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Betty Bolte
Notes of Love and War
Betty Bolte, author
Audrey Harper needs more than home and hearth to satisfy her self-worth despite being raised with the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Working as a music critic for the city newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Second World War, she’s enjoyed both financial freedom and personal satisfaction in a job well done. When she uncovers evidence of German spies working to sabotage a secret bomber plane being manufactured in her beloved city, she must choose between her sense of duty to protect her city and the urgings of her boss, her family, and her fiancé to turn over her evidence to the authorities. But when her choices lead her and her sister into danger, she is forced to risk life and limb to save her sister and bring the spies to justice. Set against the backdrop of the flourishing musical community during the 1940s in Baltimore, Notes of Love and War weaves together the pleasure of musical performance with the dangers of espionage and spying.
Bolte’s captivating saga of love and espionage during WWII (after Becoming Lady Washington) draws inspiration from her parents’ early correspondence, according to an author’s note. In 1942 Baltimore, budding journalist Audrey Harper meets Army Maj. Charlie Powers at a party, and they become pen pals while he is stationed on the Western front. Audrey and Charlie continue to correspond after he is wounded in combat and returns to his Florida home, where he begins working as a commercial photographer, while Audrey finds employment as a music critic for the Baltimore Daily. As Audrey’s writing gains the praise of her editor, she worries for the safety of her sister, Stella Rae, a violinist who is being harassed by Stella Rae’s former fiancé. When Peter Mercer, the former conductor at Stella Rae’s school, returns to resume his job after a trip to Europe, Audrey becomes suspicious that the patterns of one of his compositions may be some type of a code, and that he may be a spy. Audrey continues her investigation of Peter as she contemplates her recent engagement to Charlie and whether she will be able to continue with her career once she is married. Bolte supplements her fast-paced plotting with keen attention to historical detail. Fans of WWII fiction will enjoy this intriguing novel. (Self-published)