SPYGLASS: An Autobiography by H‚l≤ne Deschamps

SPYGLASS: An Autobiography

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

When the Nazis occupied France, Deschamps, 17, was determined to resist them actively. Joining a group of agents, she rose from being a minor courier to an active field operative, and eventually infiltrated the French subsidiary of the Gestapo. Undercover, she became secretary to one of its chiefs, Jean de Simeon, a schoolfriend of her older brother. Through her work in de Simeon's office in Vichy, Deschamps was able to learn of raids on Resistance hideouts and warn her comrades in advance. Eventually, however, de Simeon was replaced--because of his poor arrest record--and Deschamps became suspect. She was forced to go into hiding and take on a false identity to avoid arrest and deportation. Deschamps suffered some harrowing incidents of near-death, discovery, and betrayal; along the way she lost friends and loved ones, including her adoptive sister, Jackie, and the US officer who was her first love--and lover. Deschamps delivers these exciting events in a deadened, direct tone; her prose is somewhat styleless and clich‚d. One of the unavoidable pitfalls of the first-person narration is that it makes comments on her good looks and courageous acts seem boastful. But the elderly woman readers meet in the epilogue, living mostly in the past, is entitled to a little boasting, and her tale of heroism deserves to be heard.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 302pp
Publisher: Henry Holt