The Hidden Life of An Englishwoman in Wartime France

Book - 2014
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When Nicholas Shakespeare stumbled across a box of documents belonging to his late aunt, Priscilla, he was completely unaware of where this discovery would take him and what he would learn about her hidden past. The glamorous, mysterious figure he remembered from his childhood was very different from the morally ambiguous young woman who emerged from the trove of love letters, photographs, and journals, surrounded by suitors and living the dangerous existence of a British woman in a country controlled by the enemy. He had heard rumors that Priscilla had fought in the Resistance, but the truth turned out to be far more complicated. As he investigated his aunt's life, dark secrets emerged, and Nicholas discovered the answers to the questions over which he'd been puzzling: What caused the breakdown of Priscilla's marriage to a French aristocrat? Why had she been interned in a prisoner-of-war camp, and how had she escaped? And who was the "Otto" with whom she was having a relationship as Paris was liberated? Piecing together fragments of one woman's remarkable and tragic life, Priscilla is at once a stunning story of detection, a loving portrait of a flawed woman trying to survive in terrible times, and a spellbinding slice of history.
Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, 2014
Characteristics: 423 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780062297044


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Dec 09, 2015

I found the overview of this book very misleading. It directs one's thinking towards the idea that there is going to be something significant revealed about the author's aunt. and her activities during the 2nd World War. However, she turns out to be a pretty promiscuous woman, and the most significant thing is that she had affairs with upper level Nazis. No spying, no contribution to the war effort. Very disappointing read.

Mar 07, 2015

The author excavates the life of his aunt, Priscilla, who lived in France during WW II. The unfolding of his process of uncovering his aunt's life and the picture he paints of Occupied France are both interesting. However, the author seemed to have a somewhat typically negatively biased view of France, and Priscilla really had no redeeming qualities, so I became disinterested in the story in the end.

Oct 16, 2014

Complex history of the author's aunt and her life both before, during and after WW2. It's an interesting story, making one wonder what one would do in order to survive. It's easy to look back, now that we know how the war ended, and tsk our heads off, but caught in the middle of it all? Who knows how any of us would respond and what we might find ourselves doing in order to not lose our lives. Opens up lots of questions to talk about. This would be an excellent choice for a book club.


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