In this fast-paced and enjoyable WWII espionage tale, Meacham (Roses) takes readers to 1942 Nazi-occupied Paris to follow five American spies as they attempt to gather information to assist Allied and French Resistance forces. Americans Brad, Bridgette, Bucky, Chris, and Victoria have been recruited as spies for the CIA’s Office of Special Services. After undergoing rigorous training, the eclectic crew—a professional fencer, a fashion designer, a fly fisherman, the son of a wealthy businessman, and a Texan with German roots—meet for the first time in Paris. The spies, collectively called Dragonfly, find themselves in dangerous situations from the off; communicating in code, they must form their plans in secret as they attempt to blend in to a cold, starving, terrified Paris. Each takes up employment with potential collaborators, working as tutors, listening in at boarding houses, and chatting between casts of a fly-fishing reel for information to send back to the OSS. After Victoria is captured and the others fear their code may be broken, the Dragonfly mission comes apart and all members must fend for themselves. While the set up and ending are both thrilling, the five spies are separated throughout the middle. Their isolation, Meacham’s close concentration on each character’s particular struggles to survive in isolation, and the drawn-out foreshadowing that one of the spies will be shot slows the momentum leading to the gripping finale. Despite this, Meacham’s nail-biting tale will please fans looking for an intricate story of spycraft and deception. (July)
A Forbes "Best Historical Novels for Summer 2019"
A USA Today Bestseller
"Gripping...In this fast-paced and enjoyable WWII espionage tale, Meacham takes readers to 1942 Nazi-occupied Paris to follow five American spies as they attempt to gather information to assist Allied and French Resistance forces.... Meacham's nail-biting tale will please fans looking for an intricate story of spycraft and deception."—Publishers Weekly
"Complex, epic, and rich in historical detail-an uplifting story of finding friendship behind enemy lines."—Kirkus
"Meacham ratchets the suspense ever tighter, while providing fascinating backstory on the intrepid five [American spies] as well as delivering a detail-rich portrait of Paris during the Occupation."—Booklist
"Leila Meacham is a gift to readers everywhere. With scope and daring, she creates worlds in her fiction that keep us turning pages long into the night. Sumptuous, full bodied and emotional, Dragonfly soars."—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Tony's Wife
"I was immediately taken by the powerful and poetic storytelling of Leila Meacham. Dragonfly is a meticulously researched novel filled with unforgettable characters during the darkest time in history. Simply unstoppable!"—Armando Lucas Correa, New York Times bestselling author of The German Girl
"Dragonfly is a thrilling spy novel with a tender heart, a plot full of surprising twists, and a rich tapestry of historical detail. Caught up in the complexities of sympathetic characters whose divided loyalties force them to make dangerous choices, I couldn't stop turning the pages."—Kim van Alkemade, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl
"Meacham's impeccable pacing and razor-wire tension evoke the daily drama of life under a Reich whose French reign might have lasted little more than four years but felt like the thousand years that it threatened to endure."—Bookpage
"Thrilling."—B&N Reads, July's Best New Fiction
"Dragonfly is one of those books you cannot put down...A masterpiece of story-telling with greatly written characters during one of the world's worst times with five brave Americans who put country over their own lives."—Red Carpet Crash
"Set in German-occupied Paris during World War II, this captivating novel stars five young Americans who received mysterious letter asking them to "serve their country." They agree, creating a secret groupcode-named Dragonflythat goes undercover to infiltrate Nazi ranks. But when one of them is captured, they begin to question if things are what they seem. With drama and danger, it's impossible to put down."—Woman's World
"A riveting read. So many World War II stories are nothing but men and their guns...It's especially refreshing to see a story like this so focused on women who are as capable and gutsy as the men, with Victoria in particular being a standout character....There are more than a few surprises in Dragonfly, and the short, choppy chapters tend to leave you multiple cliffhangers to keep you hooked...As a novel it captures the espionage side of World War II, as well as the men and women who served in secret, with admirable grace and power."—Houston Chronicle
"Meacham hooks the reader in the first paragraph and keeps the pages turning as the characters live on the brink of one potential clandestine calamity after another...Meacham's other historical novels, besides Roses, are Tumbleweeds, Somerset, and Titans. Each is an engaging and powerful tale, but Dragonfly may well be the most thrilling of them all."—Abilene Reporter News, A "Texas Reads" Pick
"A gripping tale."—D Magazine
"The thrills are tingly rather than electrifying, the leads are superficially satisfying, and the enemies meet their appropriate ends. A long and leisurely spy novel, reminiscent of a 1950s move."—Library Journal
"Dragonfly by Leila Meacham is a spellbinding novel. The story from the very first line pulls readers into the mystery: which of the five American spies embedded in Nazi occupied Paris has survived? The dramatic scenes are riveting as each character plays a cat and mouse game with the Nazis."—Crimespree
"[An] engrossing story."—Historical Novel Society
PRAISE FOR PREVIOUS LEILA MEACHAM NOVELS
"The finest historical fiction not only entertains but teaches readers something about an era not their own, and this novel offers a stellar crash course in Texas history...The novel has it all: a wide cast of characters, pitch-perfect period detail, romance, plenty of drama, and skeletons in the closet (literally). Saga fans will be swooning."—Booklist (starred review) (Praise for Titans)
"Roses heralded as the new Gone with the Wind."—USA Today (Praise for Roses)
"As large, romantic, and American a tale as Texas itself."—Booklist (praise for Roses)
"It's been almost 30 years since the heyday of giant epics...but Meacham's debut might bring them back. Readers who like an old-fashioned saga will devour this sprawling novel of passion and revenge."—Library Journal (praise for Roses)
During World War II, five Americans head to Nazi-occupied France on a secret mission for the OSS, but only four return.
Twenty years later, OSS case officer Alistair Renault finds a clue in a history book that the missing member of their group might have survived after all. He flashes back to the beginning of the operation, when he first assembled the team he dubbed "Dragonfly"—three men and two women who were chosen for their special skills and secret connection to the war. The five recruits bond in training, but once on their mission, they split up to avoid being caught by the enemy and communicate by making marks on a mural painted on the courtyard wall of a convent. Their cover stories offer surprising glimpses of daily life for the French and their German occupiers. (And a character list at the beginning of the book helps keep their real names and aliases straight.) Christoph Brandt, a track-and-field coach who couldn't be drafted to the American military due to his missing thumb, learns firsthand how the Hitler Youth are taught to bully. He ingratiates himself with the Nazis by tutoring the son of the head of the Abwehr German intelligence agency in France. But the Nazis won't be fooled for long. Civil engineer Samuel "Bucky" Barton risks being discovered by Christoph's old friend from his hometown who betrayed his country to join the Third Reich. Working side by side with the enemy, the Americans are surprised to learn that some of the Nazis are not what they seem. Tired, disillusioned, and looking for redemption, they blur the line between friend and foe, giving Dragonfly both a way into the organization and a way out of the war.
Complex, epic, and rich in historical detail—an uplifting story of finding friendship behind enemy lines.
A quintet of twentysomething Americans, are recruited by "the man in brown" to work on a secret mission, for reasons known only to him. They all accept, for reasons known only to them. After necessary training, they are given new identities and smuggled into Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942. Their team name is Dragonfly. Insinuating themselves into the lives of important officials, they report faithfully to their handler. They don't realize, however, that unfriendly folks have deduced their true roles and are simply stringing them along. When D-Day arrives, the five are swept up in the rush to survive, and one doesn't make it to the rendezvous point. Twenty years later, an obscure book seems to offer the reason why. Meacham has previously specialized in romance novels (Roses; Tumbleweeds), and this story has that same sweep and atmosphere. The thrills are tingly rather than electrifying, the leads are superficially satisfying, and the enemies meet their appropriate ends. VERDICT A long and leisurely spy novel, reminiscent of a 1950s movie. Recommended where there is voracious genre readership.—W. Keith McCoy, Somerset Cty. Lib. Syst., Bridgewater, NJ