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Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice: The True Story of WWII Special Agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne Paperback – 28 Mar 2013


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Frequently Bought Together

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice: The True Story of WWII Special Agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne + A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE + The Heroines of SOE: F Section: Britain's Secret Women in France
Price For All Three: £21.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Element (28 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007493053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007493050
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ian_O on 4 April 2013
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 By AS on 12 April 2013
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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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By barbara gegg on 5 May 2013
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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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nick Randall on 10 May 2013
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Weeks on 20 May 2013
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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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patsy on 8 May 2013
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Carol Harrigan on 4 April 2013
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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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pam McCarten on 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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