Book Review: Watch Over Me by Eileen Charbonneau


Twenty-four-year-old Kitty Charente is trying to put her life back together. As a switchboard operator for Spenser’s International, a perfumer based in New York City, Kitty wants to put the death of her husband killed in service to the Canadian Royal Air Force and the miscarriage of her baby behind her and move forward, but when her boss, Jack, gives her the task of wining and dining an out-of-town salesman, Luke Kayenta, Kitty’s world is turned upside down overnight. Luke, with his haunted eyes and strange accent, clearly isn’t like Jack’s usual salesmen, and she’s certain he’s much more when she secretly watches him perform a strange ceremony on the eighty-sixth floor of the Empire State Building. Unbeknownst to Kitty, Luke has come for her. Charged with delivering a deathbed letter from Philippe, Kitty’s husband, Luke is drawn to more than Kitty’s grief. Beyond his promise to deliver the smuggled letter, the stories Philippe shared of his beautiful dark-haired wife helped Luke escape his imprisonment in Spain and brought him halfway around the world to find her. Now that he’s found her, he doesn’t want to let her go, and despite the danger surrounding this man whom everyone seems to be chasing, Kitty follows his reckless path through the twisting, wartime streets of New York, but Luke’s relentless pursuers appear at every turn and their instant attraction won’t be enough to protect either of them.

The rebirth of Luke’s tormented soul is the real jewel in this novel, book two of the Code Talker Chronicles. Luke isn’t a Spaniard as Kitty’s been told but a Navajo code talker, and he’s keeping more secrets than the forbidden letter. Tortured in Spain at the hands of Nazis, Luke has yet to truly escape his persecutors and have his mind released to live–and love–again. Haunted by his burning at the hands of his captors and by the death of his clan brother, Luke wants to return to his beloved home of Arizona and his simple life as a sheep farmer. With his Valentino eyes, capable hands, and beautiful heart, the mystical Luke seeks freedom for himself but also freedom for his country, the very country that typically spits upon his native heritage. His invaluable work in the intelligence service has cost him more than a pound of flesh, but his chance at love and life with Kitty, his continual inspiration, is built upon a fragile ledge of espionage and the memories of her heroic husband, and now the woman he loves is charged with the task of of testing whether Luke’s job, his very mind, has been compromised.

In a world of half-truths, crooked policemen, spies, and impersonators, the real question is who to trust. Watch Over Me shows a lively caricature of 1940s New York spinning wildly in the madness of espionage, where secrets darken sacrifices and both threaten and create the bond of family.

This review was written for Chanticleer Reviews.

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