I started and finished Code Name: Lise this month and am still coming to terms with the gravitas of reading it. This book boggles the mind that is is a true story. Late at night, I had arrived at the middle and laid the hardcopy down on my nightstand to sleep. However, the fate of the main character wouldn’t let me rest until I finished it. Back on went the lamp and I continued on until nearly midnight to see it through.
Now that I have finished the read, I still feel a small lump in my throat thinking back on it. This is my first Larry Loftis book and I am really impressed at his ability to craft a gripping tale and robustly source it to high standards. Odette Sansom’s name should be a part of World War II in history classes and when the history of secret services are discussed. Not just because she is a woman doing what was predominately a man’s job then, but because of her rare courage and success in a role that offered equal risk and danger to both genders.
Like many families having witnessed World War I, Odette Sansom possesses a perspective of living one’s life with honor and duty. Despite having a plethora of reasons to not involve herself in the war as a Frenchwoman living in Britain, she courageously ventures forward into the role of a secret agent against the enemy.
Despite being a woman, a mother, a wife and a civilian, she bravely takes on every assignment sent her with abandon. As her role requires the reliance on and use of relationships of all types, Code Name: Lise follows a web of individuals that become part of Odette’s story as she fights to win and later survive. The odds stacked so high as the story progresses, it is the kind of story few can fathom actually happening to a regular person. But such was the tale for many in war.
The full spectrum of the human experience is within the covers of Code Name: Lise: Love, honor, bravery, motherhood, war, leadership, luck, conflict, fear, world history and the will to survive on one’s own terms. Odette’s journey covers a geography and duration of insurmountable odds that defy expectations. Many accounts from World War II are raw and uncomfortable due to the atrocities of the worst of humanity, and Code Name: Lise is no different. But stories like these should be read, should be known and the lives of everyone who experienced them should be remembered generations later