Today I have a review of D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose, publishing via Crown on April 23, 2019. Thank you to Crown for the invitation to read and review this special book!
1942 was not a good year for the Allies during World War II. They were losing. There isn’t much that could be done at home in Britain because all the men are out fighting. Winston Churchill creates the Special Operations Executive (SOE), training spies in skills necessary to help win the war.
The SOE didn’t have many men to choose from, again given that most were already battling in the war. Therefore, women are chosen and trained. Thirty-nine women, in fact.
Leaving their families behind, the women travel to France. Half of them are caught, while a third are killed.
D-Day Girls is a beautifully-rendered nonfiction work. This book tells the stories of three of these remarkable women. Odette Sansom, a young mother looking for a way out of the house and traditional roles, Andree Borrel, an organizer of the Paris resistance movement, and Lise de Baissac, a wealthy aristocrat.
These exceptional women did the things that spies do. Blowing up weapons’ caches, shutting down trains, and collecting intelligence; all helping put things in place for the D-Day invasion, which was a day known as a huge victory and a turning point for the Allies.
Overall, D-Day Girls was an exceptionally well-researched novel of strong women with a compelling story and an enthralling writing style. Sarah Rose builds gradual tension making this book hard to put down. I’m grateful for this effort documenting the unique contribution of these formidable women to the war.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
The dramatic, untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis and pave the way for Allied victory in World War II
In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was fighting. Churchill believed Britain was locked in an existential battle and created a secret agency, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whose spies were trained in everything from demolition to sharp-shooting. Their job, he declared, was “to set Europe ablaze!” But with most men on the frontlines, the SOE did something unprecedented: it recruited women. Thirty-nine women answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France. Half were caught, and a third did not make it home alive.
In D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose draws on recently declassified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the story of three of these women. There’s Odette Sansom, a young mother who feels suffocated by domestic life and sees the war as her ticket out; Lise de Baissac, an unflappable aristocrat with the mind of a natural leader; and Andrée Borrel, the streetwise organizer of the Paris Resistance. Together, they derailed trains, blew up weapons caches, destroyed power and phone lines, and gathered crucial intelligence—laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war. Stylishly written and rigorously researched, this is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance, in which women continue to play a vital role.
Have you read D-Day Girls, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR