In the late 1930s, a young woman shoots herself in the foot while hunting, causing an amputation below the knee. She's fitted with a prosthetic--which she names Cuthbert--and eventually becomes a secret agent working with the resistance fighters and hunted by the Germans in Nazi-occupied France. It happened. It's true. Erika Robuck's electrifying thriller The Invisible Woman is based on the life of American spy Virginia Hall.
After the terrible accident, Virginia's options are keep the leg or keep her life. She chooses life, and becomes a legend in the world of intelligence. Trained in explosives, subterfuge and combat, Virginia is sent to France to prepare small bands of resistance fighters for the invasion of Normandy (aka D-Day). She carries with her a wireless transmitter for sending intelligence back to the Allied Forces. Each transmission takes time, and the Nazis need only 20 minutes to pinpoint her location. Razor-thin escapes result in her likeness plastered on wanted posters. Virginia takes advantage of her limp and disguises herself as an old lady; the Germans dismiss her appearance as non-threatening and easily overlook her. Even resistance fighters disregard her. She must struggle between being ignored by one group and worthy of attention by the other.
Robuck (Hemingway's Girl) was working on a wife-of-a-famous-male-writer book when an editor suggested she write about a woman who was special in her own right. The incredible story of Virginia Hall entered her radar. Robuck combines many real characters into fewer, serving to highlight Hall's remarkable exploits and resulting in an epic that is deeply engrossing. --Paul Dinh-McCrillis, freelance reviewer