BOOK CLUB: The Codebreakers

The Codebreakers written by Alli Sinclair is one of our March book club reads, and the dedication in the front of the book truly says it all:

“For the women and men of the Central Bureau and all Allied signals intelligence departments and outposts. Their Strength Lay in Silence “

The book is historical fiction, extensively researched by Alli Sinclair and based on true events during World War 2 in Australia.

Brisbane 1943: Ellie O’Sullivan is an engineer for Qantas Empire Airways. She services the planes which fly to New Guinea to drop medical supplies and food to the Allied troops. She loves her job.

Her logic and intelligence attract the attention of the Central Bureau, an intelligence organisation working with England’s Bletchley Park Codebreakers.

Ellie reluctantly takes the skills test, naturally, she passes, and is asked to “come and work with us”. Should she take this new position when she doesn’t even know who “us” is? Her friend Florry convinces her to join and with the signing of a lifelong contract, her journey of “secrets and lies” begins.

Ellie moves from Mrs. Hanley’s boarding house to the 67AWAS barracks. She isn’t allowed to give any explanation to her friends about her new job or why she has moved.

A close bond of friendship forms amongst the girls, known as the “Garage Girls”. They work out of a garage behind a normal house in the suburbs of Brisbane, decoding enemy messages.

Trouble arises when one of them is suspected of being a traitor. Ellie’s life is certainly not dull.

Ellie’s brother died in France and his best friend Louis has stayed in contact.  Ellie meets many new friends, and finds love, but will her love last during wartime?

What will happen after the war for Ellie and her friends? After having an exciting job, what employment will be available for them once the men return?

The book cleverly concludes in Charleville 2009, with Ellie at 88 years of age.

This is a must-read book. It is a story of the contribution of Australian women during World War 2. It is a story of friendship, love, loss. And finally, recognition of their service due to the release of their “secrets and lies”.

I give this book 5 stars, a fantastic read.

ISBN: 9781489296931 / Imprint: Mira AU

A selection of our members are reading The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair. You can read their reviews below, or add your own.

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