THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
By: Erika Robuck
Published: February 9, 2021
Virginia Hall, the invisible woman in this story, saved countless lives and helped the Allies take over her beloved France. Erika Robuck follows Hall’s story as much as possible while altering details at times to keep the story moving forward. This fictional account of Hall’s life during World War II is so descriptive and emotional, readers will feel like they are sitting in the safe house or waiting for the parachute drops right with Virginia and the men.
Virginia Hall was an American spy who worked for the Resistance. Robuck tells her story after suffering great losses and just escaping her captors to continue to fight for the resistance in France. Under the guise of an old woman, she continued to stay “invisible” and help guide missions to increase the Allies’ movements. Besides being a woman, her skills were also amazing due to her prosthetic leg after suffering from a hunting accident. She didn’t only have to hide her face from those who wanted to kill her, but also her limp that would have made her stand and be even more recognizable.
Robuck’s attention to detail puts readers in the middle of the war in France after Virginia Hall’s escape and treacherous climb to safety through the Pyrenees Mountains. When there is little to research about a spy, Robuck dug deep and even met with Virginia Hall’s niece to learn as much about Virginia the person to be able to write her as the spy.
It’s not the fists alone that win the fight.
Virginia Hall was a tough, intelligent, and adventurous woman. She knew that her life was a ticking time-bomb and knew the danger that she lived in daily. She never took life for granted and was grateful to all the men and women who were part of her missions.
I have to admit, that I knew very little about Virginia Hall when I began reading and guiltily admit that I googled her to make sure I knew she made it out of the war alive. It eased my anxiety a bit reading, but not knowing the outcome of the people who selfishly took her into their homes, signed up to work on her teams, or allowed her to use her wireless from their barns was a bit difficult.
I appreciated how Robuck wrote Virginia as a cold, hard-working woman, but then in her private moments reminded us that she had emotions and empathy for the people she was meeting through her operations. Robuck described Virginia as:
…a cold burned-out bulb in a string of vibrant lights, but this is how it must be.
As Virginia meets her future husband once the war is coming to an end, the reader sees a whole new side of Virginia. We are left hoping that she is able to put some of these memories behind her and find joy in a life away from the horrors of war.
Sometimes all we have is to begin again. But that’s a beautiful gift.
Every single World War II story that I read leaves me feeling astonished at the sacrifices, endurance, and perseverance of those fighting the war and living in it. This perspective from the inside of the Resistance is one that fans of historical fiction will truly appreciate. Robuck also includes a bibliography for readers that reveal more about the elusive Virginia Hall for those that want to learn more.