Penny: Women and War. Ellie Keaton. Amazon Digital. E-Book. August 2014. 276 pp. ASIN#: B00N47L8ZC.
Penelope (or Penny as she is called herein) is a French woman who has lost both of her parents due to the cruelty of Alain, the man who controls most of the small French town where Penny lived for most of her life. It is a neighborly and elderly woman whose kindness to Penny builds up her strength to travel to England and meet the relatives she’s never known in the past. As Penny has been raised as a farmer’s daughter and is totally unused to the world of aristocracy, she is hard-put to conform to the expectations of her rich Aunt and cousin. However, her grandmother, Meme, is determined to build up Penny with love in the present, disregarding the past in which so much harm was done to so many people in this family. None of this warm and hostile treatment deters Penny from her decision to do what she can for the war effort and to exact revenge on the man responsible for the death of her parents!
This is the story of Penny’s training and activities as a member of the French Resistance during WWII. She is hired by England because she passes all of the tests, speaks fluent French and passes with great skill the training for her work as a British spy. During her training she’s attracted to someone she thinks is enlisted as a Royal Air Force member. Is this real love or just an initial infatuation? That picture will change during her time in France when she is even more attracted to a fellow spy, Victor. While in that service, she observes the brutal attacks of German soldiers, the arresting and torture of innocent French men, women and children by Germans and the fact that she can and does kill when the need arises. Penny is challenged further when she is arrested and tortured as a spy.
However, the war story needs to be told. Penny is a survivor but the obstacles she faces test every mental, physical and emotional ability she possesses. Even more distressing is the fact that many of her people are traitors in order to survive. That makes it no less evil to Penny who does what she has to do. She also learns that she may have to make a choice about her dream for revenge, one that may hurt her more than the one who she hates more than anyone in the entire world.
Penny: Women and War is a great read and shows a maturity in Ellie Keaton’s writing skills as she has crafted a more complex plot than in her previous novel in this series. Finely written, Ms. Keaton and highly recommended!