Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

In a derelict hotel in Occupied France, World War II, a girl sits with an iron rod bound to her back, bargaining with her interrogator. Her codename is Verity, and is a British spy, flown into France by her best friend,and has been captured by the Nazis, She is being held in the Chateaux de Bordeaux, where she strikes a bargain with her questioners, to confess everything about the British war effort, in return for her clothes. This book is what she wrote, how she came to be there, and what happened afterwards. It begins with her talking about her friend Maddie with her motorcycle in her hometown of Cheshire, and her time as a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force volunteer, where she made friends with Queenie, a German-speaking wireless operator after an incident involving a crash-landing German pilot. Maddie then goes on to become an Air Transport Auxiliary Pilot, and through an unseen course of events Maddie ends up flying Verity into France, where they are shot down and Verity has to make a parachute jump before Maddie crash-lands.

This book does not sound like it has a lot to it, but there are so many twists after what I have described, most of them completely unexpected. I like how the story starts off with the reader knowing very little, and slowly progresses until you can see the whole picture, and the changes of perspectives throughout the book. I also liked how things were revealed without Verity’s intentions, as others characters in the story point out things you hadn’t previously noticed, and, maybe it was just me, but how you warmed to the character as you read further, because at the beginning I quite disliked Verity for making such a cowardly bargain, but as I read more and learned more about her I liked her more and more. It’s the kind of book that slowly reels you in, and by the end you are so attached to the characters that the ending brings you into floods of tears and you wish you could jump into the book and change what happened. One thing I found slightly confusing was all the different names there were for the main character, which made it quite hard to keep up, but that was a very minor thing and all in all I thought the book was very funny, moving and ultimately, rather sad.

You can buy Code Name Verity from amazon here, or Elizabeth Wein’s other book, Rose Under Fire, here, which I will be reading as soon as possible!

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