Tender Enemies

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
133 Pages
Reviewed on 05/15/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

Lily Campbell used to be part of a happy family, but those days are long gone, and nowadays, she barely makes ends meet doing extra work for her boss, John McMillan. Americans are naturally concerned about the actions of some members of the public, particularly those connected to the American German Bund Organization since there are increasing rumors of war breaking out in Europe with Nazi Germany spearheading it. John convinces Lily to play her part in protecting America by seducing selected targets for the information she can get out of them. When he sends her to trap Joe Stiles, a young news reporter with a mysterious past and a penchant for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the last thing Lily expects is to be attracted to him. Her findings reveal there is more to him than meets the eye, but she gets caught up in a deadly conspiracy before she reports back to her superiors. Will the hunter become the hunted in this game of cat and mouse? Only time will tell in S.R. Mallery's Tender Enemies.

S.R. Mallery demonstrates a fantastic degree of attention to detail with the timeline by using references like Lily's choice of shoes for a date. Lily's flashbacks elucidate how she ended up in such terrible financial circumstances and draw the reader into her journey, showing rich and nuanced character development. Mallery replaces the traditional cloak-and-dagger approach synonymous with espionage adventures with something more complex but original. The author builds the tension, encouraging readers to think outside the box when considering the connections that bind the characters. A prime example is the way Lily sees John McMillan in a fatherly role when, in reality, their relationship feels more like she is replacing one manipulator with another. The romantic subplot provides a nice break from the action-packed main story. Mallery describes the intimate details of the developing affair, highlighting both parties' cautious approach to avoid possible heartbreak. Readers will love Tender Enemies because of Mallery's masterful storytelling and deft pacing, which turn it into the ideal blend of romance, action, and drama.