Book Review: For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy

Historical fiction For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is inspired by the true story of a girl who survived and spied during WWII. (link to Amazon.)

Suzanne, a young French girl who dreams of becoming an opera singer, never thought that World War II would affect her– until her hometown, Cherbourg, was bombed.

Then the Nazis inhabit Cherbourg, throw Suzanne and her family out of their house, and terrorize the citizens.  They shut down the Saturday market; confiscate all the radios; ration the food.  Worse, sometimes people just disappear and are never heard from again.

Through it all Suzanne stays strong, filling her free time with singing.  Eventually her hard work pays off, and she becomes the star of the Cherbourg Opera Company, proving that dreams do come true regardless of war.  Now Suzanne travels constantly, and someone takes notice: The family doctor takes a chance and asks Suzanne to spy for France, to carry messages that could end the war.  “Once you agree to help me, you can never back out,” the doctor warns her.  “Not ever, no matter what.  You must help me until the very end.”  Suzanne agrees, and she becomes Twenty-Two, messenger for the French Resistance.

While For Freedom was based on the true story of Suzanne David Hall, a teenage spy for France during World War II, it was written as fiction.  This may not be the most exciting spy flick, but it is certainly more realistic than some of the more fictionalized stories like Alex Rider.  Still, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley clearly writes about Suzanne’s search for strength during troubled times, and her struggle to deliver her messages without getting caught.  I give it a 7/10.


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