Ike and Kay written by James MacManus, publisher Duckworth, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover, audiobook, audio CD and paperback format.
To buy link: https://amzn.to/33L37lt
Acclaimed author and managing director of The Times Literary Supplement, James MacManus, creates a compelling historical novel that brings to life an unbelievable but true love story set during the Second World War. In 1942, Cork-born Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is tasked with driving General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair takes an immediate liking to one another and he gifts Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates. So begins a tumultuous relationship that against all military regulation sees Kay travelling with Eisenhower on missions to far flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany. She becomes known as “Ike’s shadow” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with ‘Ireland’. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay US citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer when he returns to America. When the US authorities discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce from his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…
I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting James MacManus latest novel: Ike and Kay. Ike and Kay is my first introduction to the work of James MacManus and I was drawn to this novel as I am fascinated with stories set around the world wars, I love to read about how the wars impacted on people’s lives. Ike and Kay is a slightly different wartime novel I have previously read, this is a story based around the lives of the personnel directly involved in the war. Ike and Kay is a fictional story based loosely on facts regarding the life of General ‘Ike’ Eisenhower and that of his driver Kay Summersby.
The story starts in 1942 when Kay Summersby is assigned to be the driver of General ‘Ike’ Eisenhower during his first military visit to London. Kay is a people person and soon learns what Ike needs to stay focused with his job and what he also needs to wind down after many difficult days. Kay has achieved what many of his trusted staff haven’t, she’s got into his head and found in Ike a man that on the surface is a sort of an enigma but she picks out little things in Ike’s mannerisms and loves and expands on these making small comforts in a life that would face many difficulties with the war that continued for many years. Kay and Ike’s relationship was to become like a well-oiled cog in a wheel and Kay was forever by his side travelling with him to many different war zones around the globe.
Ike Eisenhower was travelling up the ranks of the US Army rapidly with his involvement with the war efforts. His wife of over 20 years was left at home in the US and only had his letters, an occasional short stay visit and the gossip columns in the State press to keep her up-to-date with Ike’s progress. The continuing presence of the female driver, Kay Summersby, was to cause much speculation in the press and both women in Ike’s life were to become anxious for their future with Ike. But did anyone truly know Ike Eisenhower? There were many sides to Eisenhower and neither his wife or Kay could truly know the real Ike.
Ike Eisenhower soon felt at home in London with Kay foreseeing to his comforts both at work and during time at rest. Ike soon became to rely on Kay and it felt like an obsession with him, like he felt he couldn’t perform his duties without her by his side. Ike’s friendship with his driver soon became a cause for concern for the military on both the British and American sides.
I was captivated by this story, a story predominantly about an unlikely friendship between two people who had found comfort during very difficult times. There was a poignancy and tragedy about the love that blossomed, at times it felt like they were living in their own bubble but once the war was over and a different reality set in their lives were no longer in their control and paths they’d dreamed about were blocked. I also found the novel interesting to learn about the tactical side of the war efforts. I appreciated the great research the author undertook with this novel, I didn’t know much about Eisenhower and following reading this story I am keen to learn more about him.
About the Author
James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. After studying at St Andrews University he began his career in journalism at the Daily Express in Manchester. Joining The Guardian in 1972, he later became Paris, and then Africa and Middle East Correspondent. He is the author of several novels including On the Broken Shore, Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin. James MacManus has three children and lives in Dulwich, London.