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on 31 August 2013
I herd this lady interviewed about her book on Saturday live on BBC Radio 4.
I was enthralled by her energy and stories and rushed an order for the book.
A joy to read with a lot of insights to stories that have been told some in part before about the SOE and with some important new facts and opinions. A must read for anyone interested in the dark world of secret agents during World War Two.
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on 1 September 2017
A good view of the United Kingdom's involvement in WW2, in aiding the French Resistance, written from the perspective of a young bi-lingual English woman who was active from the English side of The Channel.
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on 17 April 2017
Really good and quick
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on 28 July 2017
I am not sure if this book is a 3 or a 5 star, but plumped for the former.

It was a very lightweight romp thro the places she worked and thepeople she knew and worked with in SOE, the WW2 sabotage agency. Her role was largely safely ensconced in an office, but you did get a flavour of the role she performed, which owing to her youth was deemed too young to be infiltrated into France as an agent.
The book was a very easy read for anyone not knowledgable about the workings of F section in SOE, and throughout the book, numerous agents were quoted, with either a brief bio or Noreen's person thoughts on that person. The book therefore wandered thro the war, quoting agents, lamenting the many enemies of SOE, and giving an impression that she 'enjoyed' the excitement of what was happening on the continent, but from safely with Britain.
As an avid reader of many SOE books, I found the content mostly superficial with much of the character pieces too short for my liking, but I did keep reading because there was the odd piece arising which I had never picked up before. If you have never read anything about SOE before it does give you a good broad-brush idea of what It did do during the war, and for that I think it succeeded, but not fully to my expectations.
The final quarter of the book was post-war reminiscing and I think it got a bit maudlin then, but as she represents the last remaining member of SOE attending the reunions, I think she deserves that right, and again I can't really fault her for her repetition of accounts of the many dead courageous colleagues. There is a roll of honour of the 100+ agents as an appendix to the end of the book, where they were acknowledged.

The book was a brave attempt to tell a modern account of Resistance in France during the last war, but there are a great many modern books will tell it much more authoritatively (best being Foot's official offering), but there are none that will tell it in the first person - I was there accounts. I noticed that Bob Maloubier's story is being posthumously being published in English in 2018, and this man was Noreen's last remaining Special Forces wartime colleague. I think she has the right to tell the story in her own way, as she remembers it, unfortunately it did not fully tick all boxes for me, but I do admire her for the effort to get it down on paper.
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on 4 January 2015
In this excellent book, Noreen Riols describes her work with Churchill's wartime Special Operations Executive's `F' section; of how she helped support the agents who were infiltrated into enemy-occupied France.

The stories of how Mme. Riols sent those intrepid men & women on their way and - hopefully - how she would welcome them back, is extremely well-told. She describes not only their adventures in France but also the difficulties which they encountered after the war, when they had to come to terms with peace. In addition, she outlines the petty and often ludicrous jealousies between governmental departments, both British and French.

The book has its faults but in fairness, they are minor ones. An index should have been compiled and there are one or two mild inaccuracies but that's all. The book is extremely well-written but Mme. Riols appeared reticent about including that highly decorated agent, Nancy Wake's comment, `I loved killing Germans'. Well, it was said, because Nancy said those words to me, and added for emphasis, `bloody loved it'. She went on to explain precisely why she held that opinion; I could understand why.

Highly recommended.
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on 6 December 2013
I heard a BBC radio interview with this lady and I have always been fascinated by the spy network during WW2 and during the Cold War. So I got this book for my birthday. Fabulous read! Well worth the price. It's informative, sometimes humorous, as well as incredibly moving.
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on 24 September 2013
I loved this book, it gave such an insight in to the times and left me in complete awe of the people featured within the pages that were so brave and loyal to their country at whatever the cost. Well written and a must read.
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on 3 October 2013
This is an easy and worthwhile read by a remarkable 87-year-old lady, who was a teenager herself during WWII. She wanted to write this memoir of the SOE so that young people, particularly in Britain, should know what sacrifices were made at that time by brave young people hoping to make a difference to the outcome of the war. Noreen Riols is one of the last of Churchill's secret army, so many of whom many never returned and should be remembered.
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on 12 December 2013
Superbly written and full of humour amongst the horrors of the 2nd World War, Noreen, still a very attractive lady in her later life, has retained a sense of humour while relating some of the most terrible things which happened to her friends and confederates in SOE. I was a lad - only 11 when the war was won by our side - and I was, of course, ignorant of the wonderful bravery of so many of our 'secret people'. I am horrified by the revelations of this book, but, in contrast, find it rivetting reading and very difficult to put down. Although far too late, I bow my head to the memory of those unbelievably brave people Noreen tells us about. Do get your copy - you will be amazed and yet you will laugh our head off at some of the descriptions this lady gives us of her friends in SOE.
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on 21 October 2013
Although I know about the war I am not one for reading books on this subject, I decided to read this book after listening to the writer talking about herself and her coworkers, it is very eye opening on the terrible astrocities that happened during this period, the book starts from her life as a young girl and goes through to her life now. I found this a very good read.
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