The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.
As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.
Larry Loftis’ book on the life, service, and imprisonment of Odette Samsom is compelling. The story-telling narrative was made possible by the extensive records available to Loftis from numerous people/agencies involved in the events. I also appreciated his brief notes explaining a potentially unfamiliar reference which gives the listener immediate context and understanding. This is especially helpful in an audiobook where there is no appendix to flip to.
Even with all the books (Non-Fiction & Fiction) that I’ve read/listened to about WII – I found this to be a truly unique perspective. As a female operative and prisoner of valuable status, it’s apparent that Odette’s experiences were somewhat unique in not only occurrence but in the thorough documentation at the time they were happening.
Odette was not presented as a perfect super-spy, but as a sometimes flawed human faced with untenable circumstances who tried to do what she felt was best, honor her country, and protect her compatriots. It is an inspiring and heartbreaking story.
Kate Reading’s narration brings the facts presented to a new level. She gave Odette, Peter, and the numerous people they worked with and encountered unique voices & accents that stayed consistent throughout the book. She brought a variety of emotions to her performance that made for a truly engaging listen.
About the author:
Larry Loftis received both his B.A. (Political Science) and J.D. (Law) from the University of Florida, where he served on the Law Review as the Senior Executive Editor and Senior Articles Editor. An AV-rated lawyer, he has published scholarly legal articles in the National Law Journal, Florida Bar Journal, Florida Banking, and the Law Reviews of the University of Florida, University of Georgia, and Suffolk University.
The author of two best-selling nonfiction books, Larry is a life-long soccer player and gym rat, and enjoys Mixed Martial Arts, travel, theology, the beach, military history, jazz (especially bossa nova), Texas Hold ‘Em, and bachelor cooking.
You can connect with Larry Loftis here:
About the narrator:
You can connect with Kate Reading here:
My Favorite Quotes
I think the Germans are very obedient and very gullible. Their tragedy—and Europe’s—is that they gladly allow themselves to be hoodwinked into believing evil to be good. – Code Name: Lise by @LarryLoftis #Audiobook narrated by @KateReadingVO #Biography #WWII #EspionageTweet