Book review: Early One Morning by Robert Ryan


Early One Morning: A NovelEarly One Morning: A Novel by Robert Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This book is based on a true story three main characters: William Grover-Williams, a former driver for Sir William Orpen, Robert Benoist, a French Grand Prix motor racing driver, and Jean-Pierre Wimille, Benoist’s partner as a motor racing driver as well.


William Grover-Williams at the 1931 Grand Prix de Belgique

Together with Williams, they worked as special agents for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France.


Robert Benoist at the 1927 French Grand Prix

Both Williams and Robert fall in love with Eve Aubicq.

The author brilliantly describes the between wars period in France through the Grand Prix racetracks, showing the beginning of the 20’s decadence in Paris. Some historical personages are also mentioned into the narrative, such as Charles Chaplin and Maurice Chevalier.

The plot describes very well the underground work performed by the members of the Resistance, how they faced while captured by the Nazis and how they were betrayed to the Germans.

By using the flashback technique, moving the narrative back and forward to the present days, the author tries to elucidate the cause of the deaths of Williams and Benoist. Not all authors managed to use this technique without loosing track of the main plot. This was not the case with Robert Ryan.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read on the French Resistance. Since this is the first book the Morning, Noon and Night series, I am planning to read its sequel, The Blue Noon.

Another two interesting books to be read on this subject:

A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm

Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. I absolutely loved the movie made based on this book.

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