Two sisters. Two special agents. One War.
Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice is the incredible true story of British special agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, two sisters who risked everything to fight for our freedom during the Second World War.
The death of an eccentric recluse is rarely an event to be given more than a few lines in a local newspaper. But when, in September 2010, police were called to a tiny, cluttered flat in Torquay and discovered the body of local "cat lady" Eileen Nearne, they also found a small bundle of possessions that told an amazing story.
For Eileen Nearne had been an agent for the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, going undercover in Nazi-occupied France to send wireless messages of crucial importance to the Allies. Astonishingly, Eileen was not the only special agent in the family - her sister Jacqueline had also been an SOE. Rarely had two members of the same family sacrificed so much to such dangerous work.
Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice pays tribute to these fiercely patriotic women with hearts of courage, who fought for freedom at much personal cost. While Jacqueline narrowly avoided capture several times, tirelessly couriering secret documents for the resistance, Eileen was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo before being incarcerated at Ravensbrück concentration camp. She was only 23.
This is a true story of triumph and tragedy, of two sisters who sacrificed themselves to defend our freedom, who stood shoulder to shoulder during the darkest of days.
©2013 Susan Ottaway (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
I had credits building up and so took a punt on this book after reading reviews of the hard copy on Amazon. It really was as flukey as that.
Well, this turned out to be a literally unputdownable audiobook, so much so that I listened to it in virtually a single sitting (pausing only for lunch).
Adjectives don't adequately capture the engrossing, page turning nature of this tale which evokes, through the excellent reading of a brilliantly constructed text an almost unbelievably tense and courageous story.
I'm aware that my hyperbole could put potential listeners off, but I hope that it doesn't - courage of the kind described here reminds one of the selfless people who won our liberty and whose existence must be celebrated (spoiler alert - at last!).
I am left, after my marathon listen, informed, exhausted, amazed, saddened, frustrated and exhilarated (oops - those pesky adjectives).
So much given, so little asked.
It's a true story and I would ( and have ) recommended it to friends.
There are some gripping moments in the book, it's not presented as a novel really more a straight conveying of the facts but I still felt the emotions the ladies must have had particularly when working in nazi occupied France and being at risk of discovery and torture.
I do feel it might have been better told as a " story " rather than the simple relaying of facts, it might have brought the story more to life, I did however enjoy it and feel it was worth putting up with the slightly stilted style to learn about these brave sisters and their unsung heroism .
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