The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff -
As WWII rages, Eleanor sees the potential that women could fulfill gathering intelligence behind enemy lines in France. Despite opposition from men in high places, she is allowed to recruit some of Britain’s most intelligent and capable young women and train them to be spies. One such young single mother is Marie, who soon finds herself billeted above a cafe the Nazis frequent on the outskirts of Paris. It isn’t long, though, before things start to go wrong, and Marie and Eleanor are both called upon to act with bravery in very different ways.
This book has received a lot of hype, and is well-written and fascinating. Fans of The Alice Network will enjoy revisiting the inside view of female spies in France during the war, and I enjoyed Jenoff’s portrayal of the female agents working side by side with their male counterparts, as opposed to The Alice Network’s all female team (which I also enjoyed immensely). My only complaint is a matter of personal reading preference, in that I dislike watching characters make bad decisions, that they know are bad, and they choose the wrong choice anyway. This novel is one whose final third hinges on a choice Marie has to make, and it pained my heart so much to be there with her, weighing the options, then purposely making the choice that she knew was wrong, and living through the horrendous and far-reaching consequences. It just hurts my heart to see someone in real life or in fiction go through that pain and its aftermath. Anyway, if you are a WWII or female spy fan, I think you’ll love this one.