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For Readers: Blog

A call to spy

by Book Geniuses on 2021-12-14T14:22:45-06:00 in Fiction, Books & Reading | Comments

Who isn’t intrigued by a great spy story, especially when the spies involved are female? These novels are based on true stories of fascinating and often heroic women whose courageous and dangerous acts during perilous times were critical to American and world history. 

Covers of The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini; The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen; Mata Hari's Last Dance by Michelle Moran


The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini 
Elizabeth Van Lew was born to Southern aristocracy but educated by Northern Quakers, so her moral convictions led her to risk her life for the Union during the Civil War. With a vast spy ring that infiltrated the Confederacy all the way to Jefferson Davis, she helped create the Richmond Underground and helped prisoners escape a notorious Confederate prison. [print | audiobook | large type]

The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen 
Mary Bowser and her mother were freed slaves, but her father was still enslaved in Virginia. Mary went north to Philadelphia, where she received an education and also learned that racist and classist society exists everywhere, even among other former slaves. She returned to Virginia to spy on the Confederacy and lead other slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Living by her wits and courage, Mary’s story is full of history, romance, and adventure. [print | e-book | audiobook]

Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran 
Margaretha Zelle MacLeod survived a painful childhood and abusive marriage to a Dutch officer living on Java. There she learned the art of Indonesian dancing, and later fled to WWI Europe where she reinvented herself as Mata Hari, an infamous dancer, courtesan, and possibly a spy. She used her great beauty and talents to gain entry into the highest echelons of society, becoming involved with many military officers, and was in a position to pass on military intelligence to Germany. Arrested on charges of treason, this is the story of her short life and spectacular demise. [print | audiobook]


Covers of The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff; Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon; A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton


The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff 
1946: Grace Healy found an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station, filled not with clothes, but instead with pictures of twelve young women, with first names only. This belonged to Eleanor Trigg, the leader of a group of secret female agents, who sent them into occupied Europe as radio operators to sabotage the Germans and help the Resistance. Grace is determined to find out what happened to these women who never returned home. For fans of The Alice Network. [print | e-book | audiobook | large type]

Code Name Héléne by Ariel Lawhon 
́Based on the real life Australian socialite Nancy Wake, a brilliant and fierce WWII heroine, this story is told through the code names she used against the Germans. She was variously known as Lucienne the smuggler, Madam Andrée the fighter, Héléne the spy, and the White Mouse, most wanted by the Gestapo. Married and living in France, she joined the French Resistance and became one of the most fearless and important leaders, even killing a Nazi with her bare hands. Rich in historical details, with a thrilling plot and fascinating characters, this is a story you won’t forget. [print | e-book]

A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton 
Elizabeth Bentley--aka Clever Girl--was recruited by the American Communist Party to spy on fascists during WWII. Having fallen in love with her handler, she learned he was a Soviet informant and together they built the largest USSR spy network in America. When her usefulness to the Soviets ended and the NKVD came for her, she became an FBI informant, helping to convict the Rosenbergs and others. [print]


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