Editorial Reviews

Lindsey Kafonek, Panama City News Herald

“Present day Grayton Beach, a quaint village on the sugary sands of the Florida Gulf Coast, is taken back to the WWII era in this action packed novel. Harvey convincingly weaves together a thrilling tale of espionage and Southern romance, bringing the reader’s imagination to life with lucid historical detail.”

Tracy Louthain, Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council

“A war story for the men and a love story for the ladies, Grayton Beach Affair combines the action and suspense of war with the passion and romance of a beautiful love story in one compelling novel. Harvey does an exceptional job of painting a vivid picture of the Southeast U.S. in the 1940’s. From the sleepy seaside town of Grayton Beach to locales throughout Atlanta, it is easy to visualize the setting for this unexpected story of action and romance during WWII.”

The Thirty-A-Review Magazine

“It is refreshing to see a beloved place like Grayton Beach portrayed in a work of fiction. It provides both a historical and cultural context of the area as well as giving the reader a sense of time and place in parallel to one of the most significant World Wars in history.”

Personal Reviews

SHANNON PEARCY: BOOKS DEVOURED Moms fried chicken, mashed potatoes, speckled butter beans and desert with caramel sauce. It doesn’t get any better than this!

What Did I Think?  I think I am in Love with Christian, the main character in Grayton Beach Affair.  It happened so quickly I was not even aware until I realized that I was almost at the end of the book and would have to let him go.  Christian is German but was raised in America and even graduated from Georgia Tech.  After World War I though, Germans in America faced discrimination and he and his parents were no exception.  After his parents died he decided to go back to Germany and start a new life for himself.  A German man who speaks english with no accent and can pass as American was very valuable to Germany during World War II.  Christian has no choice but to enter the war effort on Germanys behalf.
Maggie is a woman who loses her fiancee in the attack on Pearl Harbor. She flees to Grayton Beach, Florida to try and get herself back together, but her situation gets worse before it gets better.  Much worse.  She meets another man named John Logan and he is up to no good.  I have to admit that I loved Maggie too, in a way.  I admired her bravery, her strength and her attitude.  I think that she is a woman who is not going to play a victim. She is content to be her own hero if she can. There are some squirm worthy things that happen and I wanted to cheer for Maggie when she did things I wish were legal, but they most decidedly were not. 
This is one of those books that I want to sit down with you, have a cup of coffee and tell you every amazing detail.  I don’t want to ruin the story for you though, because it was amazing.  Christians mission brings him to Grayton Beach and Maggie is there trying to find her way back to happy.  Those two people end up needing each other in so many ways.  I thought that I was going to be reading a story about war and devastation. Instead I am quite sure I read a love story that also happened to take place during a war. 
I read this book in one sitting.  I don’t mean over the course of a day, I mean I sat on my bed and started page 1 and did nothing else until I finished page 314.  I can not promise it will be like this for everybody. There was some rated R content, this one is adults only.  I really enjoyed the parts that were about the war, there were not overly long explanations of the specs of WWII aircraft or anything like that.  The story stays focused on Christian and Maggie.  I wish that I had copies to give away because I assure you that I can not part with mine.  I know that I am going to read this again one day and love it just as much as the first time.
I urge you to give this one a chance! I know it seems a bit outside of the books that are normally on the blogs, but this is at its heart a love story.  This book makes me wish I were a better writer so that I had the words to convince you to buy this book!  

Beautiful historical and romantic novel-Flawless! By  JollyBuzz “JollyBuzz”

Chances are, you’ve never heard of James Harvey and his fascinating novel, Grayton Beach Affair, but I aim to change that. While on vacation in Seaside, Florida this year, I stopped into Sundog Books to pick up a birthday card. I noticed a sign saying that author James Harvey was signing books on the front porch, so I decided to check it out. After reading the following description of the book, I was hooked:
Returning to Berlin after being educated but disenchanted with America, Christian Wolfe finds that he and Germany are on a collision course with destiny. Because of his skills in English and knowledge of America, he is coerced by the German military to board a U-boat bound for the Gulf of Mexico to locate and extract a high level German officer imprisoned in a POW camp near the coast. Christian’s mission runs smoothly until he witnesses an unusual and violent act by Maggie Neal, a young woman living in Grayton Beach, against a man who had taken advantage of her and her servant. Suddenly their lives collide, resulting in a death and involvement with the local police. He and Maggie discover they need each other to survive. Sparks fly and they have a brief and passionate affair, leaving each with deep but unsettled feelings for the other. Upon returning to France, Christian relies on his instincts when an opportunity arises to reconsider his future. He joins the French Resistance and when he saves an American flyer who offers him a new start in America after the war is over, he seizes it. Arriving in Atlanta, he is determined to find Maggie, but with their relationship founded on death and deception, could they possibly build a future together?
I purchased the book and went to meet the author. He is a delightful man who got his start from humble beginnings in South Alabama and went on to have both a career at IBM and a career in real estate development and brokerage in Atlanta. In 2007, he began writing Grayton Beach Affair. Always intrigued by stories of German U boats who roamed the waters off the east coast of the US during WWII, he did extensive research in preparation for the book. He told me that he originally planned to write a book that would appeal primarily to a male audience, but as the story progressed, the strong female character, Maggie, led the story down a road filled with romance, betrayal, and death.
As I prepared to read the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am happy to report that this is one of the best books I’ve read in years. Mr. Harvey has managed to write a novel full of beautiful imagery and complex characters. I immediately related to Maggie. She is a strong, independent Southern woman determined to find her way in this world, despite the social constraints of the time. I loved her relationship with her “maid” Theresa. Despite their differences, the two women find common ground and become bonded for life when they are faced with a horrible situation.
I could also relate to Maggie’s attraction for Christian. She is drawn to him even though he is German and at war with her country. After all, she has already lost so much to this war with her fiancé dying at Pearl Harbor. But sometimes you can’t fight chemistry. Sometimes you are pulled toward another person by forces you cannot control.
I would also like to mention that the book is perfectly edited. Recently, I have picked up a lot of books that have not had a good editor go over them. They are full of grammatical errors and misspelled words. I find this distracting and disappointing. Even if a story is good, I can’t get past what I see as laziness. Fortunately, this is not the case with Grayton Beach Affair. Each sentence is perfect, simply perfect.
I simply could not put this book down, and the characters are staying with me long after finishing the book. I hear that Mr. Harvey is currently working on his second novel, and I am anxiously awaiting it.

A New Favorite! By  Missy

The story takes place in the early 1940’s during the time of WWII. Our main character, Christian, was raised in America by his German parents. Christian’s parents take a lot of scrutiny for being German during this time and face a lot of prejudice. After his parents die Christian heads to Germany because he feels that he would be able to have a better life there and not have to face the terrible judgment that his parents did.
Fast forward a couple of years and Christian is a civil engineer living a quiet life in Germany. When he ends up becoming involved with the war he tries to stay out of the spotlight and remain unnoticed. Certain circumstances bring him to light with military officials and they believe he will be useful in a mission in the US because he can speak perfect English and would easily pass for an American. Although Christian is completely against the mission he is forced into it with little choice.
His mission brings him to Grayton Beach, Florida and he ends up running into Maggie. Maggie’s husband was killed in Pearl Harbor and she has escaped to Florida to heal and start over. They don’t realize at the time how meeting each other will truly affect their lives.
The story was told from various points of view though out the book. I normally find this very confusing, but Harvey did it in such a way that made it perfect. The story never could have been told without it. We see things happen through so many eyes. I think this is one of the things that I loved so much about it.
I could probably gush and gush over my love of the characters. Christian and his charm and overall mannerisms. He had such a heart about him and was always willing to put himself in the line of fire for someone else. Maggie seemed so simple and sweet in the beginning. She ends up becoming such an incredibly strong willed person. She overcomes so much pain and sorrow.
While the end did leave me wanting more I couldn’t have been more happy with the book overall. The story flowed perfectly and I found myself getting more engrossed as the story went on. I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone that is looking for a good adult read!

Donna Safford

War, deceit, a love affair, and more await the reader of “Grayton Beach Affair” by James Harvey. Christian Wolff is an unsettled man who would love nothing more than to stay under everyone’s radar and simply live his life. However, war has come to Germany and the things he loves and enjoys are changing. As a German who grew up in America and knows it well, the German hierarchy not only notices him, but they have a job for him to do. He is forced to “volunteer” to extract a German scientist, Dieter Braun, from an American prison camp in southern Florida. After traveling to America via U-Boat, Christian must keep his German heritage secret, find his way to the scientist, and get back to Germany without anyone discovering the plot. But, circumstances conspire against him, as they so often do, and Christian meets a woman named Maggie Neal. They have a brief love affair but Christian leaves, thinking he can leave his feelings for Maggie behind, and reappears in France. There he joins the French resistance and realizes that his life would be better spent in America with Maggie. Will Christian find Maggie? Does she want to be found and, if so, will she ever trust him again? What happened to Dieter Braun, and how did Christian escape being caught by the Germans?
This is an intriguing book that keeps a reader interested with the story line and characters. I found the story compelling and easy to read, with many thrilling moments of war and love. I recommend this book to lovers of historical or romantic fiction, as well as reading groups. There are some great topics of discussion here.


In his debut novel, Harvey craftfully intertwines the thrilling elements of espionage, romance and history, creating a story that is appealing to a wide audience.
Harvey’s captivating page turner tells the tale of a German citizen, Christian, who after living in the US, returns to Germany prior to WW2. After the start of the war, Christian’s education, knowledge of American culture and command of the English language gain the attention of the German Reich. They select him to lead a rescue mission and order him to return to the US via U-boat to rescue a German POW. While on his mission, he meets Maggie, and an unexpected love affair ensues, but Christian must return to the Reich.
Upon his return, Christian grapples with the decision to continue taking orders from the Reich versus the dangers that he undoubtedly will encounter if he becomes a traitor. His ultimate decision leads to a suspenseful journey that leaves the reader hard pressed to put Grayton Beach Affair down.
I look forward to Harvey’s next literary accomplishment!

Jeanne Summerour

Grayton Beach Affair is a classic love story that reminded me of Gone with the Wind. Maggie, like Scarlett O’Hara, is a strong, determined survivor. She loses her fiancé at Pearl Harbor and must find a way to get on with her life. Christian, raised and educated in the United States after WWI, returns to Germany before the outbreak of WWII, but remembers well the discrimination and estrangement he felt because he was German. He is apolitical and wants nothing more than to stay under the radar screen, but his Americanized ways and ability to speak perfect English without an accent make him invaluable to the Reich. The story has all the typical elements of war including intrigue, espionage, and violence, but what intrigued me most was the way these dynamic characters evolve. They quickly learn to identify the situation, take control of it, and do whatever is necessary. The author, Mr. James Harvey, includes relevant social issues as unexpected relationships are formed and unexpected events ensue.
It’s a great story with a lot of twists and turns and a very enjoyable read.

Woven story of love, action By  Prissy Elrod, Author

Woven story of love, action, suspense, and circumstances. The setting was especially captivating to me, with all the pieces of North Florida history during World War II expertly woven into the narrative arc. History buffs will like, along with those seeking romance and happy endings.

Very enjoyable By  John A Jenny –

A good, old fashioned “yarn”, both love story and WW II espionage thriller. An easy, somewhat predictable plot is just plain fun. The breadth and diversity of environment against which the action occurs is impressive. From the quiet beachfront towns of Florida’s gulf coast to the battlefields of wartime France the characters are richly developed.

Grayton Beach Affair is an interesting 1940’s adventure tying the US and Germany in a peaceful way By  Dixcee

Really enjoyed the book. The tale addresses rumors of German infiltration and adds lots of twists of fate and romance. It’s a real page turner, couldn’t put it down until I finished it. There’s an interesting mix of characters and culture along with historic data and fiction making it tops on the easy reading list. Too good to miss. Can’t wait for Harvey’s next book.

By  Frank Poltenson

Jim Harvey’s debut novel, Grayton Beach Affair, encompasses several genres. On one hand, it’s an espionage thriller. It’s also an historical novel. But at its heart, it’s a love story. The protagonists, Christian and Maggie, come from opposing sides during World War II. An espionage mission brings Christian to Florida where he meets Maggie and their love affair develops. Harvey’s novel presents interesting historical and social facets that support the story and his intimate local knowledge of the Florida Panhandle where the story takes place makes you feel you are really there. One word of warning: the novel contains a graphic act of violence that may offend more sensitive readers. GBA is a good romantic read and a commendable first effort.

Great mix of history, action, suspense & love By  Jmw “JMW”

This is a great page turner. The author uses references to WW2 to intertwine fact & fiction in this entertaining tale of love, action, mystery, conflicted emotions. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun read and a truly original plot.
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A worthy read By  Jessie Carter

As a fan of historical fiction, I found Grayton Beach Affair informative and well researched. Not many are aware that the Panhandle of Florida was a hot bed for German U-boats. The story line of war and love is a well known theme, but I found this novel to be fast moving, action filled, as well as a page turning drama that leaves the reader with a sense of eagerness to continue. I could hardly put it down. There is a spirit of unmistaken idealism and integrity. The main characters, Maggie and Christian, each have their own agendas but are thrown together and end up falling in love during an ill timed event such as war. Harvey did an outstanding job leaving the reader with questioning anticipation as to the final outcome. I liked the book well enough to purchase several copies for friends whom I thought might also enjoy it.

Covert WW!1 suspense woven into a beautiful love story, By  Will Garrison

Harvey has written in Grayton Beach Affair, a compelling novel that weaves together historically accurate WW11 German submarine activity in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast with a tender and passionate love story that is compelling. Few know about how close WW11 was to the NW Florida coast and this book reveals this in a most creative way. The covert action of the Germans is played out against the beauty of Grayton Beach and its surroundings; one of the loveliest and earliest beach resorts in the Florida panhandle. Harvey has researched these events and places carefully and his characters have depth and credibility. It’s an excellent page turner that you will not easily put down.