A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies in Occupied France

Susan Ottaway. Little, Brown, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-32698-8
Ottaway (Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have) relates the harrowing true story of Eileen Nearne and her sister, Jacqueline, both British agents with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) who worked with the French Resistance in WWII. The story opens when Eileen, known to her family as “Didi” and to neighbors only as a sprightly yet reclusive old lady, dies at age 89. Strange papers are found among her possessions, and her history is revealed when her only descendant, a niece, is found. Eileen, along with her sister, was able to pass as French; Didi worked as a wireless operator sending messages between the Resistance and the SOE while Jacqueline served as a messenger, traveling all over France with packages, helping with missions, and establishing new agents. Jacqueline’s workload and constant movement threatened her health, but Didi’s was ruined when she was captured by the Germans and sent to a series of work camps until finally escaping. Both sisters were decorated for their wartime service, and Ottaway’s riveting account details the risks they took, the friends and colleagues they lost, and their family’s fate during the war. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 09/30/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-316-32697-1
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