Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy – Make Time to Read – Start With Jack 1939

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”
Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

A glance through the books on our shelves says a lot about who we are. I think of it as an archeological dig into our lives revealing what interests we’ve had along the way. Throughout this summer 2018, I will be blogging about the books I’m reading. I know that no two people read the same book, but I will only write about books I highly recommend. I’ll begin with a book thrust into my hands by a good friend, “I think you will like this one.” Author Francine Mathews was unknown to me and I’ve always had more interest in Bobby Kennedy than Jack, but….Jack 1939 it was to be. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Well researched, well written, a page turner, a historical setting you are familiar with, and a novel you won’t want to put down.

As Francine Mathews, she has written two series: one set in Nantucket featuring police officer Meredith “Merry” Folger, the latest in a long line of police officers in her family, including her father who is also her boss. Her second series are spy thrillers based on her time working with the CIA. As Stephanie Barron (her middle and maiden names), Mathews has written historical novels featuring the English novelist Jane Austen (1775–1817) as an amateur sleuth. The books are presented as lost diaries merely edited by Barron. Altogether she has written twenty books including Jack 1939.

It’s the spring of 1939. The United States has no intelligence service. In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt may run for an unprecedented third term and needs someone he can trust. His choice:  Twenty-two year old John F. Kennedy, who is planning to travel through Europe to gather research for his Harvard senior thesis, Roosevelt takes the opportunity to use him as his personal spy to provide information that will help  stop the flow of German money that has been flooding the United States to buy the 1940 election—an election that Adolf Hitler intends Roosevelt to lose. Francine Mathews has written an espionage tale combining fact and fiction as the world careens toward war.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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3 Responses to Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy – Make Time to Read – Start With Jack 1939

  1. trishafaye says:

    This sounds interesting. I doubt it’s one I would have even picked up and looked at. But after reading your post, I’ve added it to my TBR list. Thanks!

    • Without the friend who put the book in my hands, I doubt I would have found it. The author was raised in DC, Princeton Grad, Stanford graduate work, CIA, work. Now I understand why the book reads so well and with authenticity. Let me know what you think when it finally hits the top of your list to read. In the meantime, good summer reading!

  2. Rodd says:

    If you like to write or just read–this is the book to open. It will keep you up all night turning pages–and you will be glad you did.

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