D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose

D-Day Girls

Sarah Rose

Rigorously researched and written with razor-sharp wit, D-Day Girls is an inspiring reminder of what courage—and the energy of politically animated women—can accomplish when the stakes seem incalculably high.

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The dramatic, untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory in World War II

“Gripping. Spies, romance, Gestapo thugs, blown-up trains, courage, and treachery (lots of treachery)—and all of it true.”—Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake

In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was on the front lines. To “set Europe ablaze,” in the words of Winston Churchill, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) was forced to do something unprecedented: recruit women as spies. Thirty-nine answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France.

In D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose draws on recently de­classified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the thrilling story of three of these remarkable women. There’s Andrée Borrel, a scrappy and streetwise Parisian who blew up power lines with the Gestapo hot on her heels; Odette Sansom, an unhappily married suburban mother who saw the SOE as her ticket out of domestic life and into a meaningful adventure; and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent member of French colonial high society and the SOE’s unflap­pable “queen.” Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence—laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.

Rigorously researched and written with razor-sharp wit, D-Day Girls is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance: a reminder of what courage—and the energy of politically animated women—can accomplish when the stakes seem incalculably high.

Praise for D-Day Girls

“Rigorously researched . . . [a] thriller in the form of a non-fiction book.”Refinery29

“Gripping history . . . thoroughly researched and written as smoothly as a good thriller, this is a mesmerizing story of creativity, perseverance, and astonishing heroism.”Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

“The mission is this: Read D-Day Girls today. Not just for the spy flair—code names, aliases, and operating covers—but also because this history feels more relevant than ever, as an army of women and girls again find themselves in a fight for the common good.”—Lily Koppel, author of The Astronaut Wives Club

Advance Galley Reviews

Thank you to First to Read and Penguin Random House for this ARC. D-Day Girls is about the women who worked against the Nazis in WWII to regain control of France. I would love to know how women were ever seen as weak and inferior. In this story, they were braver, tougher and more loyal than any of their male counterparts. But even after the war, the women that were even honored received a "Civil" honor instead of a "Military" honor. The jumpers needed 5 jumps to get paratrooper wings. So don't worry, the women were only given four jumps so they couldn't receive their wings. It was a very interesting and eye-opening read. If you are interested in this time period, please read it!

I enjoyed reading this novel and am glad that the role of women in the war is highlighted. I know that I did not have a true understanding of all that women did during that time and it has made me curious to look further into the topic. I recommend and appreciate this read.

I loved this novel. The book makes you think of how it was for woman in the war. we always get the stories the men tells but this was how it was for the woman. the book was hard to put down. I have not read many books like this but this one intrigued me when first saw it, as soon as I started reading it I was reading it so quickly and wanted to read more. The Authors write is the best that I have read in a long time!

D-Day Girls is full of historical information, written in a way that keeps the reader wanting more. Rose writes the good bad and the ugly for both sides. She also covers aspects that most writers don't cover, at least not in this detail. I highly recommend this book- be alert that there are al ot of idioms used that the reader may not be used to.

What peaked my interest when I first heard about this book was that it featured women who risked their lives to help win World War 2. I love reading these type of non-fiction books because it feels like for far too long the role women played in the war was largely ignored. It's nice that as more and more these books are published, these heroic women are finally getting some recognition. Even though I have read quite a few non-fiction books featuring women during the war, almost all of the ones I have read have been about American women. So it was good change of pace for me to see just how tough and strong European women were during this period of history. The book mainly follows three women who were recruited as spies which at the time was pretty much unprecedented. Let's face it, most people back then thought the ways women could contribute to the war effort was by knitting scarves or tending to wounded soldiers. Women willing to risk their lives to help win the war was a hard concept for many people to grasp. This book provided a good starting off point for learning about these courageous females although I wouldn't say it was my favorite WW2 read. It is a decent read though so if the topic interests you, I recommend giving this one a look. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

This is a well researched history of three women trained by SOE in Britain and dropped into France before D-Day. It details their work in a country torn apart by war and under the control of the Nazis. It’s a disturbing, scary, and inspiring book.

I love reading about WWII. Sara Rose’s D-Day Girls is a non-Fiction account of women recruited by British Intelligence to be spies in France, Rose had access to recently declassified files, interviews, and other historical information to write this book. The courage and resilience of these women is amazing. I have ordered the book so I can check the excellent background notes as I am reading, I would suggest strongly that the reader will want to read this account in book format rather than as a e-book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading D-Day girls! The bravery and courage of these women need to be shared, and I'm so glad it's done in Rose's writing. The story was vivid and captured my attention from the very start; Rose did an excellent job of immersing the reader in time-period and holding your attention from beginning to end. As a lover of history, I did not mind certain parts of the book that felt slightly like a textbook, in my opinion, it added to the atmosphere and setting of the story. If you are a lover of historical fiction (especially focused on women) this is definitely the book for you, as for me, I cannot wait to see what Rose writes next!.

This is an excellent book. I used to say I didn’t like non fiction books, but this is another one in a series of excellent non-fiction books I’ve read this last year. D-day girls might be the absolute best one though. The stories of the women in this book are engaging and emotional. What they did and the stories the author told, seemed incredible and almost fictional. I learned so much about that period in time and some amazing women that were part of the conflict. And the author’s voice and writing shines through the book, in a way that makes everything even more personal. I could not put this book down, and read as fast as I could handle. I will be gifting and recommending this book often in the near future. If you, like me, love stories of super heroes and spies, I urge you to grab this book. Captain Marvel might be incredible, but those women were real people and much more incredible.

This is a real good, educating account telling the story of some women's efforts behind the lines, in the resistance efforts of WWII in France. They were a part of a then new secret agency, set up by Churchill, to conduct sabotage & espionage against Hitler's invaders, in preparation for the Allied invasion to liberate France.....integral to providing 'unending harassment' to the Third Reich. I think the cover art of this book might be like a metaphor for the content....it sort of makes it look like this might be a light/easy read, but this might be deceiving....as it's quite serious content, about very dangerous business & risks taken by these women behind the lines. They lived as operatives for years under/in deception & many died or were tortured for their cause. I thought the author really did a good job of making this history very readable & I appreciate what I learned in reading this. I liked that at the end she let the reader know what happened to some of the women after the war. The title is appropriate, & I do think the cover art is fitting. I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read Giveaway program, in exchange for reading it & offering my own fair & honest review.

D-Day Girls gives a more historically focused background on three female spies set during World War 2. The story isn't as engaging as I thought it would be and it took me a while to read it. If you are looking for a story that is more about the inner workings of a spy and less about the women who were the spys then this book would be a good choice.

D-Day Girls Sarah Rose D-Day Girls is an excellently written book about the history of World War II as it took place in England and France. It is a book that is suppose to be about the women who served during the last years of the war helping to interrupt the Nazis and support the British and French resistance fighters. I was expecting a story in a novel form following the women, instead I found it to read more like a history professor’s lecture notes that someone decided to write up into book form. I felt that there was really very little said about the women, except for the last chapter that gave an epilogue on each woman. If you are someone who is interested in World War II you will find this a well written and interesting read. I received this from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

A relatively (and hitherto shamefully) unexplored corner of study on the second World War is given due in this gripping, transporting, and meticulously researched work of nonfiction. Sarah Rose, in prose alternately ornate and cynical, captures the interweaving tales of female operatives dropped by Britain into Nazi-occupied France to build the Resistance and pave the way – in codes, forgery, caches, bombs, and ears on the ground – for 1944’s D-Day and the fight to reclaim the continent. This effort demythologizes some of the prominent, male personalities that hold the lion’s share of historical attention and instead attends to the shadowy world of saboteurs and special operatives, among them four or so prominent women, that lived in the most dangerous towns and cities in France. Rose’s portrayals can be hard and vinegary, notwithstanding the relative awe one must feel for such protagonists. The bitterness of war and subsequent anonymity of subversive combatants is communicated in the telling – even D-Day offers meager solace in the footpath of the strains and suffering these agents experienced. The narrative drifts, at times, from the titular focus to continue providing an overall picture of the war that changed the world, but the depth of context and study, supplemented by a lively bibliography, is evidence of the daunting task at hand. This ARC was offered through Penguin First to Read, and I hope the text receives attention in accordance with the credit and commendation due to its subjects.

In an environment where there are a tremendous amount of novels being written about the role of women in World War I and World War II, D-Day Girls is actually a non-fiction reconstruction of the roles a group of women played in France during World War II. I recently read "The Lost Girls of Paris" by Pam Jenoff, but preferred this because it provided more background on the war, was about real women who served as spies and radio operators, and provided more depth on the women and the harrowing danger they faced. While it focuses most prominently on several women including Odette, Lise and Andree, it also covers the course of the war from the point the British decided to mobilize women in France up until the victory of the Allies. At points it gets a little disjointed because it's trying to thread together general history plus the personal stories of the women, and at the end I can sense some personal feelings about the lack of recognition for the women (and for the British from the French) creeping in from the author but I still enjoyed it. While the cover art is nice, I'm not big on it for a non-fiction novel. I feel like artwork could cause it to be perceived as a novel instead of non-fiction and does some disservice to Rose on trying to provide actual historical fact.

D Day Girls focuses on the background training and daily details of three female spies who decided to devote their lives to fighting Hitler’s forces, mostly in France. I would say it isn’t a suspenseful story about the three spies and their cohorts. It seems the author’s purpose is to pass along historical information leading up to D Day, with specific information about spy preparations. There were many valuable skills to learn, among them forgery, sabotage, arson, and even how to create a distracting human scent. It’s interesting, but I would have preferred more personal suspense.

This is an excellent book. The author explores the women behind the scenes during WWII. Rose explored declassified files and brings the story of these incredible women to light. World War II stories have always been intriguing and they continue to attract readers. I liked how the author followed through with what happened to the women after the war.

I enjoy reading the details of women working behind-the-scenes during times of war, or any time, really! These stories are often ignored/overlooked, so I appreciate authors like Sarah Rose doing the research to bring them to a wider audience. More books like these, please!

I found this book very interesting.


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