The Invisible Woman

by Erika Robuck

Paperback, 2021




Berkley (2021), 368 pages

User reviews

LibraryThing member nancyadair
The publishing world seems saturated by WWII novels. And yet there always seems to be one more story to be told, a story unlike the others we have read. The Invisible Woman offers readers a character so amazing that it is hard to believe she is based on a real woman.

In The Invisible Woman, Erika Robuck brings to life Virginia Hall Goillot who went into occupied France as a "pianist," coordinating and supplying the Marquis as they sabotaged the Nazis. She was the only civilian woman to be award the U. S. Distinguished Service Cross, and one of the first women to work for the C.I.A.

It is a riveting read.

The average lifespan of a pianist was six weeks. "You will receive no praise or accolades for your service," Virginia was warned, "Without military uniform, if captured, you will not fall under Geneva protection." She would starve. She would feel guilt over the deaths of those involved in her work. She could be jailed, raped, tortured, or put to death.

Virginia accepted the challenge. She had a debt to pay.

Virginia wore a prosthetic leg but it did not stop her from her work. Masquerading as an elderly woman, she rode a bicycle for hours, trekked through deep mountain snow, endured danger and grief, gained the trust of the boys and men she worked with, and was aided by women and children.

The "nameless and faceless" army of common folks were true heros, enduring suffering and loss unfalteringly. A village of pacifist Christians hid thousands of evacuated Jewish children.

Virginia struggles with what she has seen. How do men become monsters? Is humanity redeemable? Can small acts overpower it? Was resisting worth dying for? Will her humanity be another victim of the war?

Readers will be gratified by the ending.

I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.
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LibraryThing member ang709
I read a lot of WWII books, but I found this to be a stand out. It is about an extraordinary real life woman, and despite knowing how things would turn out for her, I still found it suspenseful. I enjoyed reading and learning more about the resistance groups Virginia worked with, especially the last one where there were so many children. Virginia herself presented a hard exterior, but as this seemed to be a result of how seriously she took her job and the safety of her people, I found I still liked her and could readily root for her. I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction or stories about strong women.… (more)
LibraryThing member fcplcataloger
Author Erika Robuck weaves fictional details with historical facts in The Invisible Woman and the resulting story is one that I won't soon forget. As I read the amazing feats of OSS agent Virginia Hall, I concluded that she could have also been called a wonder woman as she feverishly worked to aid the war effort while wearing a prosthetic leg she had named Cuthbert. Hall was the ultimate spy and freedom fighter, the only civilian woman to ever be given the United States Distinguished Service Cross., and a CIA operative after the end of WWII.

I love a book that entertains as it enlightens and this book certainly delivers. Robuck stirred my emotions as I was plunged into a world of spies, war, and the uncertainties of justice versus revenge. The Invisible Woman is exceptional historical fiction!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.
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LibraryThing member Desiree_Reads
A fascinating tale based on the life of a real woman who was an Allied spy during World War II. You'll follow Virginia Hall through several legs of her journey. You'll feel her to-the-bone weariness. You'll witness her internal struggle as to whether to help with the here and now or to play the long game. And you'll see her as a real person who did amazing things. And you'll see her grow as a person and as a woman - one who has a real, beating heart.

If you follow my reviews, you've probably heard me say it before... there is just a glut of WWII books out there right now. But this one's worth the read. It's a bit gritty and can be a bit confusing at times to tell if we're reading the current timeline or an internal dialogue memory. But, the author has a great way of foreshadowing and then letting the other shoe drop, so to speak.

I really liked the book. The only thing that could make it better, I think, except for the aforementioned, would be if it could have included some photos or other ephemera in the back of the book. But I understand our heroine was quite an elusive character to research, which only makes sense for a spy.

Recommended for true-story historical fiction and book club lovers.
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Original language


Physical description

8.19 inches


0593102142 / 9780593102145
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