We are ashamed to tell you that until the publisher Planeta (who joined us in the solidarity initiative in favor of the Npili School) suggested this book by Sonia Purnell, we did not know Virginia Hall's story... and it is because of the stories we did not know, the women we discover and the authors we highlight that we believe that Josefinas' Book Club makes perfect sense.
"A Woman of No Importance" is a biography that does not go unnoticed on the tables and bookstore shelves. Its red cover, associated with the information that the book is about the "Gestapo’s most wanted spy" makes us curious, and when we see the name of the protagonist... we realize that, finally, women who made History are getting the attention they deserve.
The title is ironic to say the least – since this woman undoubtedly played an important role in World War II. Virginia has been forgotten in time, but Sonia Purnell decided to share her achievements with the world, and she did so in a detailed way, based on documents from the time, testimonies of former secret agents, and thorough research.
Photo by @bookosis (via Instagram)
In one of the darkest times in Human History, Virgina Hall proved her loyalty, her intelligence, and her ability to put herself in the other person's shoes. "A Woman of No Importance" is a book that highlights the importance of perseverance and respect, that highlights a woman who was, until then, ignored by everyone – we should have read something about her in our history books!
Virginia Hall was "just" an American socialite, but she revealed herself to be, while part of the spy organization led by Winston Churchill (known as the "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"), a central element of the French Resistance. She was described by the Gestapo as "the most dangerous of all Allied spies" in an urgent transmission that encouraged its agents "to seek her out and destroy her" and she survived, she was tagged, not only for being the first allied woman in enemy lands, but also for having been the first civilian woman awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in September 1945.
Photo by @rodriguezbooks (via Instagram)
Virginia, who before becoming a spy had lost a leg and started wearing a wooden prosthesis that could compromise her identity, established a vast network of spies throughout France, organized the arrival of weapons and explosives, dynamited bridges, and freed prisoners. All this with ferocity, autonomy, and the certainty that she would be capable of anything she set her mind to.
It's a shame we didn't know Virginia Hall's story before, that’s why we couldn't help but recommend it. For that reason, during the month of June, we invite you to join Josefinas’ Book Club, read this work by Sonia Purnell and share your opinions with us through #JosefinasBookClub on Instagram.