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Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice: The True Story of WWII Special Agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne [Kindle Edition]

Susan Ottaway
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Two sisters. Two special agents. One War.

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice is the incredible true story of British special agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, two sisters who risked everything to fight for our freedom during the Second World War.

The death of an eccentric recluse is rarely an event to be given more than a few lines in a local newspaper. But when, in September 2010, police were called to a tiny, cluttered flat in Torquay and discovered the body of local ‘cat lady’ Eileen Nearne, they also found a small bundle of possessions that told an amazing story.

For Eileen Nearne had been an agent for the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, going undercover in Nazi-occupied France to send wireless messages of crucial importance to the Allies. Astonishingly, Eileen was not the only special agent in the family – her sister Jacqueline had also been an SOE. Rarely had two members of the same family sacrificed so much to such dangerous work.

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice pays tribute to these fiercely patriotic women with hearts of courage, who fought for freedom at much personal cost. While Jacqueline narrowly avoided capture several times, tirelessly couriering secret documents for the resistance, Eileen was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo before being incarcerated at Ravensbrück concentration camp. She was only 23.

This is a true story of triumph and tragedy, of two sisters who sacrificed themselves to defend our freedom, who stood shoulder to shoulder during the darkest of days.

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Product Description

About the Author

Susan Ottaway is the author of several books including Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have, a biography of SOE agent Violette Szabo for which she personally interviewed Eileen Nearne. She has appeared on BBC national television to be interviewed about her work, and she took part in the four-part television series for the Discovery History Channel entitled George Cross Heroes.

Susan is a guest speaker on battlefield tours and in 2008 she delivered the Annual Dambuster Lecture at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa, home of the wartime 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4950 KB
  • Print Length: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Element (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
By Ian_O
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having seen news items at the time of Eileen Nearne's death and been interested by the speculation regarding her life, I was very keen to read the truth, and if anything it turned out to be more extraordinary than I imagined.

Before I go any further, I must declare an interest here. Susan Ottaway is my sister. That is the reason I have never reviewed any of her previous books on here, excellent though they are, fearing accusations of bias. However, this book is just so good that having now finished it I can't resist sharing my views with others. What made it more special for me was that while Susan was carrying out all the research and actually writing the book she didn't discuss it in detail with me, so I was able to read it without knowing many of the extraordinary details of what was to come.

As with most biographical books the reader is introduced to the main characters and their family near the beginning and I often find this part of a book slightly "plodding". But not in this case. The family details are so interesting and unique that they only serve to whet the appetite for the remainder of the story, and what a story!

Many people have commented on the very detailed research Susan carries out with all her books and this one is no exception. Building on her earlier knowledge of SOE through extensive research for her book about Violette Szabo, she has undoubtedly become one of the few real SOE experts around today and it really shows in this book. It is very easy to read. The story is fast-paced and includes just the right amount of detail to keep the reader engaged and to feel a real empathy towards the main characters. The whole thing is all the more remarkable for the knowledge that every single detail is true.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Story 12 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I raced through this book in a couple of days. It's clearly written, fast-paced and a real page-turner. Quite simply, the story of these two remarkable women is an incredible one. A few pages of photographs are included to help put faces to names. A really excellent read and a fascinating account of the very important work that women were doing in occupied France during WW2.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Susan Ottaway 5 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a wonderful story the bravery and sacrifice of women like Jacqueline and Eileen, Particularly the suffering and privation torture that Eileen endured without giving away her fellow agents. However I was disgusted by the American soldiers behaviour , could they not recognise the difference between a victim and her abusers! she was somewhat emaciated and in poor condition, did they not have the intelligence to see the difference even allowing for the world not having seen the kind of thing the Germans had been doing before. It was fitting and right that the two sisters sacrifice should be written about and recognised.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary 10 May 2013
Having just finished this amazing book, I now almost feel like I knew the Nearne sisters. The level of research that Ottaway has put into this book and the detail that is eloquently portrayed of the lives of these brave women during those troubled time is exemplary. Far too many times are stories like these rushed to the presses with little regard to the true facts, facts that we all need to be aware of so we can really appreciate the sacrifices made by the like of Eileen, Jacqueline, Francis and so many others who gave their freedom so we could have ours. Congratulations on a truly wonderful book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unforgetable and very moving 20 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I heard about this wonderful lady on the news when she was found in her flat in Torquay and was moved just by that and the huge funeral that amassed when they discovered her secret past instead of an almost paupers funeral that it might have been. I saw the book was there and just had to read it and was so moved. The prologue gave me tears in my eys net alone the rest of it.
The book was so well written and even with so many code names etc etc all the way through was very easy to read, if upsetting, to think what this lovely lady and her sister, and many others went through, for all of us. Would people do it today ? and keep it all quiet and to themselves - ????
I read the book in a day as i just had to follow it through what had befallen this pair of courageous ladies.
Can't recommend it enough and should be compulsory at school. I am so glad it was published that others might know and follow what they did and sacrificed their lives for - well at least her, her sister faired much better.
A wonderful book but tragic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sisters,Secrets and Sacrifice 8 May 2013
By Patsy
Format:Kindle Edition
A truly remarkable book about two extremely remarkable ladies. We owe them so much. Thank you for writing about such sometimes difficult to comprehend situations, and you are quite right we should remember these two ladies and what they both did, and what they sacrificed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 4 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book had me spellbound from the beginning . A real page turner. Fact that surpasses fiction at its best. Will read again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book 7 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Anyone interested in reading about WWII should read this book. It tells about things that went on that we're not widely publicised. I for one really enjoyed it and could not put it down until the end and wanted it to go on forever.

Absolutely brilliant book
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