The Shadow Ally (The Yankee Years Book 1)
by Dianne Ascroft
The Shadow Ally is a Short Read – approximately 2 hours or more – in The Yankee Years series.
America is not yet at war, but the country is preparing for it. And it is essential that this remain secret.
June 1941: Ruth Corey is puzzled by the attractive, enigmatic Italian-American civilian contractor, Frank Long, who is staying at her family’s hotel in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Serious and reserved, he is nothing like the friendly, outgoing British and Canadian servicemen she knows. Nor, she discovers, does he even use his real surname.
War is a time of alliances and secrets. The biggest secret in the county is the construction of an American flying boat base outside Irvinestown. Since their country is not at war, the American contractors must conceal the building project. America’s neutrality will be destroyed if Germany discovers its existence.
Ambitious local reporter, and Ruth’s almost fiancé, Harry Coalter is consumed with curiosity about the new American airbase. But why? When Ruth finds a letter Harry has written about the flying boat base she fears he is pursuing a path that will land him in serious trouble. She enlists Frank’s help to stop Harry from making a terrible mistake.
Can Ruth safeguard a military secret that will have a profound impact on the course of the war and protect her beau?
A tale for fans of Annie Murray, Ellie Dean and Margaret Dickinson.
The Yankee Years series: During the Second World War Northern Ireland hosted American, British and Canadian troops. County Fermanagh welcomed Air Force squadrons hunting U-boats and defending shipping convoys in the Atlantic Ocean and Army battalions training and preparing for deployment to Europe’s Western Front. After the Allied troops arrived, life would never be the same again. The Yankee Years novels and Short Reads weave thrilling and romantic tales of the people and the era.
Taking place during the early years of World War II, The Shadow Ally is a short novella about early American preparations for entering the war, based in Northern Ireland. Ruth works at her parents’ hotel and she begins to get suspicious of her beau, Harry. She reports her concerns to Frank, a visiting American contractor working on a project in the area. Will her suspicions be validated?
What lead me to my rating was the unfortunate lack of development in the characters, and the rushed feel to the novella. I am fond of short stories/novellas, but this one left me feeling slightly unsatisfied. I wish the author had expanded the topic out, leading to more intrigue and tension between Harry and Frank, giving the reader more insight to the history of the time. Why did the Americans choose Northern Ireland? How were their actions relevant to the war effort, if they weren’t meant to be involved at this stage? This novella had the potential to stronger than it was. The author has the talent for historical writing though, and despite Ruth’s overly naive character, I did enjoy this quick read.
About the Author
Dianne Ascroft is a Canadian writer living in Britain. Since moving to Britain in 1990 she has lived in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
She writes both fiction and non-fiction and her fiction often has Irish connections. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and regional newspapers including the Toronto Star, Ireland’s Own, Senior Times, Celtic Connection and Irish Connections Canada.
She is co-editor and a regular contributor to The Fermanagh Miscellany, the Fermanagh Authors’ Association’s yearly anthology and she also contributes material to other local history and writers’ anthologies.
Dianne is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Historical Novel Society, Writers Abroad, Fermanagh Authors’ Association and Fermanagh Writers.
Dianne started life in a quiet residential neighbourhood in the buzzing city of Toronto and has progressively moved to smaller places through the years. She now lives on a small farm in Northern Ireland with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. If she ever decides to write her autobiography the working title will be ‘Downsizing’.
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