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FCF Book Club
March 31 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The next meeting of Fishing Creek Farm Book Club will be Wednesday, March 31 at 7PM. The meeting will be virtual and the book we will discuss is “A Woman of No Importance” by Sonia Purnell. A review and joining information for the discussion are posted below. Everyone is invited. Contact Susan Magazine at 301-213-1799 or Susan@magazinefamily.org to join or learn more about the group.
A review by NPR, Genevieve Valentine
Hardcover, 352 pages
It sounds like propaganda meant to misdirect WWII Germans: a lone foreigner running riot in occupied France, everywhere at once, unrecognizable despite a trademark gait, able to bewitch information out of anyone, single-handedly stirring up resistance — and then vanishing.
The German secret police couldn’t even be sure what country she was from. It would be easy to believe the Limping Lady wasn’t real.
But she was.
Virginia Hall was one of the earliest Special Operations Executive agents Britain sent into occupied France to stir up resistance against the Nazi/Vichy regime, where she laid critical groundwork for an organized Resistance in southern France — and later led a cell herself. She isn’t totally unknown; there have been other biographies, as well as a CIA training hall named in her honor and even a Drunk History sketch. But Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance is a gripping take, tracing Hall’s life in the context of hurdles she faced from allies — as much as from enemies.
She was an unlikely choice for SOE field work; she was a woman, she was American, and she had a disability (a hunting accident left her with a wooden leg she called Cuthbert) that made her easy to identify. But the speedy Nazi takeover of Europe was more alarming than the usual prejudices, and in 1940 she was in France with only the barest brief — build a Resistance, no matter what.
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