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England May 1940, Esme Colborne is engaged to Richard Trevannion he’s from one of the oldest and well to do families in England. Esme’s mother Naomi wants to have a chat, she’s expecting the dreaded what to expect on your wedding night talk and its much worse. Esme is devastated to learn that she’s adopted, she’s twenty five, her parents have waited until just before her wedding to share this information with her and how can she possibly tell Richard? Esme feels betrayed, she’s in shock, she’s not good enough to marry her fiancée and she runs away.
Esme finds a place to live, by chance a stranger over hears her talking French and she’s given an unexpected opportunity. Esme has no idea how she could her country during WW II but they have a plan to test men who have trained to be Special Operations Executives and before dropping them into France. The idea is to use 'decoy women', Esme is sent to the Hotel Aurelian, here she’s given assignments to meet, chat to the agents and try to get them to slip up and blow their cover stories. Esme proves that’s there’s more than one way to win a war, she’s very good at her job and some agents don’t pass the final test.
Unfortunately for Esme she discovers the war is very dangerous, the air raid sirens, bomb shelters and barbed wire on the beaches are not props. During a bombing raid she experiences the terror and afterwards the sadness and tragedy of two lives lost. This makes Esme think about her choices she’s made, did she judge her parents harshly and would Richard ever want to see her again? Her Patriotic Duty is a brilliant story, it made me aware of women volunteering to be decoys during WW II, it was part of Winston Churchill’s plan to win the war and he was a very clever man. Well done to Rosie Meddon to write a book that honors and makes us aware of these brave and smart women. I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing an honest review and gave the book five stars.
I found this book quite interesting in that it showed that through training, the attributes of a person can be used in beneficial ways. My only reservation was it appeared to be to glamorous,for such a serious situation.