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Customer Review

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Biography of an Exceptional Woman, 5 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines (Kindle Edition)
Clare Mulley's 'The Spy who Loved' is the very compelling story of Christine Granville, Britain's first female special agent of WW2, who was born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbeck, in Warsaw in 1908, the daughter of a dissolute Polish aristocrat and his very wealthy Jewish wife. Although the daughter of a count, Christine was never really accepted in the upper echelons of Polish society, due to her being half Jewish and she often felt on the margins of that society; however this only served to make her the ferociously driven and independent individual that she was.

Christine was beautiful, resourceful, courageous, highly motivated and highly sexed; she was fiercely determined and addicted to danger, excitement and adventure. Married to her first husband when she was twenty one years old and married for a second time when she arrived in England after the outbreak of war, Christine presented herself to the British Secret Service and offered to ski over the Tatra Mountains, (with her one-legged lover) into occupied Poland and return with a first-hand account of the situation in Warsaw. And, surprising as it may seem, she was commissioned to do just that, and this hazardous journey over the frozen mountains into Poland, was just one of many dangerous missions undertaken by this rather amazing woman. Apart from skiing into Poland, she served in Egypt, parachuted into occupied France, and saved the lives of many British, Polish and French officers. She made a significant contribution to the war effort by managing to infiltrate her way into the enemy camp and then smuggle information into Britain sewn into the lining of her gloves, with a cyanide tablet sewn into the hem of her skirt in case she should get caught. Highly decorated, Christine was awarded the George Medal, an OBE and the Croix de Guerre, so it is surprising to read that at the end of the war, this amazing woman who, it is believed, inspired Ian Fleming's spy stories, was dismissed with one month's salary and then virtually ignored by the British Authorities.

This is a very well researched biography where the author has drawn on a varied range of resources to produce an excellent life story of a rather exceptional woman. We know before we start reading this biography, that Christine met her death at the hands of the last of her many lovers, as he stabbed her to death in a Kensington hotel after she rejected him, and Clare Mulley deals with this in a vivid, but sensitive manner. One of the women who knew Christine well commented on her death by saying: "One cannot help feeling that her early death was somehow inevitable and the manner of it in keeping with the many dramas of her life". Christine's murderer was obsessed with her to the end, and his last statement when he left his cell was: "To kill is the final possession". But, as Clare Mulley says, he was wrong; he had never possessed Christine; no one had ever possessed her - she was possessed by her own mission to free Poland.

5 Stars.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Oct 2012 15:20:53 BDT
A. Ford says:
Just reading your review was enough to spur me into action ... my copy is on the way!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Oct 2012 17:54:56 BDT
Susie B says:
Hi. Thank you for your comment - glad to be of help in spurring you into action! I sincerely hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Best wishes. SusieB

Posted on 29 Dec 2012 21:41:02 GMT
happyharriet says:
Great review - very comprehensive. Thank you for taking the time to put pen to paper. I have ordered a copy of the book as a result!

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Dec 2012 13:32:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Dec 2012 13:32:48 GMT
Susie B says:
Hi happyharriet (what a lovely pen name) - glad you enjoyed the review and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I sincerely hope you enjoy the book, best wishes, SusieB.

Posted on 27 Jul 2015 13:38:54 BDT
Perfect review -- covers everything it should, without giving anything away. You have left me nothing to say in mine!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jul 2015 22:56:24 BDT
Susie B says:
Thank you so much Frequent Traveller for your kind comment which is much appreciated - I hope you enjoyed the book as much as I did and do please write a review - mine is three years old (three years - I can't believe it's that long ago!) and customers sometimes like to read more up-to-date reviews. Best wishes. SusieB.
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