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The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck: A Book Review

The Invisible Woman
Author: Erika Robuck
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: 2021
Pages: 365
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In the depths of war, she would defy the odds to help liberate a nation…a gripping historical novel based on the remarkable true story of World War II heroine Virginia Hall, from the bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl.

 

     France, March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn't like the other young society women back home in Baltimore—she never wanted the debutante ball or silk gloves. Instead, she traded a safe life for adventure in Europe, and when her beloved second home is thrust into the dark days of war, she leaps in headfirst.


     Once she's recruited as an Allied spy, subverting the Nazis becomes her calling. But even the most cunning agent can be bested, and in wartime trusting the wrong person can prove fatal. Virginia is haunted every day by the betrayal that ravaged her first operation, and will do everything in her power to avenge the brave people she lost.


     While her future is anything but certain, this time more than ever Virginia knows that failure is not an option. Especially when she discovers what—and whom—she's truly protecting.

     

     My Review: Virginia Hall was one of WWII’s most successful spies. Yet, she is often overlooked. In The Invisible Woman, Virginia tells the story of her missions as a spy. She is considered to be one of the most wanted spies by the Nazis. Thus, she avoids the wanted posters by disguising herself as an old woman. Could Virginia manage to work for the Resistance while being invisible or would the Nazis discover her disguise?


     I have heard of Virginia Hall while reading Sonia Purcell’s excellent biography called A Woman of No Importance. Therefore, I was eager to see a dramatized retelling of her life. I thought Mrs. Robuck did an excellent job in making Virginia a complex woman. Mrs. Robuck fleshes out Virginia’s story. We do not know her background. Her past slowly unravels throughout the novel. Virginia is a person who has a hard time to trust. This made her appear frigid and reserved. The novel shows Virginia’s weaknesses and insecurities. I found Virginia’s attitude to be very understandable. She was also a determined woman who never stopped trying to get her revenge. Therefore, Virginia was very strong-willed. Thus, while it was hard for me to warm up to Virginia because of her aloofness, I still found her relatable.


     Overall, this novel shines light on an important but forgotten spy. The characters are very complex. While there were a few unnecessary scenes, I thought the story was fast-paced! It read like a thriller! It was written in a dark tone and had suspense, action, and revenge! The novel is very emotional and gripping. There were a few horrific scenes in the novel that made me a bit uncomfortable. Still, I thought the author did an excellent job in portraying the horrors and traumas of war. I recommend this novel for fans of The Brass Compass, Mistress of the Ritz, and The Lost Girls!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 


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