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Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,025 ratings  ·  572 reviews
The true story of the woman who became WWII's most highly decorated spy

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Gallery Books
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Featured Notes & Highlights
Larry Loftis
Larry Loftis - author, non-fiction

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  4,025 ratings  ·  572 reviews

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David Eppenstein
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am giving this book my rare 5 star rating. To earn that fifth star a book must possess a WOW component and much to my surprise this book delivered. This book is a history. In fact, it is a biography of the WWII exploits of a 30 year old French mother of three young girls married to an Englishman and living in England when WWII starts. Feeling the need to do something to aid the cause of the War and help her adopted country this woman goes looking for some sort of work to do in the war effort. ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful, haunting narrative. It is excellent. If there is one book you promise to read before the year is out, then this should be it. I have cried, I have felt pain and I have admired Odette Sansom. She is a heroine, a legend and one to be forever remembered.

If it wasn’t for the Preface that explains all content in this book is fact, I would not have been able to believe it. Yet, based on records, interviews and accounts, we are provided with a raw narrative of how Odette Sansom, a m
The biography of Odette Sansom Churchill (1912-1995) is absolutely amazing. Odette was a French woman married to an Englishman. She left her husband and three children to return to occupied France as a spy for the SOE (Special Operation Executive Program, a British spy agency)

The book is well written and researched. The conversations are taken verbatim from the records. The book is well documented. After the war Odette married Peter Churchill (1909-1972). He served in occupied France with her d
Not too often, but once in a while, a true story is so intense, thrilling, and adventurous that reading it you just might think you're reading fiction. Filled with espionage, war, romance, torture, imprisonment, and desperation, Odette's story is inspiring and fascinating. Leaving three young children behind while her husband is on the front lines, Odette volunteered to go behind enemy lines in Occupied France and work on behalf of the resistance. At first, reluctant to become a spy and thinking ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an incredible story of war, intrigue, love and a whole lot of courage! It is the story of Odette Sansom whose moral code would not allow her to sit back and do nothing as the Nazi made their march on Europe. At great personal expense, she left her family and her life to act as a courier for the British SOE (Special Organization Executive), whose function was to cause as much difficulty as they could for the Nazi through acts of sabotage. The strength and courage this woman had in the fac ...more
Alayne Emmett
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a thought provoking book. It was a true story of a women in WW2 who decided to become an agent and was sent over to France to help stop the German army.
It was sad and very chilling what this poor woman went through and at times I just had to stop reading for awhile just to take in what I’d just read.
The descriptions are graphic and made me shudder but, it had to be told.
Books like this are so important and people should read them to understand what that generation went through and some
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Code Name: Lise may be a non-fiction espionage epic that will likely be categorised alongside all the rest, but don't make the mistake in thinking that this is merely your average read. This extraordinary woman contributed significantly to the Allied effort and was willing to pay with her life to do so; she would've been acutely aware that there would be Germans chasing her which more often than not, if caught, would result in her death. It reads very much like a fictional espionage thriller but ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I received a free copy thanks to Goodreads.

This biography is interesting to discover Odette Sansom's life during WWII. However, since it is not the first biography, without reading the previous ones it is hard to evaluate its own value.
Indeed, the most interesting part of the book is the last one, the chapter talking about the controversy after the war when different stakeholders published their memoirs and other tried to diminish them. Since this fact-checking portion clearly presents different
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Riveting account of a spy's dangerous (especially if captured) life in WW II France. Some of the prison scenes with the Gestapo captors are a little graphic. The account is fast-paced and well told.
Odette Sansom grew up in France where she was the daughter of a heroic World War I veteran. After marrying a British man, she moved to England. When the second World War began, Odette felt that she should contribute in some way to Britain’s fight against the Nazis.

She enlisted in Special Operations where she was trained as a spy. Because she was fluent in French, she was sent back to France where she worked in a large spy network. She was betrayed and then arrested by the Gestapo. Odette endured
Joseph Finder
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an early copy, and it's just splendid: a grand adventure, part thriller, part love story, full of wonderful details about the tradecraft of wartime espionage and the names of dozens of unsung heroes who fought the Nazis on the backstreets of France. A remarkable achievement that does honor to its subject. It would make a great movie, and I'll be surprised if it hasn't already been optioned.
First sentence: Major Guthrie looked again at the photographs.

Premise/plot: The subtitle of this one tells you essentially everything you need to know to decide if this book is for you: "the true story of the woman who became WWII's most highly decorated spy." Since I seek out fiction and nonfiction set during this time, it was enough for me to put the book on hold. Odette, the spy, in some ways was your average person. She was married. Her husband was in active service--can't remember which b
Lauren Stoolfire
Odette Sansom was an amazing badass. Why don't more people know her name today? If you're looking for an excellent biography that reads like a wartime thriller, this is a must read. Plus, you may also want to try this if you're interested in the life of fellow spy and badass Peter Churchill (and Odette's future husband at that).
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I hadn't read the authors notes at the beginning, I would have thought that this was all fiction.
What an amazing true story centred on a truly brave woman who fought mostly in secret for the allies.
Totally blown away.

Thank you for writing this down.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis. Odette Sansom Hallowes is also known as Odette Churchill and was recruited by the SOE in 1942.

My problem with this biography are the "conversations." While some of these can be documented in general, using this as dialogue feels too much like fiction. I prefer a third person account unless conversations can be documented verbatim with appropriate footnotes.

Odette Sansom was a French woman married to an Englishman and joined the SOE in 1942. I did like the referen
Dick Reynolds
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s 1942 and German troops have occupied most of Europe. A French woman named Odette Sansom wants to do her part to fight the Germans and manages to become a spy code-named Lise. She joins forces with an English officer named Peter Churchill who will be her commanding officer. Remarkably, Odette had once been married and still had three children but she persuades a relative to take care of them while she fulfills her patriotic duty for France.
Odette is alone in Arles, France on Christmas eve
Kat, aka
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I, like so many others, love reading f stories about the Holocaust. I'm not sure why; it was an ugly, ugly time. I think it's because in the end the good guys won, and we need to understand that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Like it did to Odette and Peter in Code Name: Lise.

This book was hard to read, because so much of it was ugly. So many cruelties were inflicted in these pages. But it was beautiful too, because they kept going. They didn't flinch. They ma
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the book, but I did not love it. Way to much drag in the mid section, and then I was somewhat dissapointed in the last part. What happened to the children, what was their view regarding their mother?
Yes Odette was very brave, but it seemed her spy carrier was over before it really started. I hope to read more about various opperations.
I have read a lot of books about WWII, both fiction and nonfiction. This nonfiction book stands somewhat apart from others I have read in that it is stuffed full of minute details with many names of German, French, and English people involved in the espionage game during the war. This could have detracted from the book, but because I listened to the audio version I didn't need to wrestle with the names. In fact, I would strongly recommend listening to the Audible version with Kate Reading as the ...more
Giselle Bradley
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
4.5 Stars
Nima Morgan
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A truly fascinating story. A true war hero who should be celebrated more.
Tabi  (ᕗツ)ᕗ
Jul 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fic
heard this author talking at a local bookstore and he made this sound interesting enough for me to want to read it
Set in occupied France during World War II, this is an exciting story of life as an SOE agent working with the French Resistance which has as its chief character the brave and resourceful Odette Sansom. The author effectively conveys the atmosphere of suspicion experienced by those living through those times and for those involved in Resistance activities, the constant fear of discovery, the difficulty of knowing who to trust and the consequences of the wrong move or careless word. There are man ...more
Zohar -
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
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Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis is a non-fiction book about a British spy operating in occupied France. Mr. Lofits was a corporate attorney, but is now a full time writer.

The one thing which I immediately realized by reading this book is that the author has much sympathy for his subject. Odette Sansom, Lise, was not just the most decorated woman, but
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-it
I don’t read non fiction very often but when I do I’ve got high expectations. This exceeded my expectations.

Code Name ; Lise is an amazing story of Odette Sansom. Her story is powerful and raw. It sure pulled on so many of my emotions. It’s not an easy read but it is a story that needs to be told and more importantly to be read.

I hated history at school but maybe if we were given stories like this to read we’d have learnt more. A faultless story that I’ll certainly be recommending.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh. For a book purporting to tell the story of a spy, remarkably little is about spycraft. The majority paints a picture of captivity and "grace under fire" that got old. Maybe I needed a reminder that Germans later executed at Nuremberg did terrible things. (Related: the concentration camps were terrible, did you know?) The end bit explains this preoccupation a little - the long tale of long years a prisoner reads as a rebuttal to poor scholarship and a refutation of a slightly tarnished reput ...more
Jeanette (Again)

Odette Sansom was an extraordinarily brave and determined woman. She certainly deserved all of the accolades and decorations she received. The book can be confusing at times because there are so many spies on both sides of the conflict and they use multiple names that are hard to keep track of.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounding up because I can't even imagine walking a day in her footsteps! And she was a mother... We are all made of different cloth, hers was steel, mine is lint, just stunned at her strength 💪!
I have nothing pithy to say about this book other than these 2 things:

1) read it
2) what are you waiting for, read it

Rachel Bridgeman
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: march-2019
Huge thanks to Melanie at Mirror Books for the blogtour invite and gifted review copy of the superb ‘Code Name : Lise’ which is available now in ebook, hardcover and paperback formats wherever good books are sold.

This book defies clear categorisation-apart from being a passion project which evolved from his first book, Larry Loftis seamlessly weaves a fictional narrative around factual events whilst skillfully juggling suspense, horror and accuracy.

The sheer happenstance which lands Odette in Fr
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Hello, everyone!

Two quick announcements:

1. I'm honored that CODE NAME: LISE has been included in the current Barnes & Noble "Paperback Favorites" promotion.
Under this promo, it's "buy one, get one half off." They have about fifteen books in each category, and CNL is in the History group, as well as the Biography group. CNL will be in this promotion until Aug. 17.

2. My third nonfiction espionag

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30 likes · 21 comments
“He asked her how she felt about the Germans, and she said, “I hate them. I mean that I hate Nazis. For the Germans, oddly enough, I have pity.” “I thought you might separate Germans and Nazis. It was not the Nazis but the Germans who killed your father.” Odette blinked. Jepson had done his homework. She looked at the captain. “Yes, but they were driven then as they are driven now. I think the Germans are very obedient and very gullible. Their tragedy—and Europe’s—is that they gladly allow themselves to be hoodwinked into believing evil to be good.” 1 likes
“She was now ready. Diarrhea pills, speed, sleep dope, lethal pill, and beauty aid. Bring on the Germans.” 0 likes
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