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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I'm shocked it would be considered a children's book. As a career teacher, mother and grandmother I consider the book far too violent for children. The sadistic torture of the prisoners is NOT something I personally want to hear about and certainly don't want children reading. Other than that one point, it was a good story and very well narrated.
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
"THIS. IS. BRILLIANT."
YES. And I have, many times. It''s just one of those books that you feel like you have to read/listen to over and over again until you understand it to the extent.
I can't choose! I have so many favourites, but it possibly might be the "Kiss me Hardy! Kiss me, quick!" scene. It's certainly the most memorable. I think any of the moments with the good quotes are my favourite anyway ("Fly the plane, Maddie", "We make a sensational team" and "It's like falling in love, discovering your best friend" are just a few).
Morven Christie's reading as 'Queenie' was exceptional, I think. It was just like the characters my head, except maybe a bit older. There were moments where you really wouldn't remember that she was being tortured in a Gestapo headquarters, but then she would drop back into the present tense and it was like being hit in the face. Lucy Gaskell's performance was also brilliant. At points, I prefered Christie's Maddie to Gaskell's, but her voice acting did make me sob my heart out at said favourite scene above. As pretending to be twenty-something year olds, I think they did amazingly.
I'm not sure. There are so many incredible one-liners in this book, but perhaps it would be something else.
I LOVE this book. It has ALL the emotions, ALL the feels, it made me laugh, cry and has now shot straight up to 'Favourite Book' spot. Elizabeth Wein, you are INCREDIBLE.
"Fascinating and well read/written"
An engaging story written from 2 friends perspectives.. Full of life and intrigue and thoroughly entertaining
The performances of the readers, the emotion in their voices and the way it was written had me weeping and smiling along with the characters. This is the best audiobook I have listened to.
"Great. Loved it."
Lots of detailed research baked into an ex citing narrative. I loved the little bit about the Pobble and his toes. Enjoyed the twists of the plot.
"Great adult and teenage read"
I really enjoyed this book, with several unexpected twists. It was well narrated. It provided an interesting insight as to some women's roles in the war.
"Tenderness amidst cruelty"
A gentle story of a friendship forged and then soured by war.
Heroism and dispair with a final bitter sweet ending.
"Friendship and truth"
I was a little unsure in the beginning where this book was going, but soon all was revealed. The narrators for Maddy and Julie really brought the performance to life, it showed true friendship, heroism and life during the war, including Julies time at the Gestapo torture chateau in France.
What I do love about this book, is the fact that its written about the unsung women who did very male roles during WW2. Women who were pilots, interrogators, spies and other secret service operators, who are sadly often forgotten, as they can never talk about what really happened during that time, due to the official secrets act.
Great read, thank you.
Although this is not a happy ending type novel it is a harrowing adventure of two young women and their friendship. I got lost in this story and thought it was beautifully read.
A wonderful, all engrossing book, full of tension. A great story, with light and dark, joy and sadness. Excellent narration.
"enjoyed the story"
I did enjoy it, wasn't sure if I would, got it free on a buy one get one fre offer, but I did, though I did always like some of bits they put Julie though.
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