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LIBERATION by Imogen Kealey

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

This sat gathering dust on a shelf for over a year by the time I got around to it. I now realise that was a monumental mistake.

Liberation is a powerful and absorbing story, detailing the heroic acts of Nancy Wake as she took the fight to the Nazi’s in WWII. What a woman she must have been. To have endured so much, and still come out fighting takes courage and strength almost beyond imagination.

The book itself is brilliantly written, 1940’s France and Britain brought vividly back to life. You can picture the desolated streets, smell the dust on the air, see the blood on the cobbles. I was absorbed, from the first page to the last. I read it in just over a week, which is almost unheard of for me, every spare five minutes I had I found myself picking it back up, desperate to learn a little more of Nancy’s story.

The author’s have brought together a cast, some from the history books, others from their imagination, that add another dimension to the tale. We get a glimpse of the perspective of a Gestapo officer, witness the infighting of the Maquis as they each compete to be the supreme resistant fighters in France. It adds depth and authenticity, and is woven in with Nancy’s story effortlessly.

The main thing I took from it was the level of resistance the Nazi’s faced in France. Their surprise that western Europe would refuse to lie down and accept German rule. Their horror at the lengths the French and British would go to just to be rid of them. It is a tale of comradeship and valour, of tragedy and sacrifice, and I adored every page.

Having read a lot of WWII thrillers over the last couple of years, I can say this is undoubtedly the best I’ve read so far.

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