Code Name: Lise

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

I am not a big fan of non-fiction. It can be so dreary and difficult to read. Give me fairy tales and love stories and make-believe any day. This is a review on a work very relevant to today. It is most definitely not fiction.

“But Lindsey, if you don’t enjoy non-fiction why would you request such a title?”

I asked myself the same question many times over the last few months. In fact, I downloaded the advanced copy of this book on April 12th. It was published May 9th. I reluctantly dug in this weekend.

The answer to the question above? Sheer curiosity. I am so glad I indulged this whim. “Code Name: Lise” highlights the remarkable life of Odette Sansom, Britain’s most highly decorated WWII spy. A true story loaded with facts regarding an incredible woman. There was no drudgery involved in the reading.

While based on first-hand accounts, the author did a remarkable job of bringing factual information into a beautiful and exciting tale that will leave you in awe of the mission and the exploits and the incredible courage and humanity of a very normal woman. Perhaps not normal – Odette was almost unbelievably amazing – but normal, in that she was a wife and mother who just wanted to contribute something bigger than herself. Loftis presented her story richly and with colour, weaving a beautiful narrative through a terrible time in our history.

With Remembrance Day observed here in Canada today, I’m particularly glad I dove into this one. The timely reflection on the absolute sacrifice and suffering of people serving their country for a greater purpose at absolute cost to themselves was significant. The book was easy to read, yet painful, and evoked great emotion.

I would highly recommend this for anyone who has an interest in general WWII history and for those who enjoy fiction along these lines with romance and bravery (i.e. fans of The Nightingale.) Once you get into it, Code Name: Lise reads like fiction while being entirely based on fact. Incredible.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a complimentary digital copy of this title for review. All opinions are my own. (Seriously. Go pick up a copy of this book!)
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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to review this book. Not my usual type of reading material but WOW ! I loved it. What a woman....it is almost impossible to believe that a European woman in the 21st century would endure the treatment and deprivations this woman (and of course others too ) went through. I am humbled and in awe. All secondary school children should have this within the curriculum. This is definitely one to keep ! Thank you.
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This book was clearly thoroughly researched and the historic detail in it is remarkable. It is also well written and you are immediately fully engaged with Odette and her exploits. Odette was of course one of Britain's most decorated spies and her bravery during world war 2 was astounding. She carries herself with grace and courage. The romance element comes in the form of her commanding officer but does not detract from Odettes achievements. 
I loved this book and highly recommend it.
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In the preface, author Larry Loftis details how he recreated Odette's wartime exploits directly from eyewitness accounts and that the dialogue included in the book is  'quoted verbatim'. This makes this non-fiction wartime thriller of England's most highly decorated spy even more compelling and but for the fact that I knew every word was true, I would have had to suspend my disbelief, so incredible is Odette's daring and audacious bravery. Loftis thrillingly captures the zeitgeist of World War Two where patriotism subsumed any sense of self-interest. Odette Sampson: Codename 'Lise' epitomises a sense of duty and stoicism that subsequent generations are endlessly fascinated by and which left me in awe of her incredible sacrifice. 


Odette's story encompasses her espionage as a female SOE operating in France, through to her capture and brutal subsequent torture by the Gestapo, followed by her incarceration in several different concentration camps. Every moment of her life is utterly riveting. What radiates from every page is  not only Odette's incredible charisma, her indomitable spirit and  jaw-dropping survival instincts but ultimately her capacity for love and forgiveness. It is Loftis' hope that the reader finds this story 'violent and original'. It is this and so much more; I cannot recommend 'Codename Lise' highly enough. I finished the book feeling ashamed that I had never heard of this incredible woman prior to reading, and I hope that as a result of Loftis' meticulous care in bringing Odette's story back into the public arena, that many more of us will learn more about Lise.
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A thoroughly researched and well written account of Britain's most decorated spy and her exploits, bravery during WW2 as Odette Sansom was trained as an SOE agent and performed acts of total heroism and self-sacrifice whilst also falling in love with her commanding officer.
I enjoy reading anything to do with either of the World Wars and was not disappointed with this one.

I want to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Very interesting read. It was well written and very easy to read. Love anything historical and back to the war. Good read
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An interesting perspective of WWII. This book is well documented and has good illustrations. 

#CodeNameLise #NetGalley
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If I hadn't read the authors notes at the beginning, I would have thought that this was all fiction.
What an amazing true story centred on a truly brave woman who fought mostly in secret for the allies. 
Totally blown away. 

Thank you for writing this down.
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Code Name: Lise may be a non-fiction espionage epic that will likely be categorised alongside all the rest, but don't make the mistake in thinking that this is merely your average read. This extraordinary woman contributed significantly to the Allied effort and was willing to pay with her life to do so; she would've been acutely aware that there would be Germans chasing her which more often than not, if caught, would result in her death. It reads very much like a fictional espionage thriller but with the notable exception that every word is true. I tend to view spies as experiencing the same danger as the forces involved in the fighting, and had this incredible group of people not have sacrificed as much as they did, and the Axis powers had triumphed, our way of life would likely be completely different.

Odette Sansom was a British secret agent awarded the George Cross for her work in Occupied France as part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). This book charts all of her exploits and near-misses and her falling in love with her commander who are both later captured by the Germans but miraculously go on to survive and become husband and wife. If you enjoy history, World War II accounts, espionage, non-fiction or even thrillers then this is well worth your time. Even those who aren't avid readers of military history will find a well-told, impeccably researched tale with so many twists and surprises to keep the pickiest reader enthralled. An awe-inspiring account of a heroine to which we all owe a debt of gratitude. Many thanks to Mirror Books for an ARC.
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Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and this is one of them. This story is almost beyond belief but it really happened.

A thoroughly researched and well written account of England's most decorated spy and her exploits, bravery and derring-do during WW2 as Odette Sansom was trained as an SOE agent and performed acts of total heroism and self-sacrifice whilst also falling in love with her commanding officer.

The tension is relentless as she carries out her missions under the eyes of the watch full Germans before her luck runs out and she is captured - but somehow survives the war.

Inspiring and wonderful stuff.

Highly recommended.
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