Fletton Way, Glapthorn Rd, Oundle PE8 4JA
This book is a true-life thriller and breath-taking account of female heroism in WWII. It is a rich, deeply researched exploration of how the most unlikely of spies defied all the odds to triumph over the Gestapo; and how one woman broke through convention and prejudice to save Allied intelligence in France.
In 1942, the Gestapo would stop at nothing to track down a mysterious ‘limping lady’ who was fighting for the freedom of France. The Nazi chiefs issued a simple but urgent command: ‘She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.’
Their target was Virginia Hall, a glamorous American with a wooden leg who broke through the barriers against her gender and disability to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France for the SOE. In so doing she helped turn the course of the intelligence war.
Based on years of painstaking research and the release of previously secret sources, the incomparable story of Virginia Hall reveals how she confounded her detractors to become one of the greatest Allied agents of the war and an inspiration to her successors in the field to this day.
Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has worked for The Economist, Daily Telegraph, and Sunday Times. Her book First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill was chosen as a book of the year by the Daily Telegraph, Independent and Lenny Letter, and was shortlisted for the Plutarch Award for Best Biography. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.
Tickets £8 (£6), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 26th November, available from the Oundle Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle.
Open hours: 10.00am – 4.00pm Mon to Fri: Tel 01832 274734, online at www.oundlefestival.org.uk