book is based on true events about a doll collector who helped the Japanese gain Intel about War ships. This was a very enjoyable story that followed an FBI agent and a young woman who decodes messages for the navy. There is adventure, mystery and romance. I highly recommend this book to any historical fiction readers. *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. This is my honest opinion. The Cryptographer's Dilemma is a World War 2 story set here in the United States. This book is based on true events about a doll collector who helped the Japanese gain Intel about War ships. This was a very enjoyable story that followed an FBI agent and a young woman who decodes messages for the navy. There is adventure, mystery and romance. I highly recommend this book to any historical fiction readers. *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. This is my honest opinion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Musch

    If you enjoy a vintage story with an FBI/police procedural feel and a gentle romance, you'll enjoy this August release by Johnnie Alexander. The novel introduces an entire new series that celebrates heroines of WWII. In The Crypographer’s Dilemma, Eloise Marshal, the grieving heroine, is an unassuming code developer, content behind her desk, who is pulled into the FBI, trained, and assigned to the task of decoding encrypted messages that may uncover saboteurs in the USA. She can’t do this inside If you enjoy a vintage story with an FBI/police procedural feel and a gentle romance, you'll enjoy this August release by Johnnie Alexander. The novel introduces an entire new series that celebrates heroines of WWII. In The Crypographer’s Dilemma, Eloise Marshal, the grieving heroine, is an unassuming code developer, content behind her desk, who is pulled into the FBI, trained, and assigned to the task of decoding encrypted messages that may uncover saboteurs in the USA. She can’t do this inside her comfort zone but is partnered with Agent Phillip Clayton whom she first met in the home of his uncle. She considers Phillip arrogant and uncooperative. Of course, he’s dealing with his own issues that have nothing to do with her. Their relationship takes a turn, but so does the danger as they follow a trail across the country together. I think the story especially shines when the two MCs share little quips back and forth and we see them drawn out of themselves as they are pulled closer together. The author must have done a ton of research to bring readers this aspect of the war—the code developers and those assigned to protect the country from infiltrators bent on doing us harm. I learned about actual incidents I’d not heard of before. I recommend this engaging read, a WWII novel that is not too heavy, not too light, but just right. I appreciate Netgalley for an advanced copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    First in the new Heroines of WWII series, this novel combines the best of Christian historical and suspense genres. This is a stand-alone novel, as each of the others will be. It is the first novel I’ve read by Johnnie Alexander, and I am very impressed! The characters are portrayed with excellence. I felt as if I got to know each of the primary characters. It is fast-paced, well-researched, and the protagonists are people of faith. During World War II, women and a few men unable to enlist were r First in the new Heroines of WWII series, this novel combines the best of Christian historical and suspense genres. This is a stand-alone novel, as each of the others will be. It is the first novel I’ve read by Johnnie Alexander, and I am very impressed! The characters are portrayed with excellence. I felt as if I got to know each of the primary characters. It is fast-paced, well-researched, and the protagonists are people of faith. During World War II, women and a few men unable to enlist were recruited for in valued positions in cryptography or code breaking. Messages intercepted from enemies were sent to the unit to be decoded. There were many kinds of codes, with new ones being designed regularly, so it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. As someone who loves puzzles, I would have enjoyed doing this but would have lacked the mathematics skills to excel at it as Eloise has. Eloise enjoys what she is doing, even if she does miss her mother and her students. Her brother Allan, with whom she had been very close, was killed at Pearl Harbor a few months earlier. This is her way of taking up his mantle to serve their country. An FBI agent, Phillip wanted desperately to join his cousins and childhood friends as a pilot in the military but couldn’t meet a certain requirement. His plan is to flip a coin to see whether to enlist in the army or navy. His uncle, Richard, is a higher-up in the FBI, and gives him one last mission. Richard has three letters that were sent to an address in Argentina. Two were pulled by the censors due to the unusual content. A third was marked return to sender, and the woman whose return address was on it had not written it. She took it to the head of her local post office. Richard asked Eloise if she thought they were in code. He sends them, posing as brother and sister, to Ohio and Spokane to visit the women whose addresses the letters are sent from. All are about dolls, so Eloise could talk about dolls with the ladies as well as be available for codes, while Phillip does the official interviews. Neither was happy about going with the other, so it will be a long week ahead of them. The trip was extended as more information was uncovered. During their enforced time together, they got to know each other and erase the misconceptions they had for the other. Each has feelings for the other but knowing Phillip will be enlisting soon keeps them in denial. Soon they have bigger problems when a spiteful person blows their cover to the whodunit. This novel invited me in at the start and held my attention throughout. I enjoyed reading about cryptography, meeting Phillip and Eloise, and considering the spiritual lessons. I appreciated how their faith was important to both, and how the intriguing the mystery was. The ending was overall satisfactory but I felt there was one open item that, while not critical to the mystery, had my curiosity. What happened to the real doll woman, as well as what is fact or fiction in the novel, is detailed at the end. I highly recommend this to those who appreciate reading about WWII “code girls”, a good mystery with potential for romance, and how people live out their faith. From a thankful heart: I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher, NetGalley, and Celebrate Lit, and this is my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deana Dick

    I love war stories about espionage and how people are caught. What intrigued me about the story was learning about cryptography. It is a special gift to be able to decipher codes that are sent to deter the conman person from figuring out what is being said. Elosie is a very smart woman whose talent is vital to the FBI. It was interesting to get a glimpse of how she works. It must have been a great honor to be chosen for a special assignment. Working with another agent will find her traveling to I love war stories about espionage and how people are caught. What intrigued me about the story was learning about cryptography. It is a special gift to be able to decipher codes that are sent to deter the conman person from figuring out what is being said. Elosie is a very smart woman whose talent is vital to the FBI. It was interesting to get a glimpse of how she works. It must have been a great honor to be chosen for a special assignment. Working with another agent will find her traveling to different places while collecting information for the FBI. Phillip was a good character but I didn’t connect with him as much. He was a good agent yet he always seemed to think he could be doing something else for his country. At first I wasn’t sure how working with Eloise would work out, but they did take their assignment serious enough that they blended well with each other. As they began their secret mission I was ready to join them and help them along the way. They made me want to know them more and the author gives us a little background about each of them which helped me understand their traits better. The secret letters that they followed was really fun as the mystery started to unravel. The historical facts are good and kept with the time period perfectly. Each letter was a challenge as Eloise used her skills to decipher the hidden messages in each one. It was easy for me to figure out who the person was behind all the mystery which disappointed me. I wanted more mystery and less about Eloise worried that she would not be a part in solving the case. I had no idea that the story was based on a true historical person. Now this made me want to go back and do research about this person. It wasn’t uncommon for secrets to be passed during wartime, but it was uncommon as who was doing it in thus book. Having the codes deciphered quickly was a let down for me. I wanted tithe author to expand on this more and maybe add more drama to the story. I was very confused when a certain character appeared in the story. It just didn’t make sense why he was there and how quickly Eloise started to depend on him. We see her upset seeing something in the paper and given no clue for some time. I really want to know how he became involved and why he was suddenly trust worthy. The ending was a let down though and was very light on a faith element. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit . The review is my own opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becky Lewis

    Eloise Marshall cannot stand Phillip Clayton. She finds him arrogant, condescending, and full of old-fashioned ideas about women’s roles in society. Phillip Clayton can’t believe his new partner is a woman. One with no espionage experience or training, and this mission they’re on… interviewing women about collector’s dolls?! Child’s play when you consider the life-and-death case he is currently wrapping up. How do two mismatched people move from disdain and contempt to grudging admiration to lov Eloise Marshall cannot stand Phillip Clayton. She finds him arrogant, condescending, and full of old-fashioned ideas about women’s roles in society. Phillip Clayton can’t believe his new partner is a woman. One with no espionage experience or training, and this mission they’re on… interviewing women about collector’s dolls?! Child’s play when you consider the life-and-death case he is currently wrapping up. How do two mismatched people move from disdain and contempt to grudging admiration to love? Author Johnnie Alexander aptly traces this very gentle, romantic adventure from its inception in her suspenseful novel, The Cryptographer’s Dilemma, #1 Heroines of WWII. I love the way that we see the softer sides of both Phillip and Eloise come to light in the other’s eyes, and their integrity become evident. This line made Phillip swoon-worthy to me: “In the depth of his eyes, she detected curiosity, but more than that, she found compassion.” Yes, Phillip is good looking, but Eloise finds that off-putting until she realizes his gentle, caring nature. Isn’t that an important quality most women want in a man? Eloise, for her part, like Phillip, knows when to pry and when to give him space until he’s ready to share the massive burdens weighing down his heart. Plus she’s brave, adventurous, smart, and good at ferreting out information from suspects. One part of the storyline gave me pause. I puzzled over it for a couple of days, wondering if the character’s actions fit with how that person was drawn. I finally decided one never knows the human heart and its machinations. I may or may not have written that part of the story with those results, but I agree it could be plausible. If you like WWII novels, near-enemies to lovers(clean) stories, or tales where individuals overcome hurts in their past, this Johnnie Alexander novel is calling your name. Listen. I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own, voluntarily given.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Iola

    Eloise Marshall was happy in her job as a maths teacher before the US Navy recruits her as a cryptographer … and she is then transferred to the FBI. After training, she is partnered with Phillip Clayton. He is unable to fight because he is colourblind … something I didn’t work out until about halfway through, despite the author’s effort to show it in the first line. (Was I the only person who didn’t understand he was colourblind?) The FBI needs both Eloise’s code-breaking ability and a “womanly t Eloise Marshall was happy in her job as a maths teacher before the US Navy recruits her as a cryptographer … and she is then transferred to the FBI. After training, she is partnered with Phillip Clayton. He is unable to fight because he is colourblind … something I didn’t work out until about halfway through, despite the author’s effort to show it in the first line. (Was I the only person who didn’t understand he was colourblind?) The FBI needs both Eloise’s code-breaking ability and a “womanly touch” to discover the truth behind some strange letters about broken dolls. Are the letters nothing more than they appear to be, or are they some kind of message within a message, a traitor using a steganography code to pass information to America’s enemies? At one point, Phillip observes that Eloise doesn’t seem to notice masculine attention. He seems to see this as a positive, that she’s not trying to attract male attention. I saw it as a negative: how good is she as an FBI agent if she doesn’t notice the people around her? I enjoyed the World War II setting. I’m a big fan of novels featuring code-breaking and cryptography (e.g those by Roseanna M White). It was the cryptography that caught my attention. I also enjoyed the back-and-forth hunt for the evildoer—and I appreciated it even more when I read the Author’s Note at the end and discovered the plot was based on fact. But I was kind of lost when it came to Eloise’s “dilemma”. What was it? I can only assume it was the will-she-won’t-she search for the father who abandoned her and her mother … a plot point I thought was weakened by the fact we didn’t know she was searching for him. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story, as it’s a unique angle that made for a solid romance. Thanks to Barbour Fiction and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    Based on a true story I have found that I have a fondness for stories of the men and women who did codebreaking during the Second World War. Instead of taking place in England as others I've read, The Cryptographer's Dilemma takes place in the United States. And most of the story takes place outside the walls of the Navy codebreaker's rooms and on the trail of the source of mysterious letters intercepted by the Postal Service. I was especially interested to learn that this is based on a true acco Based on a true story I have found that I have a fondness for stories of the men and women who did codebreaking during the Second World War. Instead of taking place in England as others I've read, The Cryptographer's Dilemma takes place in the United States. And most of the story takes place outside the walls of the Navy codebreaker's rooms and on the trail of the source of mysterious letters intercepted by the Postal Service. I was especially interested to learn that this is based on a true account. I loved Phillip and Eloise. They were both very likable characters. Their growing attraction to one another was very natural. Phillip's penchant for imitating Humphrey Bogart was cute and it actually helped me to keep a 1940s image in my head instead of the present day. While the plot was exciting, the story wasn't edge-of-your-seat for me. The pace was slower and focused more on the interactions and the bigger story than action and intrigue. This first book of a new series with multiple authors appears to be related by subject and not interconnected in any other way. If you enjoy stories of the FBI and espionage, give The Cryptographer's Dilemma a read. Originally Reviewed on Among The Reads I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.

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