This gem of a book is a compelling combination of hope and tragedy, of sacrifice and friendship, of loyalty and brilliant intelligence and of trust and love in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
Maddie is a working class girl who dreams of becoming a pilot. “Verity” is casually wealthy and carefree. Despite their very different backgrounds, they become fast friends, creating an unbreakable bond that strengthens and deepens as they train to be spies in World War II.
In 1943 the two women are to sent to war-torn France on a spy mission. However, their plane crashes behind enemy lines; “Verity” is captured by the Gestapo while the Maddie is left for dead. The French Resistance is able to help Maddie and she begins searching, against all hope, for “Verity”.
Meanwhile, “Verity” is being tortured by the Nazi’s for information. After horrible pain and suffering, she agrees to write out her confession which she promises will provide information on the Allies and their plans. This is where the book opens, with “Verity’s” confession except that she is taking her time, writing in detail about her friendship with Maddie and other stories unrelated to the war, with just enough information sprinkled throughout that the Germans allow her to continue.
This book is often heartbreaking, but it also has a lot of humor and even joy. The friendship gives both women, even when they’re apart, great strength and perseverance. And the ending holds a brilliant twist. Highly recommended.
If you are joining us for the 2022 Online Reading Challenge, this title works perfectly with our April theme of women spies, intelligence work and sacrifice.