Linda Shenton Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett is a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII in Wolfboro, NH, and that expertise in the era comes through in her novel Under Fire, set in 1942 New Hampshire and London.  Matchett gives us the story of Ruth Brown, a young and feisty reporter determined to make her way against the time period’s views of women’s limitations, though not without the support of parents, friends, and (to some extent) her editor.  Ruth’s biggest story is tracking down the truth behind her sister’s disappearance with a friend on a New Hampshire lake.  The story leads the plucky young woman with all the grit of a young Susan Hayward or Joan Bennett into some dangerous union/management conflicts, sabotage, eventually blitz-torn London, and even an Ireland rife with threats of the IRA and Nazi fifth columnists!  The twists and turns of plot move fast but make sense as one resolution after another leads to a deeper mystery.  Matchett does an effective job creating a strong, intelligent heroine who needs to find her way and balance her bullheadedness with insight and strategy.  I particularly took pleasure in how this author created a circle of girl friends who reminded me so much of my mother and her friends from the time – sassy and smart.  Equally enjoyable, the family relations were warm and believable.  Further, Matchett captures the feel of small town New Hampshire during the war years masterfully, creating a strong sense of place and interweb of human relations.  I also noticed a probable in-joke with Matchett’s naming one of the police in New Hampshire “Ian McShane.”  A tip of the hat to the actor who portrayed Lovejoy in the detective show of the same name for so many years?  Anyway, I would love to read more of Ruth Brown’s adventures.  Here’s a link to Matchett’s web page, so you can check out more of her WWII era novels.

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