Liberation A novel

Imogen Kealey

Book - 2021

"To the allies, she was a fearless freedom fighter, a Special Operations legend, a woman ahead of her time. To the Gestapo, she was a ghost, a shadow the most wanted person in the world. But at first, Nancy Wake was just another young woman living in Marseille and recently engaged to a man she loved."--Publisher.

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Subjects
Genres
Biographical fiction
Historical fiction
Published
New York : Grand Central Publishing 2021.
©2019
Language
English
Physical Description
380 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
1538733218
9781538733219
Main Author
Imogen Kealey (author)
Other Authors
Imogen Robertson, 1973-
Review by Booklist Reviews

The spate of recent fiction about female operatives fighting with the French Resistance continues with this gripping thriller. Basing their novel on the real-life exploits of New Zealander Nancy Wake, screenwriter Darby Kealey and novelist Imogen Robertson (writing under the pseudonym of Imogen Kealey) begin the story in Marseille, where Wake, married to French businessman Henri Fiocca, joins the Resistance and quickly becomes an underground legend, dubbed the White Mouse by the Germans for her audacious attacks on Nazi positions. Later, after her husband is taken by the gestapo, she joins Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) and, like Kate Rees in Cara Black's Three Hours in Paris (2020), becomes the special target of a Nazi officer, who uses Wake's imprisoned husband as bait. Throughout, Kealey emphasizes the challenges Wake faced and overcame in the face of gender prejudice on the part of her comrades. There are moments when the very real tension slips into melodrama, but overall this is an exciting and super cinema-ready WWII thriller. It's no surprise that Anne Hathaway is adapting the novel as a film.Women in Focus: the 19th in 2020 Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

It's 1943. France is firmly under Hitler's thumb, but the French are fighting back in lightning-quick guerrilla raids. England helps by sending supplies and men—and one very formidable woman, Nancy Wake, who would go on to be one of the most-decorated women of World War II. Originally from Australia, she fled to New York when she turned 16, and from there, London and Paris, where she became a journalist. Disgusted by the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, she vowed to fight them by any means. So successful was she at escaping them, she was christened the "White Mouse." Her band of raiders, along with similar bands all over France, played a part in the success of D-Day. This book is packed with authentic, realistic scenes, including moments of sheer terror. Though fictionalized, it captures the spirit of this amazing and intrepid woman, and the desperation and courage of the French freedom fighters. VERDICT Readers who enjoy World War II fiction and stories of extraordinary women will savor this first collaboration between screenwriter Darby Kealey and novelist Imogen Robertson, which is slated to be a motion picture. Additionally, this novel is a good accompaniment to Wake's 1986 memoir, The White Mouse.—Pamela O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This thrilling debut from the pseudonymous writing team of screenwriter Darby Kealey and novelist Imogen Robertson (the Crowther and Westerman series), based on a true story, chronicles the heroic wartime efforts of resistance fighter Nancy Wake to undermine the Nazis in France. As the wife of Henri Fiocca, a respected man in Marseille, Nancy has the money and the cover to rescue Nazi prisoners ("Everyone knows I'm just a rich girl with expensive habits," she assures her co-conspirators) and to fund resistance efforts. Her successes earn her a nickname, the White Mouse, and an adversary in Major Böhm, a Gestapo agent who longs to uncover the White Mouse's identity. When a vindictive former employee rats out her husband, Nancy flees to England. Determined to get back to France, Nancy trains with the British to prepare for D-Day and encounters men among them who doubt and disrespect her, though she eventually cultivates a loyal team with whom she targets supply routes to Normandy and buys time for fighters who would otherwise be doomed. Her sole weakness is her devotion to Henri, whom Böhm captures and uses to bait her. What this book lacks in literary panache and subtlety (cue tragic backstory with a mother who made Nancy believe she "was God's punishment") it makes up for with a fast pace, vivid set pieces, and a believable, larger-than-life protagonist. Featuring plenty of espionage and a memorable female lead, this is a cinematic treat for fans of wartime adventure novels. (Apr.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Inspired by the true story of World War II's greatest heroine, this international bestseller and "cinematic treat" tells the story of Nancy Wake and the impact she had on the world (Publishers Weekly).Hero. Soldier. Spy. Leader. Her name is Nancy Wake. To the Allies, she was a fearless freedom fighter, a special operations legend, a woman ahead of her time. To the Gestapo, she was a ghost, a shadow, the most wanted person in the world.But at first, Nancy Wake was just another young woman living in Marseilles and recently engaged to a man she loved. Then France fell to the Nazi blitzkrieg. With her appetite for danger, Nancy quickly finds herself drawn into the underground Resistance standing up to Nazi rule. Gaining notoriety as the White Mouse, with a 5-million-franc bounty hanging over her head, Wake rises to the top of the Nazi's Most Wanted list—only to find her husband arrested for treasonous activity under suspicion of being the White Mouse himself.Narrowly escaping to Britain, Wake joins the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and parachutes into the Auvergne, where she must fight for the respect of some of the toughest Resistance fighters in France. As she and her maquisards battle the Nazis, their every engagement brings the end of the war closer—but also places her husband in deeper peril.A riveting, richly imagined historical thriller, Liberation brings to life one of World War II's most fascinating unsung heroines in all her fierce power and complexity. This is the story of one of the one of the war's most decorated women, told like never before.