2 out of 4 stars
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Sandra Eden's War by Mike Low takes us to France near the end of World War II. Sandra Eden is a UK Special Operations Executive, SOE, who is sent to Normandy to help the French Resistance cause as much disruption as possible to German military movements. The book starts when she jumps out of the plane that brought her from the UK to France. The remainder of the 168 pages talks about the action of the SOE and the French Resistance.
I have read a lot of books on WWII in the past, but I don't have much knowledge about the role of an SOE. The author mentions the autobiography of Nancy Wake (The White Mouse) on the back flap of the book explicitly, and I have added it to my reading list. I want to learn more about these brave individuals. When mentioning the back flap, I also want to talk about the cover. I find the picture well-chosen and fitting for the book.
Unfortunately, there were many elements I did not like in the book. There is an inconsistency in measuring distances: the French contact person starts talking about kilometers, and the rest of the text refers to miles. A further discrepancy is about the tunnel to be demolished at the beginning of the book. At first, the resistance members expect a lot of Germans guarding the tunnel, and a few pages further in the book, they don't expect the tunnel entrances to be guarded. A British SOE refers to calvados as a sweet drink. Calvados is not sweet at all - perhaps the author wanted to have them taste cider or pommeau. There are plenty of mistakes against the French grammar: accents missing, verbs conjugated wrongly, adjectives not adjusted for the female noun. The Maquis is the Resistance; the members are called maquisards.
The author uses a dry informative writing style that works well for the historical background but not for the novel. The dialogues are not engaging; as a reader, I did not feel connected with any of the protagonists. If the author would have another look at the book and give the characters more depth, allow the reader a more detailed view of their thoughts and emotions, the book may appeal to a broader audience.
Because of the above reasons, I rate this book two out of four stars. There are a few typos and a few minor profanity instances, nothing that impacts the reading experience. I would recommend this book to readers who like to read about heroic individuals in a historical setting.
Sandra Eden's War
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