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
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
The book was one of those rare pieces which are transformed as they develop so that everything which seems humdrum and uninspired as you listen to the first half suddenly becomes electric and exquisitely meaningful as the author shifts your perspective. It began for me as a two or three star listen and soared to five stars searching for a sixth as it engaged my heart and my head in the sudden truth it reveals. I now want to go back and listen to the first half with open eyes.
The reading is flat out masterful by both of the actresses. Perfect evocation of character; a low key delivery which heightens the impact of the most wrenching moments. And emotion which is unaffected and completely rooted in the truth of the narrative.
This is not an action packed adventure story. It develops slowly and requires some patience from the reader, although the character detail and the development of the relationship between the two women is charming, often funny and very rewarding. In the end, it is deeply satisfying and moving. One of my absolute favorite listens during the past year. I hope this review will lead to some of you having the same experience I had with it.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
When I saw this book on audible and read the reviews I had a picture in my mind of a woman piolet and a women wireless operator working together such as the piolet passing information to the operator while flying over dangerous area. Boy, was I wrong. Elizabeth Wein tells the story in a unique way and the use of two narrators was great. Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell really made the story work. The story grabbed me right away and kept my attention throughout. I was absorbed right into the story and felt I was there with them and part of the story. It takes a great author to do that to a reader. I found the comments by the author at the end of the book very interesting. She took real situation and placed her story heroines (which she made them a composite of real people) into a similar made up story making this a novel. Lady Julia was a polished, educated Scot aristocrats and I felt Mattie, the English girl piolet was someone just like me. I am sure other readers may feel this reversed. This is one of the best spy stories I have read it some time. There is humor, suspense, action, wrapped in a fascinating story.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
This is a wonderful book about war, bravery, and friendship. The setting is WWII in England and France. The story is told in the first person by two young women from very different backgrounds who became friends as they also became war heroes. Narration is superb. The book is great for everyone beginning in their early teens to dotage.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
A few weeks ago, I got this text message from my big sister, D-. "Good audio book suggestion: Code Name Verity. One of the best I've listened to". D- was right. So are all of the reviewers who say it's pretty impossible to write a review of this book that doesn't have spoilers.
Elizabeth Wein's 2012 "Code Name Verity" is marketed as a Young Adult book. I've got two teenagers, and I've read/listened to a fair number of books in this genre. Without sex, vulgarity, and fatuous self-involvement, this book stands out. Wein's historically accurate description of England as it entered WWII and its use of civilian planes - the (de Havilland) Puss Moth, the Tiger Moth - in war service is an intriguing bonus. The vocabulary isn't dumbed down, and it's definitely UK-flavored. I had to look up words like "gormless", which means clueless, stupid and dull, combined.
That made me wonder just what YA, as a genre means. Imogen Russell Williams, in a July 31, 2014, article in The Guardian says, "the sine qua non of YA is an adolescent protagonist, who will probably face significant difficulties and crises, and grow and develop to some degree - Patrick Ness described it as "finding boundaries and crossing them and figuring out when you end, who you are and what shape you are." The two protagonists are a little older - in their twenties - but otherwise, it does meet the criteria.
The book is set in World War 2, and there is violence in the book. It is disturbing, even though it's neither graphic nor gratuitous.
I can say, without giving away key plot points, that "Code Name Verity" is as much of a mindf*** as Gillian Flynn's 2012 "Gone Girl." There were several times I found myself thinking, "Wait, what???" and rewinding a couple of minutes because there'd been a twist so subtle I'd missed it.
Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell were fantastic narrators. Their accents really help set the place.
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Listen to about four audio books a months. Never without one.
Wonderful, but painful story of two women best friends during World War II. I, personally, can't summarize this book, without giving too much away. Excellent story, excellent narration. It will definitely stick with you. I, also, agree with another reviewer that I need to go back and listen to the book again. I highly recommend this book - especially if you enjoy WWII historical fiction - with an added plus that the main characters are women!
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I don't really know where to start; I can't say enough good things about this book. It's classified as young adult, but it is far more complex than much of YA literature, and holds its own as adult lit. The story itself is riveting, and the performances could not be better. The two protagonists are voiced perfectly. If the story itself weren't so compelling (which it is), you could just get lost in the characterizations. It's that beautiful. Neither narrator hits a wrong note. The writing is lovely, the story is intense and heartbreaking, and the two women are so *present* and believable. Just go listen to it!
This book has gotten much, much love from bloggers and Young Adult aficionados in general. Because girls! In World War II! And it's kind of a little bit dark with Nazis, toned down to YA levels.
Code Name Verity is a girls' adventure story about a pilot and a secret agent, both based in historical reality though the author admits in her afterword that she took a bit of fictional license to allow her young female pilot to fly a plane into occupied France.
As the book begins, Julie, the secret agent half of this best friends duo, is writing a confession to her German captors. She got caught as an enemy spy when she looked the wrong way crossing a street in France, and now she's in the hands of the SS. The first half of the book is her story. She is Scheherazade, trying to prolong her life by giving away secrets and playing mind-games with her captors, games she can't possibly win.
Then comes the second half, which is Maddie's tale, Maddie being the working class girl who became a pilot, who crashed in France, and now works with the French Resistance. She learns of Julie's capture and want to free her. Of course.
Much has been made in reviews of the "shocking twist," which I shall not spoil, but let's just say it is dramatic and moving but not wholly unexpected and certainly not as wrenching for adult readers who have read war stories before. Likewise, the horrors of the Nazi occupation are described, but the author spares the reader the worst.
This isn't a flaw in the book per se — not every war story has to be gory and brutal to excess, but I was constantly reminded that this was a YA novel meant to stir an emotional response. The focus is on Julie and Maddie's friendship and we are treated to long internal monologues regarding everything that passes through their heads.
The story was good and so was the writing, but despite the cleverness of an unreliable narrator, it seemed to be written to appeal to a different sort of reader. Code Name Verity tries very hard to yank your heartstrings and make you shiver with dread at appropriate times. For a teenage girl, this is maybe a near-perfect book. For me, merely decent.
war stories, I never choose to read them. much too sad & too depressing to come face to face w;ith our depravity. But this book was more than worth it. best story and performance ever
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
I usually really like historical fiction, particularly WWI or WWII timeframe. I found this one very fragmented, confusing and hard to follow. I don't feel that it's appropriate for YA readers or listeners. I kept trying to get in to the actual story line and just couldn't get vested in it,
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (historical fiction) - Code Name Verity is the story of two young women who each play a very important role in thwarting Hitler's advances in Europe. The first half is told by Verity, a radio operator who later becomes a spy. She is also referred to as Queenie, Ava Siler, First Officer Beaufort-Stewart and Julie, which can be a little confusing. She becomes a prisoner of war and is tortured into writing a confession, so her story alternates between her life in prison and flashbacks to events as they actually happened. (Her torture wouldn't have been a picnic, but I'm pretty squeamish and it didn't bother me to hear it.)
Maddy's story is approximately the last half of the book. She is a pilot who flies secret missions and is the one who flew Verity to Nazi-occupied France. Her story dovetails with and goes beyond Verity's.
I almost stopped listening several hours into the book because it seemed to be just the story of young women becoming best friends during the war, but as the secret missions started, etc., it got VERY interesting and intense.
PERFORMANCE - There are two young female narrators. Verity sounds Scottish and Maddy sounds more British, in keeping with their characters. There's also singing and a short performance by a male narrator. Everything is well-done.
OVERALL - (Actual rating 3.5) Very exciting book after the slow start. Since it occurs during World War II, there are mature themes. Guys won't like the female bonding part of the story but will enjoy the covert activities and historical background.
"Great narration of a great story"
A Carnegie medal short listed book. This was a story that kept me intrigued from start to finish with characters that I immediately warmed to. The two narrators added to the story.
Thank heavens this wasn't longer as I listened to it in one go and stayed up very late!
A beautifully written story of friendship at a time of adversity.
The actual story is gripping, confusing and inspiring.
One of those books which is a novel, but has been based on events if not individuals. Maddie and Queenie are enchanting characters who you only wish you could have met.
I remember many years ago speaking to a lady who had been in the S.O.E. in France, who still would not talk about what she had done, because of The Official Secrets Act and Queenie reminded me so much of her. Quiet people who did an incredibly dangerous job, and whose main concern was that they put others at risk.
This version is beautifully told with two voices to mark the divide.
Well worth a listen.
"I adored it!"
Oh yes, I have done and will. I will also recommend they try and get the audio version, as I think the narrators performance elevated the book to a higher level, and I did wonder if I would think it was as exceptional if I had just read it the traditional way. Why would I recommend it? Well because it's better than most books. It doesn't fall into the good while you are reading it, but forgettable category or an entertaining enough diversion, it is simply a great book. And great books are few and far between.
The two girls; their differences, their bravery and their love for each other. They were splendid.
I suppose I liked Julie best, but didn't get to know her very well under the circumstances. Maddie was lovely though, and heartbreaking and warm and brave.
oh God, yes. Both. And terribly sad...
I envy people who haven't read this as they get the chance to experience it for the first time.
"Best audiobook I've ever bought"
Absorbing, challenging, different
Blackout & All Clear - the same excellent storytelling and strong female characters.
That would give the plot away, but I can say, when the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
Both - but mostly cry as it's quite a harrowing story
The narrator was fantastic - really captured the different characters extremely well. It's very unusual to have a story with so many female characters that doesn't lose it's way having them focus of men - none of that here. The writer captures their characters in a rounded way and concentrates on the events that move the plot forward. Amazing book - one of those you think about when it's finished.
Absorbing, "page-turner", Intrigue.
Oh yes! I just could not stop listening!
Initially I couldnt see where it was going. I was tasked to read/listen to it, so I was determined to keep going with it. Then the intrigue got me and I just could not stop listening! I loved it. I certainly did not see the twist coming and when they started, they continued until the end of the book. Fantastic book! I will definitely be seeking more from this author and more from the readers. The performances were superb! 10/10!
I defy anyone to not shed a tear at the end. The book is full of humour, emotion and historical interest. A truly heart warming read.
"Such an amazing story; heart warming and wrenching"
This is one of the most gripping audiobooks I've listened to so far. I'd look forward to my walk to and from work, just to find out what happens.
If I had the time I could easily have spent hours just listening to this book.
It is just a great but plausible story that encapsulates an era of great risk, terror, heart break and courage but also of friendship, love and trust. There are lots of twists in this story and I loved the detail that went into it. I also enjoyed how it was written in two accounts and how all the threads come together in the end. A beautiful story of friendship and a harrowing account of war.
"A great listen!"
I listened to the audiobook and have to say that it was very well read, with two readers doing the separate sections (there are two narratives, each written by one of the two main characters). It was therefore a very enjoyable listen, and also a rather quick one. The story itself is very engaging. It is aimed at YA readers, but I would say that it no less a novel for adults. It is a historical novel which takes place during the second World War. The novel details the friendship of two young women, one of them a spy and the other a pilot. During a mission to France things go wrong and the spy almost immediately gets apprehended by the Germans. The first half of the novel is her "confession", written out for her interrogator in exchange for more time alive. However, things are not all what they seem here... but I really ought not to give much more away in terms of plot.
There are some fairly graphic descriptions of the methods of torture used by the Gestapo, and other scenes that are similarly shocking. The narrative is rather fast paced and despite the overall horror of the situation that Verity has found herself in, there are moments of humour since she is able - despite her suffering - to crack jokes about her interrogators and herself. There are numerous references to literature, such as Kim by Rudyard Kipling and to the poetry of Robert Burns. Verity is a well read young woman, in addition to her education in a Swiss private school. What I also found interesting about this character is her native background; she is a Scottish aristocrat and a descendant of Mary Queen of Scots and William Wallace (or so she claims - it is implied that perhaps we are not meant to take this at face value). Her Scottish roots are important to the story in some ways, and her insistence on being Scottish, not English, is repeated several times in the narrative. One thing that bothered me, though, is the fact that Verity states that Wallace's execution consisted of him being torn apart by four horses. This is grossly inaccurate, since Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered (horses were no part of it, except probably to draw the wooden hurdle that Wallace was strapped to and in which he was dragged to the place of execution). As a Scotswoman who is both fiercely patriotic and very much aware of Scotland's troubled and dramatic history, Verity would not make this mistake in reality.
All in all, this is an enjoyable and well written novel, and the story-line is in most parts a convincing one. There are, however, some plot developments for which this reader at least really had to consciously suspend disbelief in order to be able to enjoy the story to the full.
(this review originally published on Goodreads)
Tedious boring ,and laborious ,I was extremely disappointed ,I found it fragmented .i will be looking to returning this audio book
"Great read, listen to authors notes"
Wonderful story full of well crafted characters. I laughed out lied and wept big tears.
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