Code Name Butterfly
by Embassie Susberry
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Pub Date 04 Jan 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Avon Books UK, Avon
Inspired by the incredible true story of Josephine Baker in the French Resistance, this is a heart-wrenching, unforgettable tale of the strength of the human spirit in the darkest days of World War II.In the City of Light, one woman will stand against darkness.
Paris, 1941. With Nazi occupation imminent, journalist Elodie Mitchell plans to return home to Chicago. But an unexpected invitation to a Josephine Baker show changes everything.
Mistaken for the star, Elodie is whisked backstage, where she uncovers an underground resistance movement hidden beneath the glitz and glamour.
Drawn into a whisper network of spies, Elodie accepts a perilous mission: to go undercover as Josephine's cousin and gather vital intelligence.
In a world on the edge of darkness, Elodie must summon unwavering courage to protect her beloved adopted city and its people – and getting caught is not an option.
A wartime epic about love, bravery and fighting against prejudice in all its forms, perfect for fans of Kate Quinn, Marie Benedict and Pam Jenoff.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 72 members
What a great story! I really enjoyed reading about Elodie (what a gorgeous name) and Josephine’s adventures in the resistance trying their best to help the French resistance fight against the Nazi’s. Josephine Baker was a real person and this book had me googling her to find out more. I love reading books about the French resistance and this didn’t let me down at all. I got so into the book, that I forgot that it actually started in the present day with a family doing family history research and was only reminded of it again at the end of the story.
Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Great book! I love WW II historical fiction and this didn’t disappoint.
Paris, 1941. Elodie Mitchell has found living in Paris very different to her hometown of Chicago and where she was raised by her aunt and uncle who have strong Christian values. Elodie is a journalist and studying her master’s degree and she sends articles to a Chicago newspaper and about life in France.
Elly is worried about the Germans invading, she's thinking about returning home, until she meets a handsome stranger and he invites her to a show starring famous American cabaret artist Josephine Baker. Elly gets to go backstage after the performance, she discovers Ms. Baker is involved with an undercover network and Elly's keen to help.
They tell everyone she’s Josephine's cousin, she passes on information and anything she overhears to Grant Monterey. He’s a bit of an enigma, as part of the ruse they have to sometime pretend they’re a courting couple, to throw off any suspicions about them meeting and it makes Elly feel rather flustered. When it gets too dangerous the group all flee to the French countryside, they join the throngs of refugees on the congested roads, it’s slow going in the two cars and dangerous.
I received a copy of Code Name Butterfly by Embassie Susberry from Avon Books UK and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed how Christine, Elodie's granddaughter took a DNA test, she wanted to know about her family history and the whole novel is constructed around Elly's secret wartime exploits.
The fast paced narrative is based on the real life of Josephine Baker, an American dancer, singer, and actress, and a member of the French Resistance, and a coloured woman who fought chauvinism, racism and the Germans.
A well written historical fiction story about two brave, courageous and inspirational women, and the friendship and bond formed between them. The balance of characters is perfect and I liked and admired Josephine, Elodie, Polly, Danny, Pierre and the chemistry between Elodie and ex-Harlem Hellfighter Grant Monterey is smoldering hot. Five stars from me and I highly recommend.
Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this dual timeline book which is based on true events, about Josephine Baker as well as the French Resistance during WWII.
The story covered different issues. It kept you hooked, turning the page, with the dangers to the characters from being a spy and the war.
It’s so well written, well researched showing what the people living in France went through during the hard times.
I recommend this book.
A modern day fascination with DNA has led to many unexpected stories being discovered about family members, some hidden deep in the past and others more recent events simply never discussed with the family, considered by the people involved best left buried in the past. Every family has them, many remain undiscovered.
When a letter, along with a photograph from Ange-Marie Preston with information about Eldoie Mitchell otherwise known as le Papillon de Nuit, the famous Josephine Baker and her Grandfather, Elodie’s family are caught unaware, believing they knew all there was to know about the family history. But who is this woman that looks like a very young Elodie and why is she with Josephine Baker, wearing an outfit like that.
Elodie Mitchell is in France studying, as well as writing columns about the situation in France for a newspaper in her home town. It is 1941 and the French believe the war with Germany is a ‘Faux’ war. She does not!
She is lonely, fascinated with a man she sees often, and decides he is the man she will marry. She has decided that she will be out of Paris as soon as she can get onto a ship going to England. She is homesick, her spoken French still abysmal and her life, well....
Over a many weeks she is slowly recruited into an underground network by Grant Monteray to pose as Josephine Baker’s cousin, to gather information on German movement and infiltration in the area This sees her French improve rapidly and as she is taught a range of skills she surprises herself with how easily she adapts to the is new role. Slowly she learns to look and listen, seeking out those who are happy to betray the secrets of France to the Germans.
Already convinced Grant Monterey is her perfect match even though he is a damaged man, she discovers has she fallen deeply in love with him. Her new life is one she is not all that comfortable with, the new skills she is learning make her wonder who she really is underneath the skin of Elodie Mitchell.
Based loosely on the story of Josephine Baker, (1906-1975) a famous American born French Cabaret star and her activities in the French Resistance during the Second World War for her beloved France, Code name Butterfly is rich in detail, with characters that come to life as the pages turn. The innocence of youth, the tragedy and callousness of War, the effect that fighting for a just cause has on so much of what is held dear, has been well developed.
Fiction is often an excellent vehicle to tell stories about so many brave people whose stories have gone untold through the generations. Josephine Baker was very real, larger than life and generous too her detriment. The others, Elodie, Grant, Polly, Danny and Pierre are representative of the many who risked their lives to make a small difference.
Code Name Butterfly is captivating, coloured in many hues, and very difficult to put down once begun.
Journalist Elodie Mitchell was in Paris for six months, sending her pieces back to her paper in Chicago. It was 1941 and while Elodie loved Paris, the shimmer of war was on the periphery of her life. When a handsome stranger gave her tickets for a show featuring Josephine Baker, she was in two minds about going. But she went, and after the decadent, awe-inspiring show, she was invited backstage. Meeting Jo, plus subsequent events, turned Elly's life around as she realised what Jo and others were involved in...
With Elly now undercover as Jo's cousin, her role was an important one, and as she passed messages to the enigmatic Grant, some of the things she overheard led her to believe their safety was at risk. When they needed to flee Paris for the country, they joined the other refugees, desperate to escape the Nazis. Would they do it? Could they continue to fight against the Germans from far away?
Code Name Butterfly is a story of courage and strength, of bravery and love - and a fight against the deep prejudices the characters came up against on a daily basis. Based on fact, Code Name Butterfly brings Josephine Baker to life. She was born in June, 1906, in St Louis, Missouri, and was a French dancer, singer and actress. She was also the first black woman immortalised in France's Pantheon. (Fictional) Elly became great friends, almost like sisters, with Jo and together they made a wonderful team. Author Embassie Susberry has done an impeccable job with her research and bringing the courage and tenacity of people like Elly and Jo to her readers. Highly recommemded.
With thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
A book inspired by the true story of Josephine Baker during the French Resistance during World War II this is a book of strength, resilience, courage and bravery. This is the story of Elodie and how she became involved in spying for the French Resistance and how her life pans out from there.
I love Elodie and this, her story, is emotional but has both happy and sad moments. I find her courage amazing and her willingness to help a wonder. This is a gripping and intriguing historical fiction, the pages kept turning, the story kept me reading and I loved every minute of this well written and researched book.
Thank you NetGalley and Avon Books UK for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
I think I read somewhere that this was the author's first historical fiction. Let me just say that I look forward to more in the future. I hope there is more in the future.
The way this story was written was amazing. It is told through the eyes of an exchange student, Elodie Mitchell, studying French Literature. She is in France but isn't really living until she is approached by a man, Grant Montgomery. Tickets to Josephine Baker's show and after show is just the beginning of her learning to live.
She is soon recruited to assist the French resistance along side Josephine Baker and others. The reader walks with Elodie as she trains to be a spy. The reader is taken on a suspense filled dangerous missions. The reader witnesses dangers they encounter.
There are losses. There is love. This story has a happy ending in that Josephine, Elodie and Grant survive. To reach the ending the reader must suffer along with the characters. You will cry. Your heart will break. Anger will flow. In the end you will hopefully gain respect for all of the individuals within Josephine Baker's group helping to save France.
Intriguing and gripping story of a group of black Americans in France become enmeshed in France’s struggle to survive the Nazi’s. Elly is a journalist, raised in the US, who is just about to head home when she meets an intriguing man who gives her tickets to two Josephine Baker shows. When someone mistakes Elly for Josephine (even though they look nothing alike other than both being black women), Elly finds herself drawn in to the local resistance. She is asked to portray herself as Josephine’s cousin, and becomes part of a very small group working to gather information about Nazi activities and plans. Other members of the group include Polly, Josephine’s “maid” (really more of a friend and companion), Grant Monterey who is the leader, Pierre and Danny, both young men eager to fight the Nazi’s in a different way. While not about Josephine Baker per se, she figures largely in real and imagined events, as an active member of the resistance, and is the Butterfly in the title (her code name). Elly is the Moth or the “butterfly of the night” (which sounds much better in French!)
This book is not to be missed! I found I could not put it down; it’s exciting, unexpected, poignant and inspiring. It’s a coming of age story extraordinaire! Love, adventure, suspense, intrigue, Code Named Butterfly has it all.
Code Name Butterfly, by Embassie Susberry is a captivating historical novel inspired by the remarkable life of Josephine Baker in the context of the French Resistance during World War II. The book's portrayal of the City of Light during these tumultuous times is both vivid and haunting, offering readers a glimpse into an era marked by bravery and sacrifice.
The story centers around a courageous woman who becomes a beacon of hope in the face of overwhelming darkness. Her journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and the book explores themes of love, bravery, and the relentless fight against prejudice, highlighting the various forms it takes.
With its heart-wrenching narrative and unforgettable characters, Code Name Butterfly is a powerful and emotionally charged read that transports readers to a pivotal moment in history. It celebrates the strength of individuals who stood up against adversity, making it a must-read for anyone interested in World War II literature and stories of remarkable women who shaped the course of history.
I'd heard about Josephine Baker and her involvement in the French Resistance, but that's historical fact. How refreshing to have a novel about this courageous woman and her fight against the Nazis in WWII France.
It's well written and highly engaging and made me feel as if I was there. Well paced too.
I highly recommend this book to historical ficiton readers. You won't regret it.
Many thanks to the publishers, Netgalley and the author for this copy in advance.
An excellent historical fiction novel based on the story of Josephine Baker. Josephine was a black entertainer living in France where she was treated so much better than in the US. Elodie is a student temporarily living in Paris. She gets involved in the exciting world of Josephine and her entourage of other black and mixed raced friends. A story of how these brave and fascinating characters helped France during WW2 by joining the Resistance. Gripping and heart wrenching.
Elodie Mitchell is a young Americas black student in Paris and WWII is closing in. Sitting on a park bench one afternoon, she is approached by one, Grant Monterey who hands her tickets to see Josephine Baker perform. Not just one ticket, but two, the other for an after show. Our protagonist meets Josephine Baker back stage after seeing her perform and is suddenly drawn into a world of spying and espionage. Changing her plans to go back to Chicago, Elly is now part of the French Resistance all the while posing as Ms. Baker's cousin. This story covers many topics including family, racism,, courage and love as we journey with Elly and a small group of black Americans helping France at their time of need.
Well researched and well written, this book is highly recommended. My thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
CODE NAME BUTTERFLY is the first novel I have read by EMBASSIE SUSBERRY and it most definitely will not be the last! This WW11 story,which shows us the worst of man’s carnal, selfish nature, with its blatent prejudice and hatred, against the backdrop of occupied France, is a real page turner and one I highly recommend. The novel is exciting and inspirational as we follow a group of coloured Americans who give their all to save lives. Through an unexpected meeting with the famous entertainer Josephine Baker, journalist Elodie Mitchell, posing as Jo’s cousin, joins a spy network under the handsome but moody Grant Monterey….
I love the way the author describes the characters’ emotions and their strong friendships, in spite of their differences, and the passion that drives them to bring light into a dark world. We see their unconditional love, tremendous courage and fortitude as they go right into the lion’s den, as it were, to procure information for the Allies…..
As an aside, Elly’s love of French literature really spoke to me, having studied the beautiful language for many years!
I am not going to tell you any more for fear of spoiling things for you.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Avon Books. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
If you’re looking for a novel that captures the turbulent swirl of events from pre war Paris to life in France after the surrender of the French government in the summer of 1940 this could be the book for you. Like all the best accounts of these troubled times, the reader is kept abreast of events through the narrative that captures the everyday life of the protagonist Elodie (Ely), who meets the singer Josephine Baker and is drawn into the world of espionage and intrigue. The writing is executed beautifully and the reader is carried along, almost experiencing the atmosphere of the times. To say more would spoil the reader’s enjoyment, so suffice to say ‘highly recommended’.
As a big fan of WWII and history fiction books I was eager to read this one. I always find books based on real events more intriguing and this one didn’t disappoint. It was a little slow at the beginning but once into the story it became much more interesting.
The story was based on Josephine Baker and the French Resistance. As a black performer, she was treated better in France than USA. No one suspected her of being a resistance worker. Josephine slowly draws Ella a black American, studying in France into her circle of glamour and espionage. They face many interesting and dangerous situations together.
There is many layers in this book, from spying and the dangers of war, to a bit of romance. Many parts of this story were full of wisdom and the goodness of life. I found this added to the story and showed the character’s human side even during very trying times.
I would recommend this book to anyone and especially those who enjoy historical fiction. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an advanced copy of this story.
Embassie Susberry captures a new view on historical fiction on WWll in her novel Code Name Butterfly. It is about the lead up to the German invasion in Paris in 1940 and the decisions countless individuals had to make about leaving the city.
I truly enjoyed learning about the role Josephine Baker played in the French Resistance, the book is inspired by her amazing true story. As a coloured actress she was better received in France than America. Many performers became spies during WWII, since they could travel easier. Also no one suspected a woman especially a black woman as a spy and this was used to their advantage.
The story provides, suspense, romance, a bit of humour and sadness all the ingredients for an excellent book.
Thank you #netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Eloquently written, this is a passionate love story like no other which of course, takes place in the beautiful city of Paris. There are just a handful of characters in this book – all with the perspective of being Black. This is an original story filled with truth and inspiration.
In the early 1940s, Elly Mitchell from Chicago decided after college to go to France to experience the exciting adventures of a new place and to use her writing skills. She would work as a foreign correspondent. She stayed with her housemother, Madame, and 15-year-old house-sister, Claire (who was part Jewish) in a magnificent apartment.
One day, Elly was sitting on a park bench and just happened to meet a handsome man, Grant Monterey. He had been watching her. He sat down to chat and she found his words to be pretty convincing. He asked her to take a risk and get involved as a spy to help the French people. The fear was great: that German Nazis had taken over other countries and now France was on their path. Instead of returning to America, Elly switched her plans and decided to be a part of the French Resistance. Grant would teach her the ways of being an effective gatherer of information.
He introduced her to his friends: a well-known actress, Josephine Baker along with her maid, Polly, her photographer, Danny and Polly’s boyfriend, Pierre. They felt safe in France away from the harsh racism in America. Josephine said, “They like me here. Just the way I am.” However, if the Germans invaded, everything would change and they would need to leave.
The story took off with multiple layers. There were situations that I could feel the danger of their mission. Elly was direct and serious sometimes and funny with other parts. I found myself laughing outload at times.
The writing was smooth and the words were powerful. Many parts were full of wisdom on kindness and the goodness of life. There were several lines of inspiration that I wrote down such as, “All of society’s woes could be cured if everyone found love in another person.” This was a book that I loved from the beginning to the end.
My thanks to Avon Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy with an expected release date of November 9, 2023.
I am so grateful to have another favorite historical fiction author in addition to Beverly Jenkins! The first chapter encouraged me to want to read more. The characters and their motivations were relatable and easy to comprehend. The author’s writing style allowed me to visualize locations without too much scenery description - love that! The plot moved at an enjoyable pace. Finally, when I picture Josephine Baker, I see her face instead of Lynn Whitfield’s thanks to the author’s strong portrayal of her. An extremely enjoyable reading experience!
A World War 2 story with a difference. It describes the lead up to the German invasion of Paris in 1940 and the decisions many had to make about leaving the city.
I found it a flowing read which took you into the story, it had moments of both humour and fear, romance and sadness.
A good read which I would recommend.
This is a very interesting read. Many performers became spies during WWII. They could travel much easier and the stigma of being a women was often used to their advantage.
However this story tells of a colored actress. Better received in France than America at the time.
This story gives a feel for how some saw war coming and tried to prepare.
Bring so close to WWI left many in complacency…this really wasn’t happening…again?
Inspired by the incredible true story of Josephine Baker in the French Resistance, I don't wanna be dramatic, but this book was effing brilliant. Could not recommend it more! Have never read a book so fast!
Thank you Net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel. This was a historical WWII fiction with a unique storyline of black Americans, Josephine Baker as one, working with French Resistance. I enjoyed the characters and how well the story propelled itself. The heart of the characters showing courage repeatedly was very well written. I felt there were parts of the story that were a bit disjoined but over a fantastic read about an often neglected group. The romance added nicely to the story and was clean. Definitely recommend this one for all WWII fans!
“Don’t leave Paris without seeing Jo. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life if you walk away from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
I’ll let you be the judge. You must read this to see how this invitation changed the rest of Elodie Mitchell’s life.
I loved this story.
The setting and atmosphere is stellar! I felt like I was in Paris swept up in the tense and bizarre mixture of avant-garde, carefree life as it became increasingly more unsettling. Susberry’s vivid descriptions were phenomenal. I’ve read many books with this setting, pre-Nazi occupation, but none as wonderfully immersive as this one. I was whisked back to our visits to Aix en Provence and our time savoured under the shadow of a tree in the square eating crepes and sipping on coffee. I love it when a book does that!
The segue into the historical focus was phenomenal! It was so natural and fluid. Some books I feel as though I’m riding a ten-speed bike with a faulty gear shift mechanism, but this transition was smooth. I loved the DNA thread of this story because, although I’ve never done testing myself, I’m curious.
The symbolism of the title was intriguing and drove me to Google immediately. I love it when that happens. Although I’ve read plenty about the resistance movement, this felt fresh. I drew many parallels between this creature and the woman who earned this code name.
Josephine Baker - the name that initially captured my attention in the synopsis - was another reason I was reaching for my phone to Google for more information. I had to know more about this woman who embodied the French spirit. I can’t believe I’d never heard of her before. Thanks to the author for spotlighting little-known history for us historical fiction lovers. Again, the segue into Elodie Mitchell’s involvement was a smooth transition and I loved the mistaken identity angle. The author played on my curiosity and hooked me along as I turned pages to see how it would work out for everyone - past and present.
There’s so much I loved about this book …I could go on and on and on. You’ll have to see for yourself why this story of courage, survival and stand against prejudice is earning top stars with most reviewers.
I was gifted this copy by Avon Books UK and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
Really enjoyed this war time novel of spying but flavoured with couples still finding time to fall in love. It must have been a hard time for anyone to live through but the author manages to paint us a picture of ordinary live and love going on amidst the bombs and death.
The author also told the story that makes us aware of just how rife prejudice was in those days.
It’s a really good book and well worth a read. Or protagonist, Elly, , is such a strong willed character. and faced her trials and tribulations with real courage and determination to see the job through.
There wasn’t any part of this book I did not love!! It draws the reader in from the first page and doesn’t let go. It tell a story, that with all the historical fiction I have read, I have not read before. I do not want to spoil any part of this dual timeline book. I can only say please pick it up! It won’t disappoint.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.
A really interesting, well researched and written book, it captures the flavour of France at the start of WWII beautifully. It also features a real life character in Josephine Baker, famous not just as a French singer but also a member of the Free French Forces and a Civil rights activist. It can’t be easy using someone like Josephine and creating a whole story around images from your imagination, but this book really works.
Elodie and Grant are both well developed characters, their relationship nicely intriguing and realistic. Elodie finds herself torn between the need to get back to America and the need to help, to be with Grant and play her part in this obscene war where people were killed because of colour, religion and perceived deformities. There are so many people who dare to try to change the way things are, this acts as a nice tribute to them. You also can’t tell from looking at an elderly person just what they have done with their lives. An excellent read.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
A riveting WWII story inspired by the real life experiences of Josephine Baker, entertainer extraordinaire and spy for the French Resistance. Histfic fans will adore it!
This was based on real events of Josephine Baker and the French Resistance. This made me feel the book and characters, like I was experiencing the war. Young African American goes to study in France, gets recruited to be a spy. She needs all her wits, charm, and acting skills to make an impact in this story. I love learning new things about this period in history, we must never forget.
Thanks to the publishers, author, and NetGalley for the arc of this book.
If you enjoy historical fiction on WW2, you will love this book.
This is quite a different World War II historical novel and I found it to be much more than promised by the overview, with the tantalizing words of resistance and spies. The main heroine is Elodie, a young Black American student in Paris working on her second masters with a side job in journalism. The story begins during that strange interlude of "the phony war" when nothing much was happening and it paints a vibrant picture of Paris before the Nazi occupation.
Just as Europe was lulled by the Phony War, I was lulled by the first third of this book. Josephine Baker was such a fascinating & complex woman and her Black American expat friends were too. Suddenly, the spy game became deadly serious and then the Nazis arrived. This author's description of Parisians fleeing the city was heartbreaking. "A slow, delayed parade. Grandparents were being pushed in wheelbarrows by children and grandchildren unwilling to leave them behind, wagons packed with things and children." From then on, the story was like being on a runaway train and I couldn't stop reading.
This story begins and ends with the children & grandchildren of Elodie Mitchell finding out that there was so much they never knew about her because she chose not to tell them. We should all remember when we look at our older generation, they were once young too, with their own tales to share. This is a complex story, about more than just WW II in France or Josephine Baker. It's about family, racism, and courage. I loved it.
Many thanks to NetGalley & Avon Books UK for the digital ARC. All opinions and the review are my own.
I read this authors previous book and loved it.
This one I also loved. Set during WW2 a young black girl has gone to Paris to study the language and work as a reporter.
She then meets up with an older man who recruits her to become a spy for France as the Germans start to move it.
A great story of danger and intrigue amongst a small group of spy's.