3 out of 4 stars
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Picture this: a woman falling from the sky like a stone, her useless unopened parachute tailing along. That is exactly what the pilot who delivered her to the landing area had to see. He must have felt hopeless and horrified. He must have been thinking that no one could survive a downfall like that. Since there was not much else the poor pilot could do, he sighed and turned the plane around, flying it back to his military base in England. After all, it was war. In wars, anything can happen.
Sandra Eden’s War by Mike Low is a fictional story of the SOE (Special Operations Executive) agent Sandra Eden, who was sent to France behind the enemy lines shortly before the Normandy landings during the Second World War. The book is a tribute to all real SOE agents who served in multiple tasks behind the enemy lines. The SOE was founded by Winston Churchill in the 1940s, its purpose being to generate sabotage in occupied Europe and aid local resistance movements to fight the invaders. Sandra Eden’s War was inspired by multiple destinies of real SOE agents.
I have read several books whose events took place during the Second World War, but I can’t think of any other with a female agent as a leading character. Traditionally we tend to think that the war is a men’s world, but the truth is that there were many women in multiple tasks risking their lives during the Second World War. I was utterly delighted that the author chose the protagonist to be a woman. He also did not fail to describe how difficult it can be for a woman to be accepted as equal. Sandra Eden continuously had to prove herself being just as capable as any man to some of the Maquis soldiers (French resistance movement), who she was assigned to help.
Sandra Eden’s War was very straight forward, concentrating on describing the action taking place at each time. There were multiple characters involved, but the character development was rather rudimentary. The chosen writing style complied with the story, yet left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied. I would have enjoyed a more profound character development, and could not help but think this type of story might have worked better as a movie.
The Second World War has been an inspiration to many writers and generated multiple stories. Mike Low’s Sandra Eden’s War holds one’s own among other stories and is certainly a good read for anyone interested in this particular field of the history of mankind. Since this book is a relatively easy read and includes no profane language or sexuality, I would imagine it could be a great addition also to high school history lessons. Often stories told well enough can be more effective than study books.
Sandra Eden’s War was edited pleasingly well and there were absolutely no mistakes to be found. Overall, I felt that the story was well-thought, well-structured, and well-written. All this being said, I am still unable to give Sandra Eden’s War more than 3 out of 4 stars. There were some great elements in the story, but somehow the obvious one-dimensionality made me feel like the story never really started to float in the air. Instead, it was falling from the sky like the defected parachute, and the reading experience left me somewhat disappointed. Nevertheless, I truly respect the author’s thorough research and effort to make the story of the relatively unsung SOE agents known.
Sandra Eden's War
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