The dramatic, untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory in World War II
“Gripping. Spies, romance, Gestapo thugs, blown-up trains, courage, and treachery (lots of treachery)—and all of it true.”—Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake
In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was on the front lines. To “set Europe ablaze,” in the words of Winston Churchill, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) was forced to do something unprecedented: recruit women as spies. Thirty-nine answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France.
In D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose draws on recently declassified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the thrilling story of three of these remarkable women. There’s Andrée Borrel, a scrappy and streetwise Parisian who blew up power lines with the Gestapo hot on her heels; Odette Sansom, an unhappily married suburban mother who saw the SOE as her ticket out of domestic life and into a meaningful adventure; and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent member of French colonial high society and the SOE’s unflappable “queen.” Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence—laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.
Rigorously researched and written with razor-sharp wit, D-Day Girls is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance: a reminder of what courage—and the energy of politically animated women—can accomplish when the stakes seem incalculably high.
Praise for D-Day Girls
“The mission is this: Read D-Day Girls today. Not just for the spy flair—code names, aliases, and operating covers—but also because this history feels more relevant than ever, as an army of women and girls again find themselves in a fight for the common good.”—Lily Koppel, author of The Astronaut Wives Club
“Sarah Rose's D-Day Girls is not only a page-turning spy story that reads like fiction, it's a highly relevant account that will, at long last, inscribe the names of three remarkable female spies—Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissac—into our history books.”—Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire