Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
Deeply moving, yet exciting and difficult to put down
on 4 April 2013
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. It is humbling to read of such quiet bravery and sacrifice amid the real horrors of war.
I read this book in a couple of days (it would have been quicker had work not got in the way!), found it sad, moving, poignant, interesting and exciting but above all thoroughly entertaining.
Well done Susan, I think this is the finest of all your books so far!