Code Name: Lise:
The True Story of the Spy Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Woman
By Larry Loftis
Geoffrey W. Sutton
Lise was the code name for Odette Samson. She's living in Somerset England with her children at the outset of World War II. Her husband is off at war. Because she was raised in France, her language and experience make her a potential candidate to help the resistance organised by Britain's War Office referred to as SOE (Special Operations Executive).
The story moves quickly from training to deployment. Relying on a trove of records that include interviews and official communications, Loftis creates a vivid thriller of a determined young woman focused on carrying out her risky responsibilities as a courier under threat of the Nazi boot. As the story progresses, she falls in love with her commanding officer, Peter Churchill.
Despite many thrilling escapes, she and Peter are eventually captured by Hugo, Germany's master spy catcher. Disgusting accounts of excruciating torture challenge us as we sink into the depths of Nazi prison cells. Will she and Peter survive?
Code Name: Lise is a well-written spy story that reads like a thriller as the heroes face near death experiences bolstered by loyalty and love. After the World War II story ends, Loftis fills us in on what happened to the legacy of this woman who eventually appeared on a UK postage stamp. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys reading true stories about courageous women in times of war.
What's missing? As a psychologist, I wonder if all the interviews and reports would offer us insights into the character of this woman who survived so much before, during, and after World War II. She was in her sixth year when her father died. She survived some serious health challenges during childhood. Like many in Britain, she was alone with her children when her husband headed to war. Then there's was the separation from her children during her war service and horrific torture along with exposure to the multiple severe traumatic events of others. She was a witness after the war. And there were two divorces plus postwar public battles.
Odette Marie Léonie Céline Brailly was born in Amiens France 28 April 1912. Her father died at the battle of Verdun in 1918. She married Roy Sansom in 1931. They had three daughters. Her World War II service was recognised by the British awards of the George Cross and an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). France awarded her the Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur. Odette and Roy divorced. She married and divorced Peter Churchill and later married Geoffrey Hallowed. (Wikipedia)