Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: BECOMING CLEMENTINE by Jennifer Niven



5 of 5 stars


From the opening pages when 21-year-old Velma Jean Hart is piloting a B-17 bomber across the Atlantic Ocean, I was intrigued with this character. In 1944 she was only the second woman to have accomplished this feat. Velma is a member of the Women Air Force Pilots (WASP) and nothing is more challenging for her than flying a plane. When she volunteers to co-pilot an allied mission to drop agents in France, she has no idea that it will change her life forever. The plane is shot down in the French countryside and Velma must learn to survive while eluding capture by the Germans who are scouring the area for survivors. With the 5 agents who parachuted before the plane crashed, Velma makes her way to Paris where she takes up her alias as Clementine Roux. She works with the Resistance sabotaging German operations however she can.

This story is one of courage, commitment to doing the right thing and the will to survive despite overwhelming odds. Scene after scene will keep you glued to the story especially the chapters dealing with the brutal prison. Will Clementine crack under interrogation by the German commandant? Is she still trying to collect intel on the enigmatic spy known only as "Swan" who is also in German custody even when her own life is in jeopardy. The storyline is riveting, and though it is not a true story, it could very well be one. That's how realistic and compelling Velma/Clementine's story is. There were so many courageous and dedicated people trying to defeat the Germans during World War II. This is just one story, but an absolute must read.