Biography, Book Review, Historical Fiction

Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.

Code Name: Lise is the first biography I have picked up in a long time. I rarely read books based during World War 2 as it is an era that does not interest me as the ancient world does, but this time, I made an exception. This story caught my attention, and I was ready to get back into biographies. This book did not disappoint me.

What I liked about this biography was it did not feel like I was reading a textbook. I have in the past read biographies written in that way but kept on because I wanted to know about the person. This one, if I did not pick this book up, I would have thought it was a typical fiction book. The book was written beautifully, and, in a way, I could understand what was happening. The pacing of this book was perfect for the book. Research notes and pictures did not pull me out of the story as they have in the past. I felt the research throughout the novel (or as best as I can tell. I know nothing about France and Germany).

What I enjoyed was in the back of the book, the notes. The author did not stop where Odette’s war story left off. It is sad hearing people complain about Odette’s story not being real. What she went through was proof enough. The author explains the difference between highly decorated and most decorated. I did not know there was a difference and thought it was nice to see the visual between the differences. How he met Odette’s granddaughter and great grandchildren. There are other notes and such in the back, but I found these interesting.

I knew, ahead of time, what I was possibly getting into because of this book being in World War 2. But it was still sad reading what all Odette Sansom went through. She was smart and I believe brave. She was selfless from how I read this, because she was putting other people ahead of herself. She had the Gestapo focus the torture on herself instead of her colleague. There were many points in this book I had to curl my toes and fingers. I knew things were cruel but reading about it from someone who went through it, makes one realize it was crueler than you can imagine. I could visualize everything going on, because of how Loftis wrote.

If you are looking for a World War 2, women’s fiction, spy, or a good biography, I would recommend this book. I am ready to learn about another woman spy and possibly read another book by this author.

I give this book a 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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