Before she mastered the art of French cooking in midlife, Julia Child found herself working in the secrets trade in World War II Asia, a journey that reveals how the war made her into the icon we know now.
The Secret War of Julia Child by Diana R. Chambers

Single, 6 foot 2, and thirty years old, Julia McWilliams found a job at America’s first espionage agency, years before cooking or Paris entered the picture. The Secret War of Julia Child traces Julia’s transformation from ambitious Pasadena blue blood to Washington, DC, file clerk, to head of General “Wild Bill” Donovan’s Registry of secret files inside the Office of Strategic Services.

The wartime journey takes her to the remote front lines of then-Ceylon, India, and China, where she finds purpose, adventure, self-knowledge—and love with mapmaker Paul Child. Not only do we see Julia’s origin story, but also the “Forgotten War” in Asia, where themes of empire and colonialism enrich the story, and deepen Julia’s perceptions of international culture. The spotlight has rarely shone on this fascinating period in the life of “I was only a file clerk” Julia Child, and this lyrical story allows us to explore the unlikely world of a woman in a WWII spy station who has no idea of her eventual impact.

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK:

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE SECRET WAR OF JULIA CHILD

“An exciting, little-known reveal of the story behind Julia Child’s WWII service, showing her resilience and bravery in the spy world as well as giving fascinating insights into the war being waged in Asia. A must read.”
—Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author

“A compelling story with an unexpected (and thoroughly delightful) heroine—Julia Child, who served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the precursor to the CIA) during World War II. Chambers paints a vivid portrait of the tall, awkward Julia, who volunteers for a post in India, becomes involved in secret intelligence cases across Southeast Asia and China, and meets her future husband Paul Child. With riveting twists and turns, the novel’s not only a vivid exploration of a lesser-known chapter in the life of one of America’s most beloved personalities, it’s also an impeccably researched roller-coaster ride, with spies, danger, deception, heroics, and romance.”

—Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author


The Secret War of Julia Child
Map
MORE ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE SECRET WAR OF JULIA CHILD

“At turns charming, funny, and inspiring, The Secret War of Julia Child is a vividly written and deeply imaginative new take on World War II. By letting us see this historic moment through the eyes of a beloved American icon, Chambers beautifully captures the spirit of the women of the greatest generation.”
—Dr. Lena Andrews, bestselling author of Valiant Women: The Extraordinary American Servicewomen Who Helped Win World War II

“In this gripping novel, a young and intrepid Julia Child tumbles headlong into espionage and romance in World War II Asia. Author Diana R. Chambers merges little-known details from Child’s personal history with true wartime events to build a dynamic story. More, please!”
—Sujata Massey, award-winning author of The Mistress of Bhatia House

“In these pages I was thrilled to discover a Julia who claimed her own strength and conviction before the world defined who she was…Set in the smoldering days of WWII, this novel has everything I love—romance, intrigue, mouthwatering food, and a woman who makes no apologies for her voracious appetite for life!”
—Kim Fay, bestselling author of Love & Saffron

“Full of intrigue and romance, The Secret War of Julia Child is a fascinating glimpse into the early life of one of America’s most beloved celebrities. Perfect for fans of this complex, compelling woman.”
—Julia Bryan Thomas, author of The Kennedy Girl and The Radcliffe Ladies’ Reading Club

“Before there was a Julia Child, there was a Miss McWilliams. She spent much of World War II in then-Ceylon, India and China, working for the OSS…Julia McWilliams called herself a simple file clerk, but in truth, she lived and worked in situations steamy not just with heat, but with deceit, teeming with international spies and lies, wartime intrigue in which many lives were at stake. Diana Chambers’ lively novel imagines fresh dimensions to Julia’s life, her adventures, and her love affair with the serious, confident Paul Child. Chambers’ impressive research informs this engaging novel—and yes, the food is spectacular!”
—Laura Kalpakian, award-winning author of American Cookery

“…Chambers’s gripping novel unveils another dimension to Julia. In this fictionalized account of Child’s real-life work with OSS during World War II, Chambers humanizes Julia and manages to make her even more remarkable. You’ll fall in love with Julia all over again, and with this tantalizing novel.”

—Nina Schuyler, award-winning author of Afterword and This Ravishing World

BOOK GROUPS!

If you would like Diana to visit your book group, either in person or via Zoom, please contact her.

READ MORE ABOUT DIANA’S BOOKS