One Woman’s War: A Novel of the Real Miss Moneypenny

HarperAudio. Oct. 2022. 8:28 hrs. ISBN 9780063111820. $24.99. F
Wells’s (Sisters of the Resistance) taut novel of World War II historical fiction features Victoire “Paddy” Bennett, the real inspiration for the fictional Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond movies, and Friedl Stottinger, an Austrian double agent. Wells develops the backstories and complex personalities of these women, setting them against the backdrop of war-torn Europe on the verge of D-Day. Bennett, who worked with Bond creator Ian Fleming, works her way up the ranks, eventually ending up as an agent in the field, while Stottinger does whatever she can to survive. Amid the excitement of Operation Mincemeat, a dashing Serbian spy, glamorous parties, divided loyalties, love, romances, famous poets, betrayals, and espionage, the women’s paths cross repeatedly until the exciting conclusion. Saskia Maarleveld’s narration, particularly her work with accents, is fantastic. Maarleveld brings a thriller-like energy to her telling of this larger-than-life tale, capturing the headiness of the times.
VERDICT Wells’s well-written and enthusiastically narrated novel is a winner. Share with fans of Jennifer Chiaverini and Beatriz Williams.
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