By Sarah Helm
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, one in every of Britain’s most effective mystery brokers in the course of global conflict II.
As the pinnacle of the French component to the British specified Operations govt, Vera Atkins recruited, knowledgeable, and mentored distinct operatives whose task used to be to prepare and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the struggle, Atkins courageously devoted herself to a deadly look for twelve of her so much loved ladies spies who had long gone lacking in motion. Drawing on formerly unavailable assets, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s outstanding lifestyles and her singular trip in the course of the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of warfare, A existence in Secrets is the tale of a grand, elusive lady and a journey de strength of investigative journalism.
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Additional resources for A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
This unusually self-contained young woman had been brought up in an intensely spiritual way. There was something, as Vera saw it, “otherworldly” about her. This impression was conveyed not only by her looks and manner but also by her thin, quavering, pipelike voice. And as Vera had noticed during their first meetings, Nora's powerful bonds with her family were particularly hard to break. Nora's mother was a widow by the time the war started and was highly dependent on her, the eldest of four children.
You see, she was so much older than us other girls. She had no context at all that I discovered. And we didn't ask—one didn't then. ” Elizabeth herself had started as a “snagger,” a filing clerk, in MI5, which was the Eton or Roedean of Whitehall. She then moved to SOE and recalled that F Section was considered “not quite top notch,” “a mixed bunch, mostly City,” whereas the Balkan Section had the really “smart,” wealthy types, brought in from Hambros or Courtaulds. ” Often she was called over to Orchard Court to help out, usually by chatting to agents and drinking cocoa with them to set them at ease before their departure.
And she said that although she had few facts to give me, she had heard a mass of stories from Vera as a child. ” It would be a matter of luck. Back in the shed that afternoon I stopped looking for answers and found that this most secretive of women had indeed left clues of a sort. I found love letters. They were more like snippets of love letters; snippets of great happiness. ” The top of the notepaper had been carefully cut off. There was no signature at the bottom, except for what looked like a dollar sign.