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Bette: The Women of Ivy Manor    by Lyn Cote order for
by Lyn Cote
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

This is the second installment in Lyn Cote's Women of Ivy Manor series. Set in the U.S., it spans four generations of 20th century women. Bette is the daughter of Chloe (from the first book of the series). As the book opens, Bette is in a serious relationship with Curt, her boyfriend of several years. Curt's and Bette's families have been close for years and approve of them as a couple.

Bette's desire and hope is to marry Curt, be a homemaker and have several children. Curt seems to feel the same, but keeps postponing their engagement. When World War II begins and Curt is drafted, Bette is at home still unengaged. She works in the War Department of a federal government office. She is a typist and files reports concerning government personnel. One day, Bette notices something amiss with her files. When she discreetly reports it to an important government figure, she finds herself accepting a confidential and exciting mission to become a spy.

While this is a far cry from the traditional life she hoped for with Curt, Bette is excited to help in the war effort. The remainder of the book focuses on Bette's burgeoning spying career - she has a natural aptitude for it, along with a forbidden attraction to a male partner. Meanwhile and not surprisingly, World War II changes Curt. Bette finds he is not the same person as he was in more innocent days. She must come to terms with her own life and the life that she wants to lead as a potential wife and mother, and must decide whether she will continue as a spy.

Cote does a good job of fleshing out the main characters, and I found the highlight of the book to be Bette's exciting role in the war. I recommend Bette to those who enjoy historical fiction with a faith-driven message, and I look forward to Leigh, the third in this series.

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