When I started hearing buzz about CODE NAME VERITY, a story about a young British pilot and her passenger crash-landed in Nazi-occupied France, it wasn’t a tough sell. I’ve been a fan of women of early aviation ever since I came across a photo of Katherine Stinson and fell down a rabbit-hole.
VERITY is pretty dark. It opens with a young woman being interrogated by the Gestapo after being caught in occupied France. Wein doesn’t soft-pedal that experience.
But the darkness only managed to draw me in and swallow me up because the main characters are so brilliant. Their bravery, loyalty, and most of all their friendship had me at the edge of my seat the whole time, desperate to know if they’d make it safely back across the Channel. Verity says that meeting her best friend was like falling in love–and she makes me believe it, because her account of how she befriended pilot and mechanic Maddie Brodatt, written as a confession to her Gestapo interrogators, made me fall in love with them both.
If you hear that and think you know where the book’s going to go with it, all I can say without spoiling anything is, it’s not what you think.
Because this story is not about British agents escaping France. It’s about an unlikely friendship between two young women who are willing to give anything to save each other. And that friendship, like the book itself, is terribly beautiful.