Why did I choose to read this book?
Yet another book that I requested on NetGalley and was denied, so I had to wait for it at the library. I wanted to read it because it was about how women worked against the Nazis in France. I hadn’t read about famous women in WWII before, and most of this was about spying and supporting the spies.
What is this book about?
An American married to a Frenchman (Virginia) and an 18-year-old spitfire from London (Violette) each find their own ways into the war. The book starts with them all keeping their heads down, but eventually things get so bad that they both make the decision to help the resistance any way they can. Violette joins a special forces unit in London that does Fly In-Fly Out missions into occupied France, while Virginia and her husband Philippe decide to harbor members of the resistance to protect them while they make their way to safety through Spain.
I knew that their stories had to cross at some point, but it doesn’t come until almost the very end of the book. There is concentration camp content in this one, so heads up for trauma.
What is notable about the story?
It was pretty cool to read a slightly fictionalized version of actual events. Both of these women were real people who did most of the things you see them do in the story. Robuck takes the time at the end of the book to walk you through her research and how she chose the events she did to make the story. I feel like I walked away knowing more then before I started, and I’m discovering more and more that well-written historical fiction is a great way to learn.
Was anything not so great?
My only complaint is that how Robuck brought Virginia and Violette together felt a little too convenient. Out of all the concentration camps they would get sent to they just happened to be in the same one? This is a small issue though, and the story moves quickly past it and focuses on how they help each other survive.
What’s the verdict?
5 stars on Goodreads. It’s a hell of a ride, suspenseful, emotional, and more stories like this should find their way onto shelves. And given our current trajectory reading a book that shows the slow creep of fascism and the degradation of rights that accompany it might be a helpful manual for surviving what’s coming. A fast read, you won’t be disappointed.
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