Cover Image: Liberation


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Imogen Kealey is the pseudonym of American screenwriter Darby Kealey and British novelist Imogen Robertson. This is the first novel published under that name. Liberation was published in 2020. This is the 79th book I have completed in 2022.

Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R. While this is a work of fiction, it is based on the real-life Nancy Wake. She was active in the French Resistance and later returned to France as an SOE agent. She was recognized after the war by many countries for her work.

The novel begins in early 1943. Wake was originally from New Zealand and had come to France in the 1930s. When the Germans invaded France, she was engaged to wealthy French industrialist Henri Edmond Fiocca.

She became active in the Pat O’Leary Escape Line, which helped downed aircrew escape. Few knew of her work with the Resistance. She had grown so successful by 1943 that the Gestapo referred to her as the White Mouse. She had avoided arrest for years but finally had to leave her husband and flee France. After arriving in Britain, she joined the SOE. She returned to France and worked with the maquis.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 385-page historical fiction novel. I have read more historical accounts of Wake’s actions. This novel follows them closely. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

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LIBERATION gives us Nancy Wake. Not only does Kealey develop and expand upon the character of a remarkable woman, but she sets the stage with historical accuracy. From beginning to end, this tale captivates just as much as it does shed a light on this time in history.
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Fascinating look into the wartime efforts of resistance fighter Nancy Wake to undermine the Nazis in France during WWII. The fast pace action of her life in France, as the White Mouse and her wartime efforts of resistance fighter against the Nazis, make this a can't put down read. When her husband is arrested for treason, she escapes to England and joins the Special Operations Executive (SOE) she returns to France and takes up her fight against the Nazis again, even though doing so puts her beloved husband at great risk. 
This historical fiction thriller will keep you reading to the end as you discover more about one of the war's most decorated women.
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I love books that are set in the WWII era. If the book is well-written, the story brings the reader to the harsh realities of the horrible atrocities of war as well as the environment and people's reactions during that time. Liberation is the adapted story of a real life heroine, Nancy Wake. Wake witnessed the beginnings of the evil about to spread through Europe and decided that no matter what, she would help defeat the poison. Living in Marseilles, France, she joined the French Resistance and began her mission of sabotaging the Nazis wherever and whenever she could. The book takes on a fast pace that keeps you reading far past your bedtime just so you know what happens to Nancy and her fellow compatriots as Nazi troops pursue them. The book made me very interested to find out more about this woman and her life. I think the authors brought a great story to light. (I receive this book for free from the publisher via the NetGalley site.)
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She was known as "THe White Mouse" a member of the French Resistance and on the most wanted list by the Nazis.  Her name is Nancy Wake and this is her story.  Unfortunately, I barely finished the book, skimming through parts of it and not enjoying most of it.  As I usually do when reading about real people, I look them up on Google and what I found didn't honor her in this novel.  Not a book I would recommend.  My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Newlywed Nancy Wake isn’t just the wife of a wealthy Marseille’s industrialist; she’s also the White Mouse—a spy with a Nazi bounty on her head. When her husband’s arrest by the Gestapo, Nancy flees to England and joins the British Secret forces, eager to rejoin the fight in France. A heart-stopping reimaging of the daring exploits of a real-life heroine.
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"I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

This book wasn't bad but I wasn't exactly enamored of it.  Nancy, a young Australian journalist, is living in Marseilles in 1943 during the Nazi occupation.  She is disgusted by the Nazis and after seeing a rally decided she will do anything she can to fight them., even risking her life and joining the resistance. She is the "White Mouse" , not just a part but the head of the resistance. She has just married an older and wealthy man Henri. Henri helps finance many of the activities of the group.  She is very obsessed in her quest to thwart the Nazis any way she can. No one would believe a woman could or would do that. Certainly not the Nazi major Bohm who is trying to find the White Mouse.  Then Henri is arrested after being ratted out by an employee and Nancy has to escape. Bohm suddenly suspects her of being more than just a young, bored, rich and demanding wife. 

This was okay. Nothing epic or earth shattering. I think there was a good story here but things seemed forced.  Nancy is a tough character, ready to fight and go the distance for what she believed. We should be cheering her. Honestly, I didn't seem to care. Her use of the f word constantly seemed out of context for the time period and even gratuitous. It didn't do her character justice. 

Overall, a great subject but just missing the boat. Give it a go, but I don't think you will be up late reading it.
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I’ve read three books recently on Nancy Wake, the Gestapo’s most wanted Allied spy. One reveals her inner life with gusto. Another gives a literary twist that graces the narrative. LIBERATION reads like fast-paced cinema hued by imagined characters and events. 

But Nancy’s life needs no embellishment. A gutsy beauty armed with red lipstick, guns and the ability to kill the enemy with one hand, she was perhaps the most successful spy in the French resistance and as an SOE (Secret Operations Executive) agent for the Brits. 

If you’ve never heard of Nancy Wake, LIBERATION will engage you. If you already know her astonishing story, you’ll prefer “just the facts, ma’am.”

Pub Date 28 Apr 2020.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. 

#Liberation #NetGalley
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