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Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, this is an engaging and absolutely riveting read following the memories of two sisters during the Second World War. Pat and Jean Owtram were still teenagers when the war began and signed up as soon as they were old enough, with Pat intercepting German radio and Jean becoming a Code and Cipher Officer. Each sister tells her own story in sequence, with letters to each other and family members adding a real insight into their lives and the times. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, they were unable to divulge their roles even to each other, but nonetheless the actual letters reveal their courage, resilience, and spirit. It is fascinating to discover that both women owed their wartime duties to their fluency in German, a skill that was honed after their family had taken in two Austrian Jewish refugees. I am intrigued by the world of intelligence, so found this a compelling read. It is the little things, such as Jean nearly not passing on a seemingly irrelevant yet vital piece of information that makes this so fascinating. Their wartime work shaped the women they became and I want to hand on heart, salute them both. Codebreaking Sisters is a worthwhile, truly lovely and enthralling read I can highly recommend.
Patricia & Jean Owtram are possibly the only living sisters to have signed the wartime Official Secrets act.
Raised in a Lancashire country house in the 1920s, the family takes in two Austrian Jewish refugees, and the sisters quickly become fluent in German - which will go on to shape their roles for ever.
When war breaks out in 1939, Patricia is snapped up by the Wrens and posted to top-secret listening stations along the British coastline. Collaborating with Bletchley Park, she is tasked with intercepting German shipping radio in a bid to crack the seemingly impenetrable Enigma Code.
Jean's quick brain for crossword solving lands her a secretive role as Code & Cipher Officer in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. At just 18 years of age, Jean is posted to Cairo, before moving on to Italy to aid the Partisan efforts against the Nazis.
As the sisters continue to demonstrate their outstanding intelligence, resilience and fierce determination, the tide of war gradually begins to turn in Britain's favour.
This is the astonishing story of persistence, comradeship and fighting spirit showed by everyday people in bringing the Nazis down.
Publication date: 23/07/2020
Publisher: Mirror Books
|Publication date:||23rd July 2020|
|Author:||Patricia Owtram, Jean Owtram|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Debuts of the Month, History, Star Books,|
|Collections:||Our Favourite Books of 2020,|
|Categories:||Second World War, Memoirs, True war & combat stories, Espionage & secret services,|