* Hated it! **Endured it, hoping it would redeem itself; *** Okay; **** Great listen! ***** Outstanding! I'll be listening to it again!
I spent my formative years soaking up every book I could find about WWII (both fiction and non-fiction), so I knew all about Allied spies, secret Lysander flights into France and other occupied territories, the French Resistance, and the Gestapo’s response to these activities, so I thought I knew what to expect from this book.
My initial reaction was that of disappointment. I’d made the selection based on overall reader ratings and had not read the detailed reviews; had I done so, I would have prepared me for how the book unfolds. The first half of the book is a narrative by a captured female spy, codename Verity. She tells of her relationship to her friend Maddie, a skilled pilot who ultimately ends up flying her into France, and details her treatment by her French and German guards and Gestapo interrogators.
If you’re squeamish and worried about hearing about the sadistic techniques uses by Gestapo torturers, you need have no fear because Elizabeth Wein uses such a light touch that Verity’s plight just does not ring true and I was ready to rate this as a three-star listen.
Halfway through the book, Maddie takes over as narrator, telling the same story from her perspective. That sounds like a bad plot gimmick, but one quickly realizes that not all is at it seems and forces one to rethink everything one has heard from Verity’s hand and mouth. Ultimately, I had to find a quiet corner and listen to this book through to the end – it’s that compelling of a tale, and cleverly written despite my initial misgivings.
The two narrators both do an outstanding job (Verity and Maddie have their own distinct and authentic voices) – full marks to both of them for bringing their characters alive.
Give it a listen – you won’t regret it.
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Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
For mature YA's and adults it's an award winning read, quite intense yet uplifting. Such a difficult story to tell right... Elizabeth Wein deserves accolades for her creative presentation. I was a little irritated with the point of view jumping around from first to third and back again... and also the inconsistencies in what Queenie should know of Maddie versus the great amount of detail she shares. Thus the four stars. However, once the tale is told the reader understands this and I found in going back and listening to previously irritating spots... knowing the end made them brilliant. WWII as experienced in occupied France as a prisoner and spy was new for me and I enjoyed the historical insight. The resilience of the main characters makes what they endure much more bearable for the reader. It has the feel of "The Potato Peel Pie Society." I will read again.
Two young women's stories intertwine with the history of WWII, of women pilots and spies, of France, England, Scotland and Germany
Not telling. LOTS of memorable moments--even the small ones.
I think this might be my first. It will not be my last.
No. This is a book I loved listening to every time I got to it--and was glad it was the one on my Ipod.
I wasn't aware that this book was considered to be in the Young Adult genre when I bought it. Not that it would have dissuaded me to pass on it. I bought it because of the huge array of glowing reviews. However, about 2 hours in, I thought I was listening to some other book. The way it's written is confusing with the "third person confession" aspect that I didn't really get at first. I couldn't figure out whom was whom and when certain events took place with respect to others. I had to re-read two dozen reviews just to discover that one of the key characters is a prisoner of war, being tortured and interrogated by the Gestapo as a spy!
Overall, the story is confusing and hard to follow. I love WWII stories, both fact and fiction, but this one was a disappointment. Maybe, after 2,000+ audiobooks, I'm a bit jaded but this book hardly qualifies for "the best book I've ever read", as claimed by other reviewers. It's not even in the top 50%! My advice to those readers is to get out more often!
I tried to put myself in the shoes of a YA reader yet I fail to see how this book really falls into that category. It's about grown women doing grown folks things. In some places it's a bit too violent for young people, even by today's over the top depictions of violence and sex. I think I may have enjoyed this book better if the reviews hadn't given me a false sense of its literary attributes. Also, the narrator(s) was just OK, not bothering to make much vocal distinction between the two main characters or even between men and women. Maybe I'm referring to only ONE narrator although two are listed - that's how confusing this story is. With one woman being from Manchester, England and the other one from Scotland, you'd think this would help in telling them apart. Perhaps, I missing something........ Just don't nod off or answer your phone while listening to this book! You will be even more confused!
If you liked this book, more power to you. I don't really buy into the idea that there are good books and bad books - only those which we either like or not. I did not like this one at all. However, I didn't hate it so much that I would warn others away. But neither can I truthfully recommend it.
The narration of the story is beautifully done, and because of that, I pushed myself to keep going because I found myself being frustrated that the storyline was so convoluted and difficult to follow. My hope was that it would all come together at the end, and it did, for sure, but I think I would have given up after the first few chapters if I weren't listening to it.
It was captivating from start to finish! I also enjoyed the author's note at the end. The readers did a great job portraying the characters in a believable way.
I really loved this book - I've been reading a bunch of novels and non fiction about ww2 and this one was on my list. I really enjoyed it - a great story with fun characters and a great way to telling the story of German held France. I of course cried while running a couple times which was a bit embarrassing but I got through it.
The narration was so great - think reading would have lost some of its magic.
The characters were wonderful and the twists were a genuine suprise!!
I believed them completely - they were the characters.