China Blue is Claire Dudley’s SOE Code name. We follow Aircraftwoman Claire from recruitment for special services, due to her exceptional language skills, through her secretive training. Along with her friend, Edwina, she develops the skills required, including learning to parachute and spending time living with a French family in Northumberland. Eventually she is airdropped into Occupied France.
Claire is bold and efficient in her nerve-wracking work, but against all the rules she falls in love. The Gestapo arrests her lover, but despite this she continues to work with the resistance.
The author must have done a lot of research, and I found the details of the training and methods of resistance work interesting. The situation that develops is touching and at times heart-wrenching.
There were a few awkward gaps in the narration and the ending was slightly hurried. Some of the most exciting action is related by other characters, rather than witnessed first hand. A little more editing could perhaps have avoided this and made the story more immediate.
The writing is clear and easy to read and the book presentation is excellent, with an appealing cover design.