In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessive colleague in a hotel in South Kensington. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising, but that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable. She was one of Britain’s most daring and highly decorated secret agents, and the intelligence she gathered was a significant contribution to the Allied war effort.
©2012 Clare Mulley (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
"Engrossing…as thrilling as any fiction" (Mail on Sunday)
"Compulsively readable... Clare Mulley…has written a thrilling book, and paid overdue homage to a difficult woman who seized life with both hands" (Sunday Telegraph)
"A stunning biographical achievement." (Alison Weir)
Christine Granville was a fascinating and captivating woman (at least to the men who knew her), but her outstanding characteristics were patriotism, courage, and determination. Her courage was amazing: some of her exploits had me on the edge of my seat and she narrowly escaped with her life several times, as well as saving the lives of many others. She attracted the loyalty of the men to whom she was close both in her private life and undercover work (with much overlap between the two), so much so that much of her story remained hidden until Clare Mulley conducted the painstaking research which forms the basis of this book. The Spy who Loved is interesting from the beginning to the sad end and, as well as detailing Christine's extraordinary life, it presents a lot of information about Poland, undercover operations, relationships during wartime, sexism in that era, and what happened to secret agents after the war. Maggie Mash is a very competent reader and does a fine job with this book.
"Fascinating life story"
I was fascinated by the story and all the events of this amazing womans life. I also learnt so much about Poland that I had not realised before. I think the style might be harder work to read than to listen to but I was so interested in all the details, maybe partly because I have Polish family.
The occasions where she faced down dangerous situations so calmly.
No, but I though it was very well read
The horrors of war are always hard to listen to, so there are some very disturbing passages.
"Marred by the narration"
This tells the story of a Polish born woman with a Jewish mother finds herself entangled in dangerous courrier work during the Second World War and it also recounts her somewhat chaotic love life. The story is interesting in itself and when the narrator contents herself to read the biography in her normal voice it is an enjoyable listen and she reads well. Unfortunately she finds it necessary to 'enliven' the direct quotes from various sources with a number of grating imitations of Polish, French and other accents which are very inaccurate and her impersonations of gruff male voices are extremely irritating to say the least. Whenever she attempts to characterise the female lead she also uses a sort of high pitched whine which makes listening unbearable.
I think narrators should retain a neutral tone when reading biographies. Had this narrator done so the book would have been a five star rating for me.
"Could have been much more entertaining"
No. I found this book rather dull. I know it is a fact based story, but I feel it could have been made more interesting.
Not at all. What these women did through the war holds a huge fascination.
I found her tone a bit aggressive.
I learnt something of the history of Poland, stuff you don't tend to hear much of.
A string of facts collected together in an uninteresting way.
I'm afraid I gave up on this and didn't finish. I got about a quarter of the way through. I couldn't tell if it was flat reading or flat writing but it just became tedious and I didn't care what she did next. It ought to have been an exciting tale given the life she lead, but it wasn't.
"A story about amazing courage."
This is an account of the extraordinary exploits of a Polish aristocrat who spied for Britain during WWII. She was beautiful and clever, and possessed nerves of steel and amazing courage. We should put up statues to such people who risked their lives in terrifying times, yet this woman was treated with far less than the adulation she deserved at the end of the war. As a Brit I was ashamed to discover how the "Establishment" dropped her like a hot potato once their need for her was over. I am sure a man would never have been so poorly treated, yet this brave lady's story was unknown to me before listening to this well-researched book. Excellent reading and never to be forgotten true story.
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