Virginia Hall was an American spy. Born to comfortable wealth and blessed with a blue-blooded education, she wanted more than a life as a comfortable suburban wife. Beginning as a domestic journalist, she managed to secure an underling job with the U.S. State Department so she could live abroad and experience World War II firsthand.
Fond of languages and excitement, she soon tired of hitting the glass ceiling at the State Department and volunteered for ambulance duty in France as Hitler began to devour the country. She was soon recruited as a spy for the Special Operations Executive acting in occupied France. She then became one of the most successful and decorated undercover agents in the French Resistance. Adept at spotting locals who could further her undercover efforts, she managed and protected scores of men and women who worked tirelessly to undermine the occupation.
Acknowledged by Britain, France and the U.S. for her superb recruitment, coercion and espionage skills, and high on Hitler’s hit list, she still felt overlooked by her superiors because of her gender – especially by Churchill, who bestowed titles and decorations upon her underlings (all male) at the end of the war.
Her biography reads like a thriller, and Purnell’s superb research and writing skills make this a book not to be missed! It is an astonishing story of a truly amazing woman who slipped through Hitler’s clutches and saved untold lives, ultimately becoming one of the CIA’s most decorated employees.
ABOUT SUSAN BRAUN. Not every bookstore employs a graduate of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Her retired librarian chops, though, may be more what you’re looking for as you seek refuge from Winslow Way. She’s also the pit crew boss of the Eagle Harbor Books Mystery Book and Readers’ Circle Book groups, and will send you towards a pulse-pounding thriller if you let her.