Top critical review
Too many factual inaccuracies and downplays the tru role of women in WW2
Reviewed in Australia on 6 September 2021
This book could have been so good, it was generally well written, although at times it was too unbelievable. This was particular so in the case of the "heroine", a young, stubborn and impetuous "girl" (her terminology) who suddenly became a derring do bane of the gestapo.
Two particular issues:
- there were too many glaring inaccuracies. Some literary licence is acceptable, but for many basic facts that were not essential to the story, it was unacceptable. The author had scant knowledge of French people, French/Spanish Geography or the history of WW2 France. The author actually thanked someone in the acknowledgements for ensuring the accuracy of the story. She would have done better to spend a bit of time on google.
- my biggest bug bear though was the way the "heroine" kept referring to the fact that she was just a "girl" who was achieving such heroics and fooling the Gestapo. Added to this, the Author claimed the stories of women in the French resistance were ignored. This is totally wrong. There were many very brave women in the resistance undertaking very dangerous and important work. These were French women as well as other Allied women smuggled into France by Britain's SOE (intelligence). Their stories have been told both in fiction and biographies. And the Gestapo were well aware of this and treated any captured female resistance fighters very brutally.
It was the story of the "quiet" sister that was most believable and interesting. She was a stalwart yet still saved the lives of many Jewish children despite great dangers. This is typical of many women in Europe at this time.
I cannot resist these 2 little notes to the author
- The Germans did not smash through the Maginot Line. They knew this was impossible so went around it through Belgium and Holland. That is well known.
- antibiotics were not available until 1944 (penicillin). Although the very crude sulpha drugs were available earlier, they were not in the form or for the purpose described. So why include it?
This book does a great disservice to the strength and bravery of many women during this difficult time in history.