Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Barely out of school and doing her bit for the British war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that makes her stand out—she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the SOE, the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. Drawn into this strange, secret world at the age of nineteen, she finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a “school for spies,” and ultimately, one autumn night, parachuting into France from an RAF bomber to join the WORDSMITH resistance network.
But there’s more to Marian’s mission than meets the eye of her SOE controllers; her mission has been hijacked by another secret organization that wants her to go to Paris and persuade a friend—a research physicist—to join the Allied war effort. The outcome could affect the whole course of the war.
A fascinating blend of fact and fiction, Trapeze is both an old-fashioned adventure story and a modern exploration of a young woman’s growth into adulthood. There is violence, and there is love. There is death and betrayal, deception and revelation. But above all there is Marian Sutro, an ordinary young woman who, like her real-life counterparts in the SOE, did the most extraordinary things at a time when the ordinary was not enough
I don't remember where I first heard about this book, but it seems like lately it has been turning up in several magazines I read. It seemed like a book I would like - a mix of historical fact and a good story, so I downloaded it and was not disappointed when I finished listening. Usually I prefer to read a book, but in this one the narrator was British with a great French accent so it really helped get into the characters and locations. The history behind the women spies of the SOE is fascinating to me. I have done a little extra reading and am so impressed with the women who were recruited by and worked for this organization. Part of me would love to live such an exciting/daring life, but most of me is grateful to be able to live a safe, relatively non-eventful life. Better to read about and live it vicariously. I found myself really liking the characters in the book, especially Marian. It was easy to root for her and get caught up in her missions. I thought I had the ending figured out and was not too thrilled with what I expected for her. When there was a plot turn I was pleasantly surprised, then shocked when it made another turn and ended in a way I didn't expect. It wasn't a very tidy ending so I find myself thinking about it a lot and wondering about the rest of the story for Marian. I think that is the mark of a good book - one that keeps you thinking. I thought it was a great read and would definitely recommend it.