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The Pursuit of Pearls    by Jane Thynne order for
Pursuit of Pearls
by Jane Thynne
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2016 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Pursuit of Pearls follows The Scent of Secrets as the second in Jane Thynne's lyrical historical series starring Clara Vine. This young half-German, half-English actress, with access to the top ranks of German society, spies for the British just before the onset of World War II. She keeps secret the fact that her grandmother was a Jew and has a beloved godson, Erich, in Berlin. The first episode required her to befriend Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun.

This second adventure focuses on the murder of a young woman in Germany's Faith and Beauty Society, 'the Third Reich's elite finishing school for young women', who were trained to marry into the Nazi top ranks. Hedwig is distraught when her friend Lottie is murdered. Meanwhile, Clara worries that she is being watched and agonizes over the fate of her lover, Leo Quinn, who taught her 'the tradecraft and secrets of a spy's life.' He had to leave her suddenly six months before and she's heard nothing since.

Clara is recalled to London, where she's asked to get close to the formidable Annelies von Ribbentrop and find out if 'a Nazi-Soviet pact is in the offing.' Apparently Annelies often formulates political policy for her husband. Clara reluctantly agrees and gets hints of the truth as she socializes with senior Nazi wives. Also, as she had known the dead Lottie, Clara tries to find out what Hedwig knows about her friend, learning that she was infatuated with an artistic man who had a secret.

Clara has repeated run-ins with Obersturmbannfuhrer Conrad Adler, who is much more than he pretends to be, and appears to know Clara's own dangerous secret. She's arrested and released, and betrayed by someone she believed to be a friend. The Pursuit of Pearls is another exciting adventure for Clara with a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxious for more. And don't miss the Author's Note at the back that elaborates on the story's fascinating historical context.

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