Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Lipstick Bureau by Michelle Gable

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

Inspired by one of the OSS’s few female operatives, Barbara Lauwers, a WWII novel set at OSS’s Morale Office in Rome, which was responsible for creating black propaganda and distributing it behind enemy lines. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller's Secret.

Inspired by a real-life female spy, a WWII-set novel about a woman challenging convention and boundaries to help win a war, no matter the cost.

“A gripping, fascinating read.” —Kelly Rimmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan

1944, Rome. Newlywed Niki Novotná is recruited by a new American spy agency to establish a secret branch in Italy's capital. One of the OSS's few female operatives abroad and multilingual, she's tasked with crafting fake stories and distributing propaganda to lower the morale of enemy soldiers.

Despite limited resources, Niki and a scrappy team of artists, forgers and others—now nicknamed The Lipstick Bureau—find success, forming a bond amid the cobblestoned streets and storied villas of the newly liberated city. But her work is also a way to escape devastating truths about the family she left behind in Czechoslovakia and a future with her controlling American husband.

As the war drags on and the pressure intensifies, Niki begins to question the rules she's been instructed to follow, and a colleague unexpectedly captures her heart. But one step out of line, one mistake, could mean life or death…

my thoughts:

The Lipstick Bureau by Michelle Gable is a terrific story based on real-life spy Barbara Lauwers. Set during WWII, this story introduces us to Niki, a Czech immigrant who worked for the OSS in Rome. Her job was to spread propaganda that would lower the morale of enemy soldiers. Niki worked alongside a small crew in Rome and they became known as The Lipstick Bureau and were quite successful. Of course, she worried about her family, her marriage, and her life - after all wartime is fraught with danger and the unknown. 

Gable has created a fascinating story using a few historical facts and real-life characters to shine light on a smart and determined woman dedicated to do her part in helping to stop the war. I found myself easily transported alongside Niki as she settles in Rome to take on her new role as a spy for the OSS, which eventually became the CIA.  I loved meeting her colleagues, reading about her work, and learning about her life during WWII. Talk about an interesting and engaging story!

I would happily recommend The Lipstick Bureau to fans of Gable's work and to anyone looking for their next great read - you are going to fall in deep with this one. Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

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