Friday, June 24, 2016

The Tip of My Wish List - Female Spies of WWII

To change things up this year, I've decided to do a monthly post on 5 books from my insane wish list that I am most excited about getting to. Some might be new, some old and some out of wish list has it all! I'll pick a theme each month and share my wish list post on the last Friday of the month. I know a number of excellent reviewers who will be doing similar posts and I'll be sure to link to their posts as well so you can see all the goodies we're excited about and, hopefully, add a few new book to your own wish list. 

For June I've decided to highlight books about female spies and code breakers during WWII. These brilliant women helped bring the Nazi regime to it's knees and I am amazed by each and every one of them.  I'll link the titles to Goodreads where you can read reviews and find the various ways to purchase a copy if it sounds like your style. I really hope you enjoy and let me know if you've read any of these or have others you would add to the list.



 “I am Eva Delectorskaya,” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth, learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Sally Gilmartin is a respectable English widow living in picturesque Cotswold village; Eva Delectorskaya was a rigorously trained World War II spy, a woman who carried fake passports and retreated to secret safe houses, a woman taught to lie and deceive, and above all, to never trust anyone.

Three decades later the secrets of Sally’s past still haunt her. Someone is trying to kill her and at last she has decided to trust Ruth with her story. Ruth, meanwhile, is struggling to make sense of her own life as a young single mother with an unfinished graduate degree and escalating dependence on alcohol. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the astonishing events of her mother’s past—the mysterious death of Eva’s beloved brother, her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward American involvement in the war, her dangerous romantic entanglement. Now Sally wants to find the man who recruited her for the secret service, and she needs Ruth’s help.

Restless is a brilliant espionage book and a vivid portrait of the life of a female spy. Full of tension and drama, and based on a remarkable chapter of Anglo-American history, this is fiction at its finest.

Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain's Cold War Spy Master

From living in a tin-roofed shack north of Dar-es-Salaam to becoming Baroness Park of Monmouth, Daphne Park led a most unusual life—one that consisted of a lifelong love affair with the world of Britain's secret services. In the 1970s, she was appointed to Secret Intelligence Service's most senior operational rank as one of its seven Area Controllers—an extraordinary achievement for a woman working within this most male-dominated and secretive of organizations.

In Queen of Spies, Paddy Hayes recounts the fascinating story of the evolution of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from World War II to the Cold War through the eyes of Daphne Park, one of its outstanding and most unusual operatives. He provides the reader with one of the most intimate narratives yet of how the modern SIS actually went about its business whether in Moscow, Hanoi, or the Congo, and shows how Park was able to rise through the ranks of a field that had been comprised almost entirely of men.

Queen of Spies captures all the paranoia, isolation, deception of Cold War intelligence work, and combines it with the personal story of one extraordinary woman trying to navigate this secretive world. Hayes unveils all that it may be possible to know about the life of one of Britain's most celebrated spies.

A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies in Occupied France

The incredible true story of British special agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, sisters who risked everything to fight for freedom during the Second World War.
When elderly recluse Eileen Nearne died, few suspected that the quiet little old lady was a decorated WWII war hero. Volunteering to serve for British intelligence at age 21, Eileen was posted to Nazi-occupied France to send encoded messages of crucial importance for the Allies, until her capture by the Gestapo.

Eileen was not the only agent in her family---her sister Jacqueline was a courier for the French resistance. While Jacqueline narrowly avoided arrest, Eileen was tortured by the Nazis, then sent to the infamous Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. Astonishingly, this resourceful young woman eventually escaped her captors and found her way to the advancing American army.

In this amazing true story of triumph and tragedy, Susan Ottaway unveils the secret lives of two sisters who sacrificed themselves to defend their country.

A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII

Once rumored to have been the inspiration for Ian Fleming's Miss Moneypenny, Vera Atkins climbed her way to the top in the Special Operations Executive, or SOE: Britain's secret service created to help build up, organize, and arm the resistance in the Nazi-occupied countries. Throughout the war, Atkins recruited, trained, and mentored the agents for the SOE's French Section, which sent more than four hundred young men and women into occupied France, at least one hundred of whom never returned and were reported MPD (missing presumed dead) after the war. Twelve of these were women and among Atkins' most cherished spies. When the war ended in 1945, she made it her personal mission to find out what happened to them and the other agents lost behind enemy lines, tracing rigorously their horrific final journeys. But as the woman who carried out this astonishing search appeared quintessentially English, Atkins was nothing of the sort. As we follow her through the devastation of postwar Germany, we learn Atkins herself covered her life in mystery so that even her closest family knew almost nothing of her past.

In A Life in Secrets Sarah Helm has stripped away Vera Atkins' many veils. Drawing on recently released sixty-year-old government files and her unprecedented access to the private papers of the Atkins family, Helm vividly reconstructs a complex and extraordinary life.

The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish: My Life in Churchill's Secret Army

'My mother thought I was working for the Ministry of Ag. and Fish.’ So begins Noreen Riols’ compelling memoir of her time as a member of Churchill’s ‘secret army’, the Special Operations Executive. It was 1943, just before her eighteenth birthday, Noreen received her call-up papers, and was faced with either working in a munitions factory or joining the Wrens. A typically fashion-conscious young woman, even in wartime, Noreen opted for the Wrens - they had better hats. But when one of her interviewers realized she spoke fluent French, she was directed to a government building on Baker Street. It was SOE headquarters, where she was immediately recruited into F-Section, led by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster. From then until the end of the war, Noreen worked with Buckmaster and her fellow operatives to support the French Resistance fighting for the Allied cause. Sworn to secrecy, Noreen told no one that she spent her days meeting agents returning from behind enemy lines, acting as a decoy, passing on messages in tea rooms and picking up codes in crossword puzzles. Vivid, witty, insightful and often moving, this is the story of one young woman’s secret war, offering readers an authentic and compelling insight into what really went on in Churchill’s ‘secret army’ from one of its last surviving members.
Check out these lovely blogs for more books to add to your wish list:
Stephanie at Layered Pages is highlighting five historical fiction books that take place during the American Civil War HERE.
Magdalena from A Bookaholic Swede is sharing five steampunk novels she's excited to read HERE.

Heather at The Maiden's Court has five books about the natural disaster event, the Johnstown Flood, HERE.

Holly at 2 Kids and Tired Books is sharing five books set in Russia she wants to read HERE.

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