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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
If you like historical fiction with a few twists, turns, and surprises along the way, The Pearl Harbor Conspiracy by J.G. Schwartz is for you. The story alternates between two timelines: Rebecca and her mother Bernice in 1992, and a younger Bernice in the years 1939 through the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Rebecca, a teacher, has taken leave to help care for her dying mother, a widow and retired teacher who is in home hospice care. A confidential package arrives for Rebecca holding evidence of a shocking secret about her mother. Rebecca knew that her mother was related to Ethel Rosenberg who, along with her husband Julius, was executed as a spy for Russia. However, that won’t hold a candle to what Bernice will unfold to her daughter after Rebecca confronts her about the package, or what Rebecca will find in her mother’s lockbox.
In The Pearl Harbor Conspiracy, Schwartz gives us a dramatic and suspenseful fictional account about the impetus behind the United States entering World War II. Bernice’s character is drawn with emotional complexity. She’s a woman torn who acts heroically, on the one hand, and on the other, tragically, unconscionably, and duplicitously. Depending heavily on dialog, the action moves a little slowly in the beginning but then crescendos in surprising twists and turns as Rebecca must decide what to do with what she’s been given. She will prove to be her mother’s daughter. Blending historical figures and events with fictional protagonists and plot, Schwartz creates a surprising and entertaining story which incorporates treason, deception, bribery, and murder before it’s through.