Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in Verity's own words, as she writes her account for her captors.
©2012 Elizabeth Gatland (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Over the course of the last few months, I've read three books set in Nazi-occupied France: "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr, "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah, and "Code Name Verity". All three of these books came highly recommended, with rave reviews. All were award-winning novels - the Doerr book even won a Pulitzer. All of them are compelling and kept me glued to the page. But by far, "Code Name Verity" is my favorite of the three.
I think a large part of that is the fact that, while all three of these books contain elements of hope and tragedy, "Verity" features a balance of humor as well. The other two, I suppose, are "serious" novels. But I can appreciate characters who can sometimes - even in the worst of circumstances - laugh at themselves and the mad world around them.
All in all, I can't really recommend this book too highly. It is one I will certainly read over and over again. :)
Code Name Verity opens with a young woman, a prisoner of the Germans in France during World War II, writing the confession they have demanded of her, in order to escape the torture she hasn't been able to withstand. As the story progresses, it become clear we are getting the stories of two young women. Onc is Maddie, daughter of a bicycle shop owner, who rescues a pilot from a crashed plane, starting a chain of events leading to her becoming a transport pilot once the war starts. The other is a young woman called Queenie, initially a wireless operator, who speaks German. She gets recruited first as a translator, and then as an interrogator.
Both women want to contribute more directly to the war effort.
In alternating chapters, we get the prisoner's account of Maddie's experiences, and her meeting with and growing friendship with Queenie, and the prisoner's experiences in the hotel the Germans have made their prison. And, gradually, we begin to understand her motivation and the real goal of her actions.
There's lots of tension and excitement, here, but also lots of character development. Wein explores what was until recently a largely overlooked part of the war: the participation of women in quite dangerous, critical wartime activities, including both espionage and the movement of planes. This was both an absorbing novel, and a fascinating look at a part of the war that was neither armed clashes nor cracking codes.
I bought this book.
Beautiful, sad, heart warming. An emotional ride. Couldn't put it down, I always wanted to know what would happen next to the characters. Although this is fiction, you know that events in this book probably did happen to real people.
Such an entertaining story and very well read; thoroughly entertaining!
The characters were all wonderful, I found myself becoming very fond of the main characters, even the Scottish accent was believable.
I'd take almost any of the characters out to dinner, but would leap at the opportunity to dine with the author!
The Second World War was a unique time in history, especially for women. This is a tale that sheds light on a corner of that history more often than not overlooked.
The book was good. It kept me interested, but not on the edge of my seat. It's not one of those that you hang on to see what's going to happen next. It's just a very pleasant story. Narrator was great!
I didn't really understand what was going on until chapter 17. It wasn't as gripping as I wanted it to be. the narrator was fantastic. I can see why so many reviewers loved it, but for me it wasn't a bullseye.
I wish I hadn't waited to listen to this book! I've seen this book on the website and in book stores. It sounded interesting, but I always hesitated. I am so glad I finally listened to it.All of the characters were riveting. I am a bit of WWII historical fiction fan, but there were a couple of things that caught me by surprise!
At it's heart it is a story about friendship, sacrifice, and survival.
Elizabeth Wein writing rang completely true and both Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell were excellent.
It is such a compelling story. Beautiful to listin to. It made me think about my own courage and ability to go into dangerous places to fight for freedom.
Into the light I cannot see
I was able to get a strong sense of the women's personality and their friendship.
A wonderful story about a terrible time in history but adventures of a beautiful and loyal friendship.
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