Review: Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
Hi everyone! Today I am very excited to be bringing you a review of Code Name Verity!
It was the last book that I read in 2017 – and if I hadn’t published my Top Ten Tuesday – Books of the Year post so early, this would have made the list for sure!
Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
Verity is such a captivating character – from the first page, you are sucked into her narrative, intimate in such personal and genuine feeling. As “Verity” writes her confession and surrenders details of about the British, we learn how she became best friends with Maddie and got involved in the war effort. Whilst cooped up in her cell, subjected to watching the torture and execution of other resisting captives, she scrawls her tale on any form of paper available to her – music scores, recipe cards and Jewish prescription sheets to name but some examples. She grieves for her losses and for Maddie, whose plane crash-landed after delivering her safely for her mission.
Code Name Verity stirs a variety of emotions throughout the book – horror at the atrocities experienced at the hands of the Gestapo; fear for our protagonist’s life as she struggles on in her meagre existence; and humour… somehow, a small spark of resistance lies deep in her heart despite all her suffering. And a small spark can ignite a flame… The details of Verity’s mission unfold, and all may not be lost.
It is easy to consider the overall events of the war in hindsight, losing the personal touch – the men, women and children that died as a result of the war were mother’s, fathers, brothers and sisters. They were families. The narrative of Code Name Verity puts that right back into perspective.
Somehow I feel that anything I can say about how brilliant, beautiful and cleverly written the narrative is, I feel my comments can never do the book justice. Instead, let actions speak louder than words: Much as one may do with a classic or beloved favourite, this is a book I am going to pick up and read again. And again. I’ll probably get my hands on a physical copy to adorn my bookshelf too, because it has earned it’s place in my library. I hope it earns a place in yours too!
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