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In the Shadow of War: Spies, Love & the Lusitania is a Spring Break Bookapalooza pick #histfic #book

Title: In the Shadow of War: Spies, Love & the Lusitania

Author: Colleen Adair Fliedner

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

When the RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland in 1915, nearly 1,200 people drowned, including 128 Americans. The British government wanted the U.S. to join the Allied Forces in WWI. Did they set in motion actions allowing the luxury liner to be a target for a German U-boat’s torpedo to achieve that goal? This compelling novel is the story of a family torn apart by death, and lovers who are separated when the ship slides into the icy sea. German spy rings in New York, America’s $500 million dollar loan to replenish England and France’s empty war chests and much more are woven into this gripping drama.


“MY GOD,” Josette gasped. “They did it! They really did it!”

Seaman Mortan glanced down at her and Curtis with a terrified expression. “Run for it!” He dropped the megaphone and disappeared inside the Bridge doorway.

Without a word, Curtis grabbed her arm. Together, they sprinted aft, in the direction of the stairwell. The thunderous sound of shattering metal followed a loud thud. An instant later, an explosion emanated from the heart of the liner, violently shaking the deck beneath their feet.

“This can’t be happening!” Her knees went weak, buckling beneath her. She grabbed the handrail on the bulkhead wall. Screams and shouts came from everywhere. Footsteps pounded on the deck.

“The dogs!” Josette turned around just in time to see a terrified-looking Mrs. O’Reilly, the three dogs, and several other passengers running in their direction. A thick column of water and steam spewed up from the area where the torpedo struck. Everything—the forward deck, the passengers, the dogs—where wet from the heavy spray and shaft of steam that had blown over the front section of the ship.

“Get your vests on!” a terrified Mrs. O’Reilly yelled, as she bolted past, heading for the stairwell. “We’re all doomed!”

“Wait!” Curtis yelled. “Are you all right?”

Mrs. O’Reilly didn’t answer, didn’t look back, and disappeared around the end of the bulkhead. Little Sassy followed her owner, her leash dragging behind her.

As Mr. Duns sprinted past, Curtis tried to grab him. Panicked, the Westie wasn’t having any of it. He zipped through Curtis’ grip and kept running.

“We need to go after poor Dunsie,” Josette yelled, feeling the urge to cry.

“No. We can’t. We need to get our life jackets.”

“No! I have to save him.” She stepped out to run.

He grabbed her arm. “Wait, Josie. Go get your life jacket. My room is near Mrs. Donaldson’s. I’ll check to make sure the dog—”

A deafening sound, an explosion far greater than the first one, shook the ship with such force that both Curtis and Josette were knocked to the deck. The ship shuddered, its bow lifting, then dropping hard. Horrible sounds—things crashing, breaking glass, shattering windows—could all be heard over the screams. The Lusitania rolled from side to side, finally settling itself.

Her ears ringing, Josette raised her head and glanced in the direction of the blast. The plume of steam was laced with fiery orange and black fragments, rising hundreds of feet into the air. Josette gasped, covering her mouth with her gloved hands. It looked like a volcanic eruption.

Strangely, the wreckage which had shot skyward seemed to hover in the air. As the ocean liner continued to move forward, burning chunks of debris began to rain down—wood shards, pieces of metal, and bits of glowing black matter—bounced and clinked as it hit the smokestacks, the Bridge, and the deck close to them.

“Get down!” Curtis said, pushing her to the deck and closer to the bulkhead wall. He laid on Josette to shield her, yanked at his coat and pulled it up to cover the back of their heads. “Don’t move,” he whispered in her ear.

Buy Links (including Goodreads):

This is a traditionally published novel, so it’s availble on Amazon and all the other regular outlets. It can also be ordered from any bookstore.

If money were no object and we weren’t in a pandemic, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?

Bora Bora or some other tropical destination. I love the beauty of French Polynesia.

Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?

The RMS Lusitania was torpedoed on May 7, 1915, and we’re coming up on another anniversary. This was a major event during World War 1 which has often been overlooked.


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Open internationally

Runs April 1 – 30, 2021.

Drawing will be held on May 3, 2021.

Author Biography:

Award-winning author, journalist and historian, Colleen Adair Fliedner, has written four traditionally published nonfiction books, radio and t.v. commercials, screenplays, and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and online publications. She was a staff writer for the Orange County Register newspaper’s online travel publication and was a regular contributor for Talking Travel Radio Network based on the East Coast. In the Shadow of War: Spies, Love & the Lusitania is her first novel.

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