The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France
By Nicholas Shakespeare
HarperTorch, Hardcover, 9780062297037, 423pp.
Publication Date: January 2014
List Price: $27.99*
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When Nicholas Shakespeare stumbled across a box of documents belonging to his late aunt, Priscilla, he was completely unaware of where this discovery would take him and what he would learn about her hidden past. The glamorous, mysterious figure he remembered from his childhood was very different from the morally ambiguous young woman who emerged from the trove of love letters, photographs, and journals, surrounded by suitors and living the dangerous existence of a British woman in a country controlled by the enemy. He had heard rumors that Priscilla had fought in the Resistance, but the truth turned out to be far more complicated.
As he investigated his aunt's life, dark secrets emerged, and Nicholas discovered the answers to the questions over which he'd been puzzling: What caused the breakdown of Priscilla's marriage to a French aristocrat? Why had she been interned in a prisoner-of-war camp, and how had she escaped? And who was the "Otto" with whom she was having a relationship as Paris was liberated?
Piecing together fragments of one woman's remarkable and tragic life, Priscilla is at once a stunning story of detection, a loving portrait of a flawed woman trying to survive in terrible times, and a spellbinding slice of history.