Priscilla The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France

by Nicholas Shakespeare

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Priscilla The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France Synopsis

.This is the astonishing true story of a young woman's adventures, and misadventures, in the dangerous world of Nazi-occupied France. A most strange and compelling book driven by the writer's unsparing search for truth: now an optimistic hunt for a family heroine, now a study in female wiles of survival, now a portrait of one very ordinary person's frailty in the face of terrible odds. (John le Carre). When Nicholas Shakespeare stumbled across a box of documents belonging to his late aunt he was completely unaware of where this discovery would take him. The Priscilla he remembered was very different from the glamorous, morally ambiguous young woman who emerged from the many love letters and journals, surrounded by suitors and living the dangerous existence of a British woman in a country controlled by the enemy. He had heard rumours 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. Nicholas discovered the answer to the questions he'd been puzzling over: 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' she was having a relationship with as Paris was liberated? Priscilla's story shows us the precariousness of life in occupied France, when loyalties were compromised and life could change in an instant. It gives us an intimate insight into women's lives in times of conflict and asks us to consider what we might do to survive in similar circumstances.

Priscilla The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France Press Reviews

This mysterious story of the Occupation in France has all the qualities of a fascinating novel, with exquisite social, sexual and moral nuance -- Antony Beevor

 

Nicholas Shakespeare has employed all his superb gifts as a writer to tell the picaresque tale of his aunt in wartime occupied France. Priscilla is a femme fatale worthy of fiction, and the author traces her tangled, troubled, romantic and often tragically unromantic experiences through one of the most dreadful periods of 20th-century history -- Max Hastings

 

Priscilla's descent into hell runs eerily parallel to that of France itself; Faustian, fascinating and in the end extremely sad -- Sebastian Faulks

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780099555667
Publication date: 03/07/2014
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780099555667
Publication date: 3rd July 2014
Author: Nicholas Shakespeare
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 464 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,
Categories: Biography: historical, political & military, Family history, tracing ancestors, Second World War,

About Nicholas Shakespeare

Nicholas Shakespeare is the author of The Vision of Elena Silves (1989), winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, The High Flyer, for which he was nominated for the Grants list in 1993 and The Dancer Upstairs which was chosen by the American Libraries Association as the best novel of 1997. In 1999 his biography, Bruce Chatwin was published to great critical acclaim.

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