By Chet Yarbrough
By Elizabeth Wein
Narrated by: Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell
Code Name Verity offers another view of WWII. It tells a story of United Kingdom’ heroines that fly transport planes and participate in intelligence operations in Western Europe. Though the only known women combat pilots in WWII were soldiers for the U.S.S.R., Elizabeth Wein notes that women from the United Kingdom enlisted as transport pilots during the war.
Their job is to ferry supplies, and sometimes spies, to remote locations in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. Wein creates a story that shows how some United Kingdom’ women undoubtedly gave their lives as spies for England. Wein combines the story of a Scottish spy with an English transport pilot. The spy is captured by Nazis in occupied France.
Wien’s story is historical fiction but it is drawn from a composite of women that flew and/or spied for England during the war. The two main characters are middle and upper-class United Kingdom women. One is an English Jew, the other is a Scottish aristocrat. They join the women’s air corps because they are young and adventurous, and because of the circumstance of a war with too few soldiers defending against a growing Nazi’ war machine.
Wein’s story is slightly more than an adventure. It reveals the affection that grows between people facing the crises of war. Wein’s story shows how women are the equal of men in courage, intelligence, and ability. A listener will care for Wein’s two main characters by the end of the story.
War levels class and gender differences. Wein suggests that an aristocrat would never have become close friends with a middle class English woman in the 1930s, Wein creates two women that show themselves equal to any man’s courage, intelligence, and ability. War creates heroes and heroines. But, Wein shows war also creates victims; e.g. combatants killed on both sides of war, families devastated by loss of children and parents, siblings that lose brothers or sisters, and friends that lose friends.