This hardback book was published in 2004 (some 60 years after the events described) and contain the personal recollections of the author whilst working "undercover" for the S.O.E. in the British WRNS during WWII.
Being a personal recollection it is entirely correct that there are no references or index and the use of a contents list makes very clear the chronological nature of the recollections tehmselves.
Each chapter has a title which gives the reader a very clear indication of the content rather than leaving it to the reader to discover what it is they are reading about.
There are black and white photographs from the author's personal collection and include photographs of her family and King Haakon himself. Whilst these were helpful, I couldn't help wondering if there were any photographs of her WRNS colleagues or the bases and boats she worked in.
The author's mother is Norwegian and her father British, although little is said of her father. They escaped just before the German occupation of Norway and the author became a cryptographer who was uniquely recruited to SOE and looked after Norwegian agents. (The method of recruitmemt raised an eyebrow but then this was a long time ago).
The chapters are small enough to enable this book to be read in snippets which is to the author's credit, unless one prefers novel length chapters of course which may explain some loss of detail.
This for me was a very readable book telling as it does of her everyday life whilst in the WRNS ranging from the mundane (accommodation/food etc) to the unique (lunch with King Haakon)
These recollections set the wartime scene very well with detail that some may consider to be minor but were important none the less, trousers instead of skirts for example.
The comparative naivety of her colleagues makes for interesting reading especially in their encounter with a Lesbian rating and whilst some may scoff at Naval personnel taking solace in reading Shakespeare, I was reminded that these were the years before Gangsta rap, MTV, Jeremy Kyle and the mass of celebrity dross magazines we see today.
Supt Welby does not come out well in the book and her obvious grudge against the author is not clarified or perhaps it was never really known.
The "covert" operation to identify/capture German spies is referred to as a large selling point of this book but (in my view at least) whilst valid, this raises the readers expectations which are sadly not delivered until practically 90% of the way through this book.
The chapter relating to the German spy is very short which may account for a feeling of anti-climax in that yes it does describe what happened but not to justify the amount of description in the book's summary, suggesting to me a pudding that has been slightly over egged!
For me, some details were rather thin, for example I would have liked to have known who the German spy was and what happened to him in the end but this was omitted.
Whilst still a credible read, this book does not in my view reach the same standard as Operation Jupiter which (to me at least) knocks this into a cocked hat and shows the author's real writing skill.
It is a fact that S.O.E. did operate along unconventional lines which got up certain people's noses (the promotion to Major of L/Cpl Alfred Fyffe being one example)and along the lines of what we would refer to today as "the old boy network" of former school chums and well to do connections, but references to various named persons in this narrative didn't strike me as being out of place and felt quite correct in being included in this work.
Whether this book represents value for money is dependant on what the reader is looking to achieve.
As a personal recollection which includes several interesting events this is an excellent buy but it is certainly not in the same vein as more revealing "this is what really happened" publications (certain authors with a background in special forces have nothing to worry about) which I felt was quite appropriate for my needs and has provided several references for background knowledge.
I enjoyed reading this book as much due to the ease of writing and the ability of the author to set the wartime scene and how this S.O.E. operation was executed.
That said, whilst I might read this again it may not necessarily be very soon.
I would recommend this book for anyone interested in a personal account of life in a wartime naval base and the vindictive pettiness of some who should have known better and the optimism of others (currently mocked by several "wannabe Paxman" types in the media) who were working in conditions that would not be tolerated today.
This book is so badly written, one has to wonder why it was ever published. One can only assume it was vanity. Do not be mislead by the authors surname, this is just a piece of self aggrandising prattle. It has absolutely nothing to do with what really happened during the war, and is just a silly "name dropping" piece of nonsense. Half the stories are very selectively remembered, including a friendship with a submarine commander awarded the V.C.(true) that leaves out the fact that he was also indicted twice for war crimes, WRENS who do nothing in their spare time except read Shakespeare to each other, and such other japes. I'm sure the author believes she won WW2 single-handedly, but leaves me aghast at how arrogantly the `hoi-polloi' remember the war years . They seem to forget that nowadays we can research everything online for ourselves, and sort out the chaff.