Title: A Woman of No Importance
Author: Sonia Purnell
Publisher: Viking 2019
Genre: Nonfiction - History
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Library Love
In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."
The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and--despite her prosthetic leg--helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.
Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.
Another incredible story of a fascinating woman during WWII. I immediately fell for Virginia and her search for purpose in life. She’s such a fascinating character. The story dragged a bit during the early section, but once Virginia moved into position in France, the pacing moved forward. There were definitely parts of the story that were hard to read. But, overall, I learned so much about the variety of resistance activities within France during the occupation.
Next up on the TBR pile: