Where do I even begin? Honestly, I loved this book along with the preceding one, Shadows on the Sea. It was very informative about life during WW2 as well as the aftermath in later chapters of the book. Wendy definitely endured a lot more than Jill. So the first book was more of like a foreshadowing to the *actual* main character. That's how I see it. The story didn't really go anywhere with Jill, apart from the last 50~ pages of the book. But even then, it did not really add up.
To summarize book 1: The girl, Jill, finds a hidden submarine, hides, calls police, but nothing happens because the submarine escaped. Mostly gossip around Winter Haven. And Nana's secret turns out to be.. well.. not all that confidential. It has you expecting something EPIC but Nana's secret is a total let-down. You're better off skipping to the end pages of the book to skip all that unnecessary suspense. However, despite this, I still very much enjoyed the story and how it was inspired by the author's own personal life, because Joan Hiatt Harlow (the author) experienced WW2... and it's so cool hearing her story.
To Summarize book 2: In comparison to Jill's story, Wendy's involved active warfare, imprisonment, spies, and refugees for instance. There was a lot at stake. Berlin was way more intense than peaceful and cottagey Maine. I thought Wendy's relationship with her mother was intangible to describe. It was very.. complicated? To say the least. Wendy bounces back and forth from loving her mom to hating her mom etc. Wendy keeps a lot of secrets from Adrie (mom) because her mom a) works for a spy organization & b) very short-tempered. Because of this, this convinces a 15yo girl to take drastic measures and travel all the way to Sweden with a bunch of trusted strangers. Fast forward and now you have 19yo Wendy, who's identity is a complete mess (is she Jewish, German, American or all 3? Hard to say.). My only major critique is that Wendy did not meet up with Jill again, at least directly. I was very surprised that very little was mentioned about Jill. Although numerous times Wendy says Jill is her friend, I am not entirely convinced this is the case. Finally, I'm really confused about Barret.
Again, DESPITE THIS, this couple-series is still GREAT. I was more or less nitpicking. I highly encourage reader to acknowledge the author's afterword. I may check out more of Joan's books but by far I consider Shadows on the Sea & The Watcher to be the best... this is the only series-type Joan has written, which tells you a lot about how much her readers loved the books!