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Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,846 ratings  ·  456 reviews
"A perfect summer read; gripping, original, well-drawn and compassionate"--Joanne Harris

"Celia Rees is a superb writer, and this novel has one of the most irresistible and unique story hooks I've ever come across. This book deserves to be huge!"--Sophie Hannah

A striking historical novel about an ordinary young British woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war crimi
Paperback, 512 pages
Published July 7th 2020 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published May 18th 2020)
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Pamela No but the inspiration came from the author's aunt who work in Germany after the war. She did not have the same role as the character. …moreNo but the inspiration came from the author's aunt who work in Germany after the war. She did not have the same role as the character. (less)

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Set in post-war Germany, this atmospheric story vividly explores the time period and involves a rush, time is precious, to uncover a network of spies and war criminals. And this involves a young British woman who fits a profile of being single, ordinary looking and with a college degree in German – a perfect material for a spy.

London, 1945. Edith is a provincial schoolteacher and craves something more. Her friend Leo encourages her to apply for a position, which would involve her knowledge of Ge
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway for an honest review.
It's post WWII and the British Control Commission for Germany is recruiting British civilians to help rebuild the shattered remains and hunt down Nazi war criminals. Edith Graham is bored with her teaching position and tired of caring for her elderly mother. Urged by her cousin Leo and looking for a bit of adventure, Edith applies for a position with the Control Commission. Edith is unassuming, unmarried, speaks fluent German and
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Post WWII Spying Stars

I’ve never really thought about how spying and intrigue didn’t end when WWII ended. There were competing efforts (by different countries) in Germany and around the world to find former German military leaders, sometimes to punish them, other times to try and glean knowledge from them.

This book centers around Edith, a British woman who is ready for a new life after the war. She’s single, speaks German, and is a teacher, so it makes sense for the British Control Commission
Joan Happel
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in Germany just after World War II, this novel tells the story of intrepid Edith Graham. After sitting out the war in England as a provincial schoolteacher and caring for her overbearing mother, Edith decides to take a job re-establishing schools in Germany for the British Control Commission of Germany. Her cousin Leo, a member of the British secret service, recruits her to find Count Kurt von Stavenow, a Nazi scientist wanted for war crimes. Prior to the war, Leo introduced Edith to Kurt an ...more
Cindy Burnett
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook opens as World War 2 has ended. Edith Graham, a 30-something English woman, is eager to leave her home so she applies to Britain’s Control Commission for Germany, an entity that sends British citizens to Germany to help rebuild the country and locate and prosecute German war criminals. Because she has a college degree in German, she is recruited by the OSS to spy and send back intelligence through recipes she gathers as she travels. However, when Edith arrives in ...more
Laura Chase
Apr 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I found it hard to get into but once I did it read at a nice pace. I did find it a bit hard to keep the characters apart.
Highly recommended! Quite an unusual spin on the Cold War immediately following the devastation of WWII, when Europe was reeling under devastation and rebuilding efforts were underway yet the Axis powers were quietly vying for power in the cleanup. The cookbook at the centre of this intrigue was an imagined device, created by the author, similar to many book codes employed during the war and is used to communicate between a sophisticated spy network. Nazi hunting is the “game”, and not every cou ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Pretty much this entire book gave me a headache. I'm not sure if it's because I just don't have it in me to keep up with all the twists, turns or subterfuge of spy novels (since I recently read another spy novel that I felt much the same way about) or if the author is so busy creating confusion and doubt about who to trust and who reports to whom that they create a mess not worth the reader following. In this case, Edith, a British spinster and teacher, is recruited by her cousin Leo to go work ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
With the end of WWII, London modern languages teacher Edith Graham is recruited to join the British Control Commission in Germany as the country begins to rebuild. As an Education Officer she will work to reestablish schools in Lubeck, but Edith has also been secretly tasked with passing on information to both the British Government, particularly if she is able to renew her acquaintance with ex-lover Kurt von Stavenow, and to her friend, Dori, who is searching for lost friends. It’s a risky prop ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thea | (unapologetic_bibliosmia)
3 Nazi-dodging, Recipe writing stars ***

I really like WW2 historical novels, and so when I saw this Cold War-based historical novel for request on #Netgalley I was really intrigued. I hadn't expanded my reading of historical novels past ww2, and the Cold War period is a a period of history I really enjoy learning about so I just had to read it. Thanks to the Publisher and the author - I was given an ARC in exchange for review.

This is one of those books where after I finished, I went straight bac
Rosemary Standeven
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It had everything I could want in a non-fantasy book: some history, food and recipes, German, international relations, some moral quandaries, not too little jeopardy and a great array of characters.
I fell in love with the main character, Edith, as soon as she was introduced. She was everything I would hope to be, if ever in her situation: kind, resourceful, always willing to help, judging people on their merit – not their race or nationality, standing up for those less fortuna
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it

This is a great book, a page turner as they say, and I did think it would be a five star read for me, but, as the book went on, a few doubts began to creep in, and although there was never any doubt that I’d finish it, I ended up feeling that it somehow missed the mark, that some of the characters, and their actions didn’t make total sense, and, after a very promising first two thirds or so, it eventually, slightly disappointed me.....

It’s certainly has the ingredients for a good story......
Brilliant! I haven't been so absorbed in a post WW2 novel for ages!

Not you're usual post 1945 European reconstruction story. This is set mainly in Germany after the surrender.
Edith Graham decides that now is the time to do her bit and she applies to work for the British government Control Commission for Germany, concerned with rebuilding that nation and searching for war criminals.
Before she leaves London for Germany she is briefed by Vera Atkins about possibly discovering the fate of four Brit
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of the many things I loved about Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook, the standout was Miss Graham herself. Edith is smart, shrewd and eager to do good, to make a difference. Her family don’t see it that way, but her decision to work for the Control Commission in Germany is not an excuse to shirk family responsibilities, it’s out of a desire to do something. “All through the war, she’d seen others leave to join the forces, do useful work. She’d done nothing. She felt wasted and unfulfilled, as thoug ...more
Maine Colonial
Edith Graham is a young Englishwoman who spent WW2 at home, teaching school and looking after her mother. Once the war ended, though, she decides to try to do something important. She volunteers to go to Germany to set up schools intended to help feed and educate children—and set them on a democratic path.

Because Edith is fluent in German, she is quickly hired. Just as quickly, she is asked by British intelligence to be on the lookout for Nazis hiding out, especially her 1930s Oxford lover, Kurt
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set in Germany after World War II. Edith longs for something different from the life she's been leading in Coventry - an old maid school teacher caring for her widowed mother. Her cousin, Leo, offers an opportunity to do something good in war-torn Germany. She will work with his commission to set up schools for the German children. And while she's doing that, she might keep her eyes and ears open to see if there's any news about their old friend, Kurt von Stavenow. Edith accepts Leo's offer, and ...more
Sue Em
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everything you could want in an historical novel. High stakes. Fresh perspective. Original voice. After spending WWII in the English countryside caring for her mother, Edith Graham seizes the opportunity to go to Germany to help set up schools. Of course, there is secret mission based on her prewar friendship with a young man who grew to prominence in the SS. Edith is smart, resolute and engaging and the history of a period where the old allegiances were changing, and new enemies found. Well-wri ...more
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘... the fear that still held sway here, of hidden forces under the surface. Like they ’re afraid of something. As though the people we’re looking for still have influence and power.’

I initially picked up this book as, being a lover of historical fiction, it was of post WWII and the onset of the Cold War. I had not read much about this time period. Little did I realise the epic journey I would be taken on. This is a definite stand out book for me in 2020!

This is such a well written piece of lite
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a marvelous book!

At the end of WWII, Britain is overseeing its occupation zones in Germany, hiring citizens to work there to rebuild and prosecute war crimes. Edith Graham, a school teacher who is bored and tired of living with her overbearing mother, is eager to sign on. She's recruited as a spy to hunt down one such criminal: Kurt von Stavenow, with whom she had a close relationship before the war.

This book was fascinating. I was immediately drawn by the premise--I love everything about t
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow! What a book! I really enjoyed reading the story of Edith and of how she was working with several different military operations to help track down someone from her past. It was a suspenseful read that kept moving at a perfect pace.
I was concerned going in to reading this, with the word cookbook going in...yes there were recipes and talks of food... but it made perfect sense once I was involved in the story.
Definitely check this book out!

I’d like to thank Book Club Girls, Net Galley and the
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I'd probably give this book 2.5 stars overall, but going with 3 to be on the high side. This book had a very slow beginning and was very long. There seemed to be lots of details, but it was hard for me to keep all the characters straight at times. Throughout the book, we traveled along with Miss Graham as she went to Germany and was a spy for two different people. Although it was interesting to find out what she learned and who she found, it still seemed like too long of a book. The book had a v ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook was an entertaining read! I read quite a few WWII books and it was refreshing to read a book set in the post-WWII Cold War era. I enjoyed the story and the many twists towards the end. I had some difficulty keeping track of all the characters which led to confusion at times. I was also a bit disappointed that the entire Stella Snelling alter ego story line was nonexistent - it was one of the biggest draws to the book for me and it was barely mentioned. Overall, an ...more
Julie - One Book More
Set in post-World War II Germany, Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is a fascinating story that focuses on Edith, a British school teacher who regrets that she spent much of the war safely teaching and caring for her mother. Determined to contribute more, Edith applies with the British to aid in the rebuilding of Germany. Though Edith assumes she will be working in an educational capacity, because of her affluence in German, she is recruited by the British intelligence to locate and spy on Nazi wa ...more
Sherry Chancellor
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
This reader wanted to love this book. Alas, even though it had a number of good points and some parts were immersive and well done, the beginning was slow and the last chapters—excluding the epilogue-ish last chapter, were devastating and made this reader angry.
This story had a slow start with way too many characters thrown into the first chapter which slowed the story even more as I tried to get a handle on who was who.
Edith, the character who was the point of view character for most of the b
Kelly Furniss
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A story of life after WWII where each chapter contains a recipe. Are they just simple recipes though or maybe coded messages?
A tale unfolds of love and loss and how the war affected these people.
The end of the WWII leads into the Cold War and this recipe/cookbook author finds herself in sticky situations and caught up in continuing the fight for justice.
A multi layered read which keeps you wondering if the characters are who they say they are and the secrets they hold.
A well written book with
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at Germany after WWII, when the British, Americans, and Russians were staking out their territories. Everyone is hunting Nazis but for different reasons, revenge vs the knowledge the scientists have that can be exploited. A group of women looking for revenge pass codes by sharing recipes. The ending took me by surprise, too. So many characters were a little hard to keep track of initially, but since all the personalities were so different , that helped differentiate them.
Sarah Wagner
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spies and Nazis abound in this novel about a woman sent to post-war Germany to manage schools and help locate a former Nazi officer. She uses a cookbook to code messages and communicate with a fellow spy back in London. With plenty of danger and false revelations, this novel makes for good reading. I found a few of the characters tiresome at certain points, but the story was good enough to keep me reading right to an unexpected and thrilling end.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an entertaining, suspenseful read and I especially enjoy Edith’s character! The war has ended but there’s still distrust between the US and Britain. Therefore the Control Commission for Germany is hiring British civilians to work in Germany to basically be spies. A perfect candidate is Edith, she’s single and a schoolteacher, and she’s up for the challenge. Her persona is Stella Snelling, a cookbook author. Edith soon discovers the world of espionage is ruthless and nothing like her life ...more
Jessica Schmitt
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!!! This book was so great!!! It really threw me for a loop at the end. So good!
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Celia Rees (born 1949) is an English author of children's, YA and Adult fiction.

She was born in 1949 in Solihull, West Midlands but now lives in Leamington Spa with her husband. Rees attended University of Warwick and earned a degree in History of Politics. After university, she taught English in Coventry secondary schools for seventeen years, during which time she began to write.

Since then, she

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