THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
February 9, 2021
“An alpha female heroine, along with an engaging plot loaded with realism, makes for a captivating historical thriller. Even better, it’s all drawn from the life of a real American hero.”
~Steve Berry, NY Times and #1 International Bestselling Author
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
The Invisible Woman is based on the unforgettable, true story of famous World War ll spy Virginia Hall; also known as The Limping Lady, Diane, and Artemis. Virginia was an American, educated in Europe and had always dreamed of becoming a diplomat. After several rejections due to her disability, Virginia was noticed by Vera Atkins, a high-ranking intelligence officer with the British Special Operations Executive, or SOE. The SOE formed in 1940, aided Resistance groups, participated in espionage and sabotaged freight lines; anything to slow down the advance of the Nazis. The SOE joined forces with the American Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, established later in 1942. Their mission, reportedly issued by Winston Churchill, was to “set Europe ablaze.”
Erika Robuck’s prologue reveals Virginia’s American debutante upbringing and background, before fast forwarding, plunging readers into her return mission to France late in March 1944. Virginia, in her grey wig and old lady disguise and a price on her head, is only projected to survive for six weeks on this return mission. Each account of a “drop” or wireless transmission is filled with nervousness and anticipation of success or doom, exhilaration or death. The many villagers that participate in the Resistance, offering protection by way of a barn or shed in the woods, become a part of the family; another member to worry and pray and fret over! Readers are guaranteed a ticket and papers to “travel” the secret underground and listen for key messages in radio broadcasts, as Virginia and her teams navigate France in the attempt to defeat the Nazis.
Erika Robuck’s The Invisible Woman shines a well-earned glaring light on Virginia Hall and the brave, resourceful men and women involved in the Resistance. The Author’s Note is equally enthralling and compelling as the timelines and fates of characters are revealed.
Five “Very Visible, Very Important Stars!”
Readers will benefit from viewing the 2019 movie, A Call to Spy, which covers Virginia’s story up to the opening pages of The Invisible Woman. The character portrayals and scenery will bring the novel to life. A link to the trailer is added below. The nonfiction bestseller, A Woman of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell is also highly recommended.
A never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine.
In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”
The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.
Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.
Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall–an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.