Book Club: The Great Deception

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Author: Joy Chambers
ISBN: 9780755352654
RRP: $29.99

Joy Chambers has written a novel that will surprise and shock, containing a relatively strong element of intrigue and more than a touch of romance.


All of the events in the novel link back to World War II so even though the narrative opens in Australia in 1947, after the end of the war, it isn’t long before we are transported to wartime Holland.

I am still a little ambivalent about this book, I can’t quite make up my mind. Part of this, a large part of this, is due to it being so heavily centred on WWII and the actions of the Nazis. The book has some stellar selling points but there were also aspects that left me less than impressed.

The chapters are extremely short which is something I really enjoyed. I tend to read in any slot of time I can find and I hate stopping mid-chapter so this was great for that.

We begin in NSW in 1947 with Shelly and Cole Wareing, newly married and far away from everyone they know. They don’t speak much of Cole’s time in the war but we slowly learn the things that Shelly knows, which isn’t much.

The first 130 pages are set in 1947, but not far in the narrative splits off to follow each of the main characters. The Peace time chapters follow three different characters in turn so the fact that the entire tale is narrated makes it much simpler to follow than if there were also multiple points of view.

great deception

These chapters raise many questions that can only be answered with a trip to the past, which is how we are returned to 1943. These chapters are concerned less with following all of our characters than with focusing on the character who raises the most questions. There are also brief snapshots of the other characters to share relevant information.

The wartime section was very drawn out and gave a vivid view of goings on in occupied countries, so though our original characters are Australian much of the narrative is set in the war-torn European regions. We read much about the Nazi treatment of the Dutch and the Jews, visiting prison camps with our characters and seeing the way the SS controlled the populace.

I appreciate that there were many questions to be answered in the wartime section but I believe it could have been done more succinctly. Even as these chapters unraveled more questions were raised but all of them were answered quite satisfactorily.

Once the questions were answered it was a quick cut back to post war 1947 to pick up where we left for the journey to the past. It glossed over the ensuing 2 years without telling us much about how they got from where we left them to 1947. Yes, I said not long ago that the war section could have been more succinct and now I’m wishing for elaboration but it isn’t the contradiction it seems.

Once back in 1947 all the loose ends are neatly tied up and some questions are answered that were never consciously asked.

The characters were complex which I think is necessary in a tale of this type. I don’t see how you can have secret agents or double agents that weren’t complex. Tudor, Cole and Laetitia were all quite likeable though with reservations because I was never quite sure what was going to jump out and bite me. They were commendable characters taking great risks for their country. Shelly too is a character to be admired, in the face of questionable evidence she chose to keep faith with her husband and set off on a quest of her own to find answers.

Many of the other characters were nauseating and reprehensible, I have never liked to hear/read/see anything about the fanatical followers of the Fuhrer and the staff he had enforcing his reign throughout the war.

Throughout the novel Chambers has used real historical figures and there are Author Notes to give a little background on the real people that appear in the book. The majority of the characters are fictitious and the story is fictional so the inclusion of historical figures seems a little superfluous.

The Great Deception illustrates the hardship faced by millions during the war, and the lingering effects afterwards. We are given an insight into life for Australians during the war, those still at home and doing what they can but still feeling that bit removed.

All in all an interesting read with all the elements of an engaging story, although it is one I found to be quite hard work. The element of romance was quite strong yet also quite subtle and slow building which worked for me, and I think for the story.

The Great Deception also explored the change the war wrought on people’s behaviour. Attachments and intimacies that may never have eventuated if it weren’t for the very real fear that at any time the reaper could come calling your name.

All of which worked just fine for me and then was instantly ruined with a seriously saccharine ending. I’m all for a happily ever after and everything working out for the best but this one took it a step too far for me, but I’m sure there will be romantics out there who read this and absolutely adore the ending.

56 thoughts on “Book Club: The Great Deception

  1. I’m a third of the wa through and so far I’m enjoying it. This is most definitely a genre I don’t normally pick up. I have found the writing to flow easily and be appropriate to the time. Of most interest was how well the author wrote her male characters. I haven’t found them to sound like “The Dam Busters” once.

    I read the above review and looks like I could be a little disappointed by the end, but we’ll see.

    I’ll be back when I’ve read it all 🙂

  2. Just finished reading “The Great Deception” and have to say was left a little disappointed. After reading the blurb on the back the book seemed very much a genre I love to read but the reality left me a little flat.
    I certainly didn’t hate it but I did’t love it either. The author is obviously an accomplished writer and a meticulous researcher and the research that went into this book kept me interested enough to keep reading.
    I liked the first part of the book, the way the story keep swapping between well-drawn characters kept the pace going, but the use of overly descriptive adjectives slowed the pace again, distracting me.

    The war section I enjoyed the most, the storyline got most intriguing, the characters more interesting and we finally get to meet the mysterious Leticia de Witt. I liked the touches of real history thrown into the fiction and the harrowing lives of ordinary people during the war was very well written, not to mention the bravery and sheer audacity of the secret agents characters which had me turning the pages rapidly to find out what would happen next.

    The last 80 pages left me feeling flat again as every question was nicely wrapped up and I’m afraid the ending was not what I had hoped for, a twist at the end would have been nice, but it will probably appeal to those who love a happy ending.

    Overall I enjoyed the book, the characters were engaging and the storyline was quite exciting. A well-written pleasant read.

  3. For me, reading ‘The Great Deception’ was not hard work at all. It grabbed me right from the beginning with gripping twists and compelling characters.

    I feel that Michelle has greatly summarised the story, so I’ve decided that’s left me to do none other but discuss what I love/hate about this book.

    Filled with action and intrigue it was no wonder I found myself turning pages for more, and consequently as a result left me finished all but too soon. I found myself up at late hours of the night, or should I say early hours of the morning, and when this happens, you know you have found a good book.

    The pace of the novel is quite fast, and the majority of chapters are riveting. It is one of those books, where at the end of each chapter it leaves you wanting more.

    As Michelle mentions, the chapters are quite short, and I too liked this. There is nothing worse than when you have to put a book down in the middle of a chapter!

    I went into this with the notion that this novel was purely going to be a story of romance set in the backdrop of War, and the targeted audience being female. I was mistaken; as this is a story of mystery, action and of course deception and I believe those of the male gender would enjoy it too.

    Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this read, there were a few small things which irked me. Firstly, Joy Chambers threw in a few German words, most of which she translated, some which she did not. Sadly for me, I cannot speak German and so there were a few times where I found myself wondering what a certain character had said.

    Secondly, I found the amount of times that the two characters Cole Wareing and his friend Tudor’s extremely good looks were discussed more than necessary, and the numerous times had me rolling my eyes a little thinking it was a bit over the top. They are good looking, I got that the first time!

    And lastly, (and I realise I’m just picking here) the basis of the entire story was somewhat unbelievable in my opinion. The fact that the SIS and SOE wished to use one of their own to replace and ‘become’ a German Colonel in the SS, Lucien Bayer, and that their recruit Cole just happened to look almost identical to Lucien, was unbelievable.

    Their resemblance in size, shape and general appearance (beside the area around the mouth), was convenient. And the fact no one who knew Lucien in the past picked up that someone was impersonating him was farfetched. Yes, a character had his suspicions in the end, but it took long enough to discover the imposter. I suppose they looked like ‘identical twins’ though.

    Despite my feelings on the previously discussed, I don’t wish to be negative, and wish to stress that I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as I do indeed realise it is a story of fiction, so anything can be made believable and I credit Chambers on her imagination.
    I also enjoyed that I shared the same name with a certain character and I will be recommending this to family and friends.

    I am glad to have read this charming story.

  4. I got this book on Tuesday and have read it in the 3 days since! This is a huge story, multilayered and intriguing to say the very least.

    The main characters are so well written you understand their point of view and their motivations. I agree with the review above that some of the characters are reprehensible and the action…disturbing to say the least. But this is a story of fiction interwoven with real events…and a realistic reflection of the dreadful things that happened during the war.

    To say the very least The Great Deception is an easy read – engrossing and enjoyable (except for the bits mentioned above), I couldn’t put it down! The end was perfect, so fitting. Loved it.

  5. I Have just finished The Great Deception and as a whole I found it an enjoyable book. History, intrigue, military, mystery and romance all thrown into the mix. The characters were all very well written and the storyline I found to be interesting and intriguing. While it is a large novel the short chapters made it easy to pick up where I left off.

    Set before, during and after World War Two we get an insight into what life was like for the people involved in the horrible atrocities of war and those that were left behind at home. At times the cruelty and indifference some of the characters showed made it difficult to read but I felt the author conveyed really well the time in which the novel was set.

    I did find certain things a little bit repetitive. Different characters each remembering the same thing and it felt like certain parts of the book were dragged out because of this.

    And as for the ending like Michelle in her review above I wasn’t a fan. Maybe because the war chapters were so indepth the ending just seemed to all fall into place too happily and too quickly. Just felt like a big red bow was tied around everything and after enjoying the rest of the book I was left feeling a little flat. Maybe just not what I was expecting though.

    All in all a good read with a little bit of everything thrown in for all to enjoy.

  6. I have just finished The Great Deception and as a whole i found it to be an enjoyable book. History, intrigue, mystery, military and romance all thrown into the mix. The characters were all very well written and the storyline i found to be interesting and intriguing. While it is a large novel, the short chapters always made it easy for me to pick up where i left off.

    Set before, during and after WW2 we get an insight into what life was like for the people involved in the horrible atrocities of war and those that were left behind at home. At times the cruelty and indifference some of the characters showed made it difficult to read but i felt that the author conveyed really well the times in which the novel was set.

    I did find certain things slightly repetitive. Different characters each remembering the same thing and it felt like certain parts of the book were dragged out unnecessarily because of this.

    As for the ending I have to say i wasn’t a fan. Maybe because the war chapters were so in depth and so intense, the ending just seemed to all fall into place too happily, too quickly and even too conveniently for me. Just felt like a big red bow was tied around everything and after enjoying the rest of the book I was left finishing it feeling a little flat. Maybe just not what i personally was expecting though.

    All in all a good read with a little bit of everything thrown in for all to enjoy.

  7. I found this book to be a bit of a task. It didn’t really grab me from the beginning and was far to long and detailed. The story line is bombarded with far to many irrelevant facts and just over a third of the way through I found myself skim reading and skipping paragraphs. This is normally not something I do but I just felt I needed to get to the crux of the story. I found the war section the hardest part. Even though parts of it were crucial to the story I felt that some bits could have been sacrificed in order to give the reader more about the relationship between Cole and Shell.

    The book is obviously well researched, and Chambers’ love for research shines through, however I feel the attempt to interweave historical characters made it a trial to read as the book is filled with unnecessary bits and pieces. It’s almost as if she felt she needed to feed ALL her research into the book somehow without leaving anything out.

    I’m afraid that if a book is this long it needs to be an excellent read and “The Great Deception” didn’t fit the bill for me. It certainly isn’t Chambers’ best work however I would highly recommend her other novel, “Mayfield”.

  8. I loved reading The Great Deception – it’s full of Intrigue that keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting to turn the page for more.

    The characters and story line have been well written and the author has definitely done plenty of research on the time period to make the book authentic and believable.

    I would recommend The Great Deception to anyone who wants to be taken away to another time and place.

    Well done Joy Chambers – 5 stars out of 5.

  9. I loved the Great Deception! to start with. Great story line, couldnt put it down and couldnt pick what was going to happen next, making for a wonderful read. The characters I could relate to and were well written, not over the top and let me be able to imagine being there with them.

    I found the middle of the book about the war not so great, dragged on a bit and struggled to read on at times but could well understand its relevance to the story, and yes was shocked by a few things that happened but knowing that all these things did happen and were well researched added to the story. I appreciate there is a need to write it down for future generations and give the author full credit for winding it into a love story

    All in all a good read and I look forward to finding other books by Jay Kristoff.

    Katrina

  10. I am more than half way through, but am finding the book just too difficult to read. What I mean by that is, the characters are very complex and the descriptions of war just drag on so much that it has become a bit mundane. I love the character of Shelley, and a couple of others, but to say I’ve enjoyed it thus far would be stretching the truth. I hope that towards the end, my perspective will change. I do love the cover of the book I must say, and the love story is nice but I would’ve preferred the focus to be on that instead of so much detail about the war. I must be fair and say that this is a writing genre I wouldn’t normally read, so maybe that has something to do with the way I’m interpreting the book. I thank you for the opportunity to review!

  11. What a fantastic book. I love the historical facts in the book and I really want to research the SOE and the role it played in the war, the story was intriguing to say the least and I would love to know more about the facts of the story apart from the fictional side so beautifully woven into the fabric of such an historical event as WWII.
    Joy Chambers has made the characters believable. I love the unknowing quality of Cole, all his secrets are a mystery waiting to unravel and they did so in such a fashion that although I wanted to now what was going on I didn’t want the story to end because I enjoyed it so much.
    Shelly is likeable and everything you would think of for an outback girl, where as Letta was the extroverted beauty that you would picture in any romantic espionage film, surely the likes of Angelina would play her if ever put to film. She was full of so much mystery and intrigue, but also had her share of pain and hurt which was revealed later in the book. Even though the words were fiction, knowing that there were people who really did believe the despicable beliefs of the Nazis and their evil doings, made my skin crawl when they described the Jewish people and those who weren’t classed as worthy.
    Historical fiction is definitely becoming a favourite genre of mine, and this book really made for an enjoyable read.

  12. The Great Deception opens in rural New South Wales in 1947 where Shelly and her new husband Cole live a seemingly idyllic life. All this changes with the arrival of Tudor, Cole’s wartime friend and colleague, who is out to seek revenge for what he believes is Cole’s betrayal. Cole flees to Europe both to escape and to find answers. He leaves Shelly a note with no explanation for his disappearance only stating that he will return no matter how long it takes.
    Worried and perplexed Shelly searches through Cole’s possessions and finds a box containing an SS ring, Nazi medals and a signed photo of a stunningly beautiful woman. Determined to solve the mystery of the woman and her husband’s disappearance Shelly too heads of to Europe.

    Nearly two thirds of the book is set in Nazi occupied Holland in 1942 where Cole is working undercover. This section is overly long and tedious. The inclusion of real historical characters and the end notes to explain who they are add nothing to the story. It seems to be just a vehicle for the author to show off her historical research. This part of the book is only broken up with three very short chapters about Shelly’s life in wartime Ipswich waiting for Cole’s return.

    The final 45 pages of the book bring all the major characters of the book together in the final denouement. It is overly sentimental and not entirely satisfying and the final paragraph of the book is really appalling.

    The Great Deception fails to deliver on its promise. It is badly structured and largely badly written. It is full of grammatical errors and the constant incorrect use of prior had me wincing. The dialogue is often stilted and detracts from the portrayal of the characters. I think the editor must have fallen asleep on the job when handling the manuscript of this book.

    Overall a disappointing read

  13. I found this book very time consuming to read, as much as I love a book that goes into detail, this one just tended to drag on way too much, leaving me wanting it to just be finished.
    There is a lot of focus on the war and the characters. As likeable as Shelley and Cole were, I just didn’t find it warming enough for me to really get to know the other people in the story.

    I did enjoy that the chapters are quite short, meaning if there was one I really disliked I didn’t have too long before it was over.

    Unfortunately not a fan of this book at all.

  14. Well I am about a quarter the way through and i have to say am really enjoying it. This is not the type of book I normally read but from the first page it grabs you and for me, flows like an old black and white film. In fact, as I am reading the images I create are in black and white not colour (this is a first for me). There have been a spot or two where I feel the momentum has drifted but after a few pages it comes back on track. Have tried not to read other reviews as I hate the ending being spoilt. Will return soon…..

  15. I I’ve only had the book for 7 days so I’m not finished yet. I found it a bit hard to get into but Im finding it easier to read as I go on. But I’m looking forward to finding out what happens.

  16. *****I just saw ACA last night with Joy Chambers and she was pushing this new book….I do have to say with what I’ve read so far she isn’t a very talented writer, the writing isn’t smooth, it doesn’t carry me along, it is disjointed and choppy…

  17. I only received the novel last Friday so have only just started it…it’s a lovely way to relax between bouts of doing my last uni assignment EVER! Nonetheless, I found the opening chapters very intriguing – why has Cole been so secretive? Is he really a NAZI? How do the other men fit into it? Give me a few days…and I’ll let you know…well, I won’t give anything away!

  18. I am about half way through this novel, and although I was intrigued with the first few chapters and the starting story was full of promise and secrets waithing to be revealed, I am finding it starting to drag the further I read on.
    I am not one to give up, so I will give it my full attention to the very end and come back and give a full review. I will not be swayed by other reviews here.
    I am becoming more and more interested in history the older I get, so I am sure this part will keep me attentive.

  19. I really enjoyed the majority of this book. I love to read in any spare minute that I can and so the short chapters suited me really well. The main characters were interesting and I was keen to learn more about them as the story went on. I particularly liked Shelly, although she wasn’t really in much of the story-how brave for a young woman to go travelling by herself across to the other side of the world in post WW2 time.

    I don’t particularly like reading things about the nazi’s, although I realise some of it was necessary for the story as one of the characters impersonated a nazi officer. I did get confused with the nazi ranks and the German used, but was still able to follow the storyline.

    The author used some real people in the book. I wasn’t sure why because to me a made up character could have been used and it would have been just as good. The real people meant nothing to me, as in I didn’t know who they were. The author *’ed the real people and put some information about them in her end notes, but I always find them difficult to read when I have to flip to a different part of the book-it stops the flow of the story to read about the information straight away and if I leave it until later I can’t remember why I’m reading it and what it has to do with the story.

    Overall though I did enjoy the book. Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great review offer. >:o)

  20. I got this book in the mail on friday and finished last night (MondaY) I reall y enjoyed reading this book, which is both a mystery, romance and war time story.

    This story is about a wartime hero who has returned from the war after posing as a SS officer. It follows not only his memory back through the war but also the journey of his new wife as she trys to understandand learn more about the man she thought she knew and loves.

    I did find at times the story difficult to follow, as the time changes ovvur without a great amount of preperation, The switching to different characters as focus was sometimes hard to follow as well, but once you got use to the style of writing it all added up well/

    The story is really interesting as wel as thought provoking in the knowledge of actual war time events and characters that were used through out. I loved the ending…. Not giving it away though but helps to understand what eally happens especially with the twist we find out half way through regarding the main characters lover during the war.

    I reccommend readung this book. Sometimes it may be hard to follow but it is definately worth reading to the end!
    4 out of 5 stars

  21. Well where to start..

    The Great Deception was an interesting and thought provoking read…. In parts, it seemed to drag on a bit (may have more to do with my jetlag than the novel – however I digress).

    Overall I found the characters and plot quite interesting. Historical fiction is not my favourite genre but it is quite informative in part and looks at things that I personally have little/no knowledge of.

    A book that probably wont set the world on fire, but a nice way to pass the time if historical fiction is your thing 🙂

    Thanks for the opportunity to review.

  22. While this book is of a genre I wouldn’t normally read I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so.Through the first stage of the book (post war) I was really intrigued and involved in the story to the point I couldnt put the book down but by the half way mark (the war years in Germany) I was ready to stop reading completely as the plot and description/explanation became quite difficult in plarts to understand or I had to focus to the point of being in ”study” mode. Don’t let that comment scare you off as once the indepth descriptions of the characters roles became easier to follow the book became an enjoyable and unexpectedly gripping end. Good threads of romance and intrigue spread throughout the book and one I would definately reccomend for this type of plot or a first time Joy Chambers reader (such as myself).

  23. Absolutely thrilling. A great story line with strong, interesting characters. Obviously a tremendous amount of research went into weaving this story around historical facts. This was so skilfully achieved I had to keep reminding myself the story was fiction.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this well written novel from begining to end. Although this is the first book I have read by this author it certainly won’t be my last.

    Thank you for the opportunity to review “The Great Deception”.

  24. The Great Deception, Joy Chambers.

    Imagine waking in the middle of the night to find your husband has disappeard, leaving only a brief note saying,
    “Darling Shell,
    Please understand I have to leave. I’ll come back, no matter how long. Trust me, sweetheart.
    Cole.”
    Shelley Wareing looks for answers but finds more questions than answers in a hidden trunk when she finds a silver ring which she thinks could be a Nazi SS ring and medals, including an Iron Cross with a certificate awarded to a Major in the German SS called Lucien Bayer. In addition, there are two sepia photographs, one being of “one of the most beautiful and striking women Shelley had ever seen…..” What does all this have to do with Shelley’s husband, Cole Wareing?

    So begins what looked to be an intriguing novel. The beginning is excellent, the ending satisfactory, but unfortunately for me, the middle became tedious. The book is well written, excellently researched throughout the period of World War 11 especially from the German perspective with the horrors that took place, particularly in Holland, but it lost its impact for me with the length of the middle section. I’m not sure how much, if any, could have been left out but the length of the book with so much detail meant, for me, that the promise of the book’s beginning didn’t eventuate.

    Cole was escaping from his former best friend who is intent on killing him, believing Cole had become a Double Agent, no longer working as a British Agent but had indeed become a traitor. Nothing could have been further from the truth but Cole needs to return to England in the hope that he can set the record straight. We then have the detailed account of the time Cole “became” Lucien Bayer, interwoven with the experiences of the friends who are now trying to kill Cole. Essential to the story is the relationship of Cole and his friend Tudor with the beautiful woman in the photograph – Laetitea de Witt, who is a patriot, living on her wits and initially prepared to do anything to maintain the life style she wants which is so much more comfortable than the Dutch people she lives amongst.

    Shelley sets off on her own quest to find the woman in the photograph, believing she holds the answers to Cole’s life as Lucien Bayer, something Shelley knows nothing about.

    I decided half way through this book that I like my reading to be inspirational. Unfortunately this book wasn’t inspirational, at least for me. I can accept and value the well written content and the impeccable research but I couldn’t get away from the way the excellent use of tension eventually became tedious.

    Please don’t let me put you off reading this novel, especially if you are a history buff and/or interested in historical fiction or the personal histories from the Second World War. Unfortunately this isn’t going to remain with me as one of the great books I’ve read. Some may beg to differ.

  25. Well I found The Great Deception by Joy Chambers to be an absolutely enthralling read and despite being such a large book I managed to finish it over a weekend. It was one of those novels that you put down and a few minutes later decide to go read some more.
    The main characters Shelley and Cole were both intriguing and complex whislt still being relatable.Set during World War 2 Joy Chambers did a wondeful job of researching the era and subjects she writes about.
    Shelley wakes up to find her husband Cole gone with only a note left and then discovers a photo of a beautiful mystery woman .The woman is Laetitia de Witt who we later find out that Cole has gone to find all interweaved in a story about a life that Cole lived that was kept a secret during the War . Shelley sets off to find Laetitia determined to uncover the truth and finds mant twists and turns along the way.
    Overall a very enjoyable read especially for those who enjoy historical fiction , it was very well researched and the characters both complex and intriguing at the same time . Not a book for everyone but I enjoyed it none the less .
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for allowing me to be introduced to a book which I may not have picked to read otherwise .

  26. I have just finished this novel and found it a little boring in some parts and was hard to get into, but overall an intriguing read….I think the history side just doesn’t grab me yet…but the characters were well written, I think she is a good author though…thanks for the opportunity Beauty & Lace….:)

  27. Firstly, thank you Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read and review this book.

    I have just finished The Great Deception and as a whole I found it to be an enjoyable book with an interesting and captivating storyline, with a combination of history, intrigue, military, mystery and not to forget romance.

    The characters were all very well written and thought out, and Joy Cambers has obviously done a lot of research on the time period while writing this book, which makes it very authentic and believable
    The book is very easy to read, and I really liked that while it is a large novel with a staggering 464 pages, it is made up of very short chapters.

    The first chapters intrigued me with secrets which kept me wanting to read, however, once I got to the middle section of the book, which concentrated on the war, I found that it dragged on more than I liked, and at one point I was close to simply putting it away and not reading the rest. But I persisted and eventually finished the book.

    All in all it was an enjoyable book, but I would have enjoyed it more if it had been a bit shorter and more concise in the war part of the book. If you like historical fiction, then I highly recommend that you read this book.

    Thanks again Beauty & Lace for letting me read this book.

  28. Well I have finished the book and would describe it as a great summer read, one which requires little actual work but which is very entertaining. It is flawed with inconsistancies and in some cases far fetched notions however if you dont take it too seriously it is a gripping book which leaves you hesitant to put the book down.

    At times the book tends to repeat itself, reiterating the good looking charactors a few times and outlining the general plot (almost like it was written for a mini series for TV) which was tiresome to reread. The plot itself flowed well and kept you reading even when interest waned slightly (this occured, for me, twice – the first time around 1/4 throughout the book, and the second about 3/4).

    The ending whilst was gripping in that it encouraged you to stay up far later than you wanted to inorder to finish the book and find out what actually happened was a little too neat and polishing. A bit too much like Speilbergs movies where everyone lives happily in the end. In life this rarely happens.

    Throughout the whole book I have to admit I kept waiting for the ‘Great Deception’ not realising that the whole plot was ‘The Great Deception’. I had hoped that there would have been a ground braking twist to the story in the end but alas it was not to be.

    Overall, a good summer read which should be enjoyed for the story telling but leave on your rose coloured glasses.

  29. If you have a penchant for romance and wartime stories then this is your book! I think you’d love it. I found it personally fascinating as my grandparents (with their children – one of which was my mum) escaped from Europe by coming to Australia back it that war-torn time. No romance there for them at all – it was harsh and real from the stories my grandmother had told. So this a book that can be read with a delicious fictitious fairytale mindset – even though the timing of the setting is in that incredibly awful time in history. If you like surprises in a story you would like this book I think!

  30. I found this story to be engaging, but the intricate detail and extensive facts at time took away from the plot itself.

    Although the descriptive writing style painted beautiful imagery to the reader – as if you were there yourself – I found some of the ware related facts a little too dry.

    Not a genre I would have usually chosen for myself but an interesting and educational red nonetheless!

  31. The Great Deception is a wonderful story of love, lust, betrayal, honour, faith, hope and the war.
    The love story between Shelly, Cole/Lucien, Laetitia and Dirk was lovely and warm, romantic.
    It was quite interesting how it spanned many countries and going from Shelly’s story to Cole’s was quite well written.
    The female characters are strong independant women who only want the best for the men in their lives.
    The war part was descriptive and well presented and backed up with many facts and notations about some in the back.
    The war story was quite indepth and alot of research has gone into the time and characters in the story. I did find it a bit too much to read but still it was interesting and in keeping with the story. It had let show you the two sides of the one person.
    It was a book that I’m glad I’ve read but I doubt I would ever read it again.

  32. Generally I love to read stories of the war and especially a story like this would normally catch my attention with romance caught up in mystery and suspense. Unfortunately I kept putting off picking the book up again after I had gotten through the first few chapters. The book wasn’t grabbing my attention like I had hoped it would

    I did enjoy the first few chapters imaging the farm Shell and Cole had in Bowral although when Cole mysteriously disappears and Shell seems to put two and two together in an instant it just seemed a bit beyond what I could believe.

    All of the war chapters seemed to drag out and I found I was skipping paragraphs when I couldn’t see where it was going and I was looking for something interesting to jump out at me.

    All in all I definitely think it was a well written book in regards to the facts and research put into it but unfortunately the storyline just was not for me.

  33. I truly loved the Great Deception I generally avoid war time stories thinking they might be too depressing but this story is enchanting, intriguing and very entertaining.

    I found Cole to be a very interesting unique character at first thinking that he might be a shady character then when he was undercover I was genuinely scared hoping he wouldn’t be uncovered.

    I loved the attention to historical detail which added to the drama and enjoyed the touch of romance.
    Besides Cole I enjoyed the strong women in his life who never took a back seat in the story.

    I will be recommending the book to family and friends ..thank you for the opportunity to review I really enjoyed it 🙂

  34. The Great Deception takes you on a journey back in time to World War II to try and unravel the tangled web. You need to establish exactly who Cole is and work out if he is a trustworthy person or not.
    I felt a connection to Shelly who was fighting hard to hold on to her marriage and relationship with a man who seemed to be a very confusing person to try and understand.
    This is a book with a lot of mystery and romance.

    I enjoyed this book but found it a little tough going in parts as I found my mind had wandered so i had to go back and reread parts to understand what I was reading.
    Parts I found very easy to read and for some reason other parts I struggled with and Im not really sure why that was.

    On a star rating I would give this book a 4 out of 5.

  35. This certainly is a novel of epic proportions. I loved the beginning of the story, particularly reading about the life of our couple in rural Australia. However despite the apparent ease of their lifestyle the author managed to create an unsettling feeling. It wasn’t long before a crisis occurred and we were swept across to war-time Europe, which was the setting for the majority of the book.
    The historical research that went into this book was obviously thorough, though I did feel a little bogged down in it at times. I had never thought about the possibility that Australian soldiers could have been ‘under cover’ in Europe during the Second World War – so often we only think about soldiers fighting in the jungles of Borneo and the deserts of Egypt, so this aspect of the book was enlightening and thought-provoking for me.
    I enjoyed the portrayal of Shelly. Although she had an innocent and somewhat naive demeanor at the beginning of the story, her inner strength and character developed as her journey continued, and so she became more real and interesting to the reader.
    The ending was perhaps a little too neat and tidy, and almost seemed a little abrupt to me after the extraordinary detail throughout the majority of the volume. It was an interesting read, though at no time did I feel truly captivated by it.

  36. I’d have to say that I very much agree with Karin’s comments! Although I enjoyed the novel and have stayed up late for several nights reading, I found many parts of the novel just too far-fetched to accept! Yes, there are plenty of elements of historical fact incorporated into the plot, but there are other aspects that I reall yhad to question. I also found much of the dialogue very contrived – it seemed the author was trying to provide some crucial background detail, but it was not subtle enough.

    Those criticisms aside, it was a nice straightforward read, one that I would probably pass onto to my Mum who likes a bit of historical fiction, but it’s certainly nothing I would rave about!

  37. Well….I FINALLY finished the book. I didn’t want to write my review of the book until I had read the entire story.
    It took me so long to read because I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t enjoy reading the massive section that was set in Germany, I found that the story didn’t ring true for me and although the author did have footnotes on certain people, places etc….it proved nothing at all to me, except that Joy could use Wikipedia.
    One thing that annoyed me was the way Joy wrote, I couldn’t see why she continued to use ja, gut, and jawohl, when the rest was written in English, I would’ve preferred the entire thing in English instead of chopping and changing. I found Joy’s writing disjointed.
    And if this Cole Wareing was a ‘secret operative’ he would’ve gone in to this whole thing completely up-to-scratch with every bit of information regarding Bayer, he was supposed to be this deadly killing machine, extremely smart and yet he was clueless to important gatherings that Bayer had been to and his old acquaintances…I mean if I was going to impersonate a high ranking officer in the SS during the War, I would make sure I knew EVERYTHING about him, it’d be foolproof. Cole was an idiot. And the Germans knew deep down because his whole demeanour had changed, he was nothing like he used to be, people don’t change that much!
    And then with his so called friends Dirk, Mako and Felix, who had been his ‘brothers’ in arms in other instances, turned on him…just like that, with no real proof. That doesn’t exacty shout loyalty or brotherhood. Surely they would of allowed Cole to have his say before wanting to kill him.
    I found Shelley annoying and her Mum…OMG, she was worse.
    Letta was the only OK part of the story that I enjoyed reading about, she was tough and ballsy and a very strong, independant woman for those times. And I was very disappointed at the end when she died before Cole arrived…and then to find that she had had Tudor’s baby…uugghhh, I didn’t see the point in adding that bit of information.
    I could not stand the language of the entire story. Here’s Cole, in the middle of Nazi territory during the War, impersonating an SS Officer and he never swears once…instead he’s like. “Gosh, gee”. I don’t think he even said “damn or hell”. For example..this from the last page;
    “But it’s you I want for all time, Shell. You’re the one I want and need for all time”.
    “Oh heaven, Cole, then can we go home? Home to Apple Gate?”
    “God Shell, yes,we can. Just you and me, that’s what I need.”

    Are you kidding me?? Seriously. This woman just travelled by boat, train, bus, taxi, walking, across the other side of the World chasing Cole and tring to find out his secrets and this is how it ends.

    Even the other so called ‘killing machines’ Tudor, Mako and Felix were ridiculous in their language. During the apology;

    Mako – “Ah, please accept our apology, we made a terrible blunder.”
    Felix – “Gosh yeah, Cole, we regret this bloody awful mistake…”
    Cole says he accepts their (weak) apologies and someone replies;
    “Heck, thanks, Cole.”

    Heck, gosh, blunder…………………Who are you kidding Joy Chambers, nobody talks like this, especially not rugged killing machines that have been in the middle of the War, almost blown to smithereens and kept as prisoners?

    To say I really disliked this book is an understatement. I’m sorry but I’ve never read anything so bad!

    1. At last someone who agrees with me. Badly written, stilted dialogue, abounds in grammatical errors and a truly appalling ending.

      1. I feel a bit bad for being so blunt and harsh but it really frustrated me. Especially after I watched Joy Chambers on ACA the other week spruiking this book and stating that this ‘is my best yet’….if this is the case I would hate to read her other books.

  38. I’m going to say straight-up that I didn’t particularly enjoy this book – the premise sounded great, and I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, particularly war-based novels, but the premise was pretty much the only good thing about it. The characters were entirely one-dimensional, not at all endearing, and as forced as the dialogue and action. What seemed at first to be a really excellent idea for a book has pretty much been diluted by cliches and daytime soapie-level overdramatics.

    The plot had me vaguely interested enough to keep reading for a while, but most of the big questions were solved in the first few chapters, and I found that I didn’t really care to hear about all the specifics. Adjectives are scattered like weeds throughout the prose, making the narration seem just as forced as the unnatural dialogue. There was also an irksome amount of description on the protagonists’ attractiveness, which just seems unnecessary and further turns them from characters to cliches.

    Overall, romance novel readers might enjoy this, but it was definitely a pretty weak attempt to edge into the suspense/thriller genre that completely failed, in both plot and execution. I don’t recommend it.

  39. I was dissapointed with this book unfortunately. I have not been able to finish it, I have gotten 1/4 of the way through and struggled reading that much! I found it too difficult to get into, it seemed like one of my husband’s war books and did not spark my interest as first thought from reading the intro. Sorry to say I am at a loss with this one 🙁

  40. Thank you for the chance to read a novel unlike one I have ever read before. This would not be my choice of genre, so I found the writing of a different time interesting.

    Most of us got hooked by the mystery at the start – wanting to know what happened to Cole during the war and why his former friends were after him.
    Pretty soon we were in WWII finding out the story. Much has already been written about the story, but I will say some parts were heavy going with a lot of dark content, although luckily the chapters were short which made it easier. This section seemed to go on for a long time – I can partly understand this as it was the main information part of the story, but in relation to the ending I think it was a bit much.
    The ending was too brief after all the other information we received, and thought this about the end of the mission too. Large parts seemed to be skipped over when we were told everything prior to this. Maybe this should all have been kept at an even level throughout the book. The ending was nice, which in itself was weird after the tone of the rest of the book. I would have liked this consistent as well.

    Having said all that, overall I did enjoy the book – and now feel I have a bit more of a visual image of the war due to Joy’s descriptions. This is definitely one I will be recommending for readers of historical fiction.

  41. I recently read the great deception over a course of the week and found it to be a pleasent and an easy book to read. Its not normally the type of book i would read (i prefer crime and mystery) but I found myself enjoying it.
    It wasnt a difficult story to follow but I do think it lacked some direction and the plot was a bit week.
    The author must have done a great deal of research as the book has a lot of little details which i found interesting.
    Overall a nice read.

  42. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for another great book to review for book club. I loved the story and the history side of the book, but I did feel like it was longer than what it could have been.
    The writer did take me to the second world war and gave me a feel for the time and what horrid things were done, and the scarring that it left a lot of the soldiers with emotionally and physically. It showed me a depth of the characters which I really like in a book.
    I always love a neatly tied up ending and that is what I got here, so I would recommend the book to anyone that likes a bit of a story and a bit of history.

  43. Hi All, I enjoyed “The Great Deception”. It was an easy read and I felt immersed with the characters and plot fairly quickly. I do enjoy historical/ romantic fiction so the great deception was right up my alley. I Liked that Australia was used within the story settings with Shelly coming from Ipswich – which is only 20 minutes from my home, as well as taking us abroad. I enjoyed the portrayal of friendships that developed – between Cole and Shelly, Cole and Dirk , Shelly and Yvonne, both Cole and Dirk with Laetitia; and how these characters were supported or challenged within these relationships. The ending did surprise me and I was happy that all the characters storylines were concluded.
    Again I enjoyed the story and will be lending out to many of my friends. Thanks again for the opportunity Beauty and Lace.

  44. I Have just finished reading The Great Deception, I thought it was an interesting and exciting book to me, iI found when i put it down i could not wait to pick it up again to see what was going to happen, the idea of the whole story worked well with a bit of History mixed in, i always like a War Time Love Affair. I was waiting for a twist at the end so when it didn’t come i was bit dissapointed. So overall it was a good exciting read, and i thought Joy Chambers is a good Writer, i will be looking forward to her next book and i would recommend it to any one.

  45. I really enjoyed reading Joy Chambers “The Great Deception”. I normally read fantasy, science fiction or authors like Bryce Courtenay and Wilbur Smith. I generally do not go for “war stories” at all (more my Mum’s area!!). But I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. There was no dilly dallying around, the author just got right into the story straight away. Excellent! I did find that after getting right into the book, the ending was a bit abrupt, so I found that tht was the only letdown for me. Also, being a QLDer, I really liked the Ipswich setting. Not often you get places like that in a book!! This is a book I would recommend for all ages and for all readers. A good read, enjoyable and riveting. Thanks Beauty and Lace for letting me have a good read and being able to participate 😀

  46. I have just finished reading “The Great Deception” and really loved reading it. Once I got into the story and the characters I could not put it down and told many about this great book I was reading. I have always enjoyed Joy Chambers books and for me I love her writing style.

  47. I have not quite finished reading the Great Deception…. it has been a little hard. I am an avid reader I just found it hard to “get into it” the story line is great it is just not keeping my attention. I think the setting and how it is described is done well in the first part of the book but the last part of the book left me wanting as the story progressed. The book did not focus particularly on either the love story or the war but seemed split between the two storylines without ever complementing each other. I thank you for the opportunity to have read this book. I will endeavour to read another book by Joy Chambers so that I can fully make my mind up on her style of writing.

  48. I would like to thank Beauty and Lace for the chance to read and review this novel.
    Overall I did like the book and the way in which is was written. However I found myself wanting to skim through parts. I just wanted it to get the to good bits – I found alot was drawn out.
    Some parts made me feel a bit ill (the detail of the executions).
    I feel Joy Chambers put a great deal of research into writing this book so all in all a good read. I give it a 3/5.

  49. Sorry about the delay as I had to go overseas for a funeral so took Great Deceptions with me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with it starting off in Queensland and back tracking to 1943 to Hitlers involvement in Europe. People today don’t realise how lucky we are not to be living through WW2.
    The story starts off with Cole & Shelly a newly married couple living in Ipswich Queensland, then 3 of Coles former colleagues Tudor, Felix & Mako trying to catch up with him for things that happened when all 4 of them were working undercover for the British in Holland.
    During the war Cole takes on the identity of Lucien Bayer, an SS Officer & sees some of the horrors of Dutch Jews being transported away to their deaths plus he really hated acting a German SS Officer. He then meets Laetitia & doesn’t know whether he can trust her but they fall in love over a period of time. Lots of actual facts & very detailed items of the war were written with short chapters so you could take a break.
    This book kept me entranced as I wanted to know what really happened & was a little disappointed at Laetitia “dying” for the second time, the first being when she shot herself in the head with Cole arriving minutes later finding blood coming from her mouth & no pulse. I really was expecting Cole to have seen Laetitia before she died in 1947 so they could have had the time to talk about what happened in 1943.
    All is forgiven in the end with Tudor, Felix & Mako arriving within days of Laetitia’s death so the truth & apologies could be told to Cole when he arrived days later.
    Yes I was a little disappointed with the outcome of the ending but Shelly’s great love of her husband Cole came through.
    Thank you Beauty & Lace for choosing me to review this wonderful book. Hubby has just started reading it.

  50. Sorry for the delay but my computer decided to pack it in,which gave me a chance to reread The Great Deception.
    I’m not a big fan of romance or war novels,but i felt they were put togerther nicely. Most novels are total fiction,but i loved the way it had facts sprinkled throughout.I honestly thought that Cole would leave Shelly for Laetitia once he found her and hoped that she wouldn’t want him back after the years had passed.
    There were parts i thought that didn’t really need to be included but i’m sure others loved the additions.There’s a few twist and turns i never saw coming and they added to the intrigue. I found myself sitting up into the early hours of the morning to “just finish this chapter” to see how things would go.I usually fell asleep 3 or 4 chapters later.
    I don’t want to give the storyline away as i believe you’ll enjoy it more this way.
    I think fans of Belinda Alexandra will enjoy The Great Deception.I know i haven’t said much about the novel,but like i said,i don’t want to give too much away.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for choosing me to review The Great Deception. It now sits on my shelf alongside my Belinda Alexandra collection.

  51. I found this to be a very easy to read novel, the short chapters meant i never felt too lost if i had to put it down for awhile.
    I typically am not a big fan of ‘Aussie’ books, so i enjoyed the fact that although the beginning chapters are set in Australia, it wasn’t too overwhelming in all the little details of ‘outback life’, and it soon changed setting to WW1 in Europe. I have read several fantastic novels set in WW1 so it was interesting to read about it from this different perspective and i appreciated the research that Joy Chambers has obviously undertaken to achieve this.
    At heart a romance, this story had just enough intrigue to keep me interested and to prevent it from being just another romance novel.
    I don’t want to give too much away story wise, and there are numerous blurbs found easily by searching for the book, but i did find that the ending tied things up just a little bit TOO neatly.

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