This is a truly remarkable story which follows the experiences of Odette Sansom who begins by tentatively offering to help out and is quickly snapped up and deeply embroiled in the fight against the Germans as a spy code-named Lise.
The most startling part of this ‘story’ is that it is true – this seemingly mild mannered mum of 3 really did step out of her mum role into the cold hard shoes of a spy.
I don’t truly understand how Odette Sansom isn’t a well known name – she should be celebrated loudly and heralded for her bravery and commitment to the cause and her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.
Part war story, part love story, part thriller and all round captivating read, Code Name: Lise will have you hooked. Odette uses a mix of cunning, guile and sheer determination to guide her through the many trials and tribulations that she faces – including capture, torture and long periods of awful treatment. It is virtually impossible to comprehend how she found the strength to keep going and it is very clear that she deserved to be highly decorated for her heroism.
I haven’t read much non-fiction before but having recently read and loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz I just knew I would love Code Name: Lise – it feels quite an honour to read Odette’s story.
Blurb: The true story of the woman who became WWII’s most highly decorated spy
The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.
As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.
In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love—of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. He seamlessly weaves together the touching romance between Odette and Peter and the thrilling cat and mouse game between them and Sergeant Bleicher.