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A Woman of No Importance
A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II | Sonia Purnell
48 posts | 43 read | 56 to read
The never-before-told story of one woman's heroism that changed the course of the Second World War In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her." This spy was Virginia Hall, a young American woman--rejected from the foreign service because of her gender and her prosthetic leg--who talked her way into the spy organization deemed Churchill's "ministry of ungentlemanly warfare," and, before the United States had even entered the war, became the first woman to deploy to occupied France. Virginia Hall was one of the greatest spies in American history, yet her story remains untold. Just as she did in Clementine, Sonia Purnell uncovers the captivating story of a powerful, influential, yet shockingly overlooked heroine of the Second World War. At a time when sending female secret agents into enemy territory was still strictly forbidden, Virginia Hall came to be known as the "Madonna of the Resistance," coordinating a network of spies to blow up bridges, report on German troop movements, arrange equipment drops for Resistance agents, and recruit and train guerilla fighters. Even as her face covered WANTED posters throughout Europe, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped with her life in a grueling hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown, and her associates all imprisoned or executed. But, adamant that she had "more lives to save," she dove back in as soon as she could, organizing forces to sabotage enemy lines and back up Allied forces landing on Normandy beaches. Told with Purnell's signature insight and novelistic flare, A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war.
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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

Astonishing! This book reads like a spy novel but it is all true! The bravery and fortitude demonstrated by this American woman fighting for France in WW2 had me cheering for her the whole way while at the same time wanting to shake some sense into her superiors. She single handed my changed the course of the war and managed to turn the tide in several fronts in France. And so we‘ll researched and written! Read this book! #herstory ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Texreader Glad I grabbed this one recently 5mo
SayersLover Good to know! This one‘s on my TBR list as well. @Julsmarshall 5mo
61 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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CaramelLunacy
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"Three other officers had turned up a few nights previously, one dropping down from an RAF plane apparently in a kilt - an unfortunate choice of uniform considering he landed on top of a pine tree."

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Texreader
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E-book on sale today on all major platforms

Addison_Reads Great deal on a really great book. 5mo
Texreader @Addison_Reads That‘s good to hear. It‘s been on my tbr a long time so I got it tonight 5mo
45 likes2 comments
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

Fascinating read!

Before hearing about this book I knew nothing of Virginia Hall. She was a badass. 😁 There's a lot of well-researched information here and I learned more than I expected about WWII and espionage. I love that the author included details about personal relationships Virginia had as well as details of her job.

TheBookHippie I loved this one as well. 6mo
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AmyK1
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Pickpick

This is a well written and researched book about the life of Virginia Hall before, during and after WWII. She was the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and her work helped free France from the Nazi‘s grip. She was brave, cunning, resourceful, smart. She was truly amazing.

This is my #doublespin for February
@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 7mo
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SilverShanica
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Pickpick

The amazing biography of Virginia Hall, one of the first women spies in WW2. Being both a woman and an amputee Virginia was not someone you would have expected to be a spy at all, let alone one of the most successful of the war. Working for both the British SOE and later the American OSS she ran some of the most important paramilitary missions and was key in the Allies‘ victory in France. An amazing read that everyone should check out.

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Readswithcoffee
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Pickpick

How have I never heard of Virginia Hall? What a woman!!! So tough. So brave. So dedicated. This is the kind of nonfiction book that is so interesting there is no need for it to ever be turned into historical fiction. And once again, the narration by Juliet Stevenson is exceptional.

wanderinglynn I didn‘t read this one but I read another bio of her. She was an amazing woman. I‘ll have to check this one out. 9mo
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Readswithcoffee
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I enjoyed Juliet Stevenson‘s narration of Miss Benson‘s Beetle so much I searched my library for other books she has narrated. This popped up and was available. So far, what a find!

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Goleemn
Pickpick

Before reading this, I knew about Virginia Hall and admired her. After reading this, I am in awe. She did so much for France against the Nazis! With a wooden leg that marked her, she still evaded capture (once hiking over a snowy mountain pass) and set up highly effective resistance networks. This book revealed new facts about her work and awards. And the book is readable and outstandingly written. Awesome read, highly recommend!

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QBub
Pickpick

Who knew that one of the most effective leaders of the underground resistance in France during WWII was an American woman, employed by the British? Virginia Hall, who lost part of her left leg in a hunting accident and spoke accented French, was a woman who would not let her limp or her gender confine her remarkable intelligence and abilities to more traditional female roles. A true life spy thriller.

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wen4blu
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Up next, the true story of an American spy working for British intelligence inside of France during WWII.

37 likes1 stack add
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SilverShanica
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I am posting one book per day from my to-be-read collection. No description and providing no reason for wanting to read it, I just do. Some will be old, some will be new - don‘t judge me I have a lot of books.
Join the fun if you want. This is day 204.
#bookstoread
#tbrpile
#bookstagram

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alysonimagines
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I read this for my book club‘s (#LitsyATXReadersSociety) March theme of espionage and thoroughly enjoyed the true, amazing story of Virginia Hall, an American field operative who arguably helped the Allies win WWII through the vast and meticulously curated network she built, person by person, in France. And she did all this with the perceived “disadvantages” of being a woman who had a prosthetic leg. Au contraire!🔸#marchreads2021

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Jgotham
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I had no idea how bad life in France was til this book. I had foolishly assumed that they all were resisting. In fact after Pétain‘s capitulation that French police were actively arresting and killing their own people as well as shipping them to Germany for slave labor ?

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Jgotham
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I had no idea that during WWII they would use heroin to get Germans addicted and unable to fight 😆 I did know of the Germans use of methamphetamines to help them drive off fatigue and fear but not the other side‘s use of drugs against them.

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KateD1
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Pickpick

Virginia Hall. This fearless woman paved the way in the intelligence field for not only women but disabled people.
This book tells the struggles she went through, the amazing work she did in France during WWII, and seeks to give her some of the credit she so much deserves.
#AWomanOfNoImportance #historical #worldwar #womenshistory

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klbwriting
Pickpick

This book is a bit slow but the subject, Virginia Hall, is just so interesting and inspiring I didn't care. This book had my attention and honestly I would sigh to myself and mutter 'ugh men' a lot because the 1940s (and most of the time surrounding that period) men sucked in their treatment and views on women. If you like Peggy Carter from the MCU read this, this woman is Peggy Carter in the real war.

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klbwriting
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Just a normal night reading on the kindle under a giant dinosaur comforter, ya know, adult stuff

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Maria514626
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Mehso-so

This is a fascinating story inelegantly told.
I enjoy stories that leave some feelings to the imagination or make me fill in the blanks (much more powerful IMO).

The author gives SO MUCH detail about the missions. I lost the “Holy crap! The Nazis are so close!” Seemed like she needed to document each fact from her research. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat but the intensity got lost in the minutiae.

tpixie Good insights in your review ❤️ 2y
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Hestapleton
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Pickpick

I‘ve been in an #audiostitching kind of mood this weekend! Wrapped up this GEM of an audiobook - Virginia Hall was a powerhouse of a woman and true trailblazer whose history has been largely forgotten. As secretive as she was, Hall would probably be happy about that. But I‘m all for bringing visibility to women‘s history that has been forgotten and suppressed. 🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃 and book FIVE #feastmode
(Ignore my weird cross stitch outlining)

Julsmarshall Lovely! 2y
FelinesAndFelonies Wow! That's beautiful. 2y
64 likes2 comments
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Hestapleton
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Starting off day 3 of #feastmode by #audiostitching while listening to the tagged book! It‘s super fascinating, though the narrator should really stop trying to do an American accent.

Traci1 Is that the Welcome to Tara pattern? 2y
Mollyanna That‘s beautiful. Makes me want to get my project out and ignore all the stuff around the house that needs to be done today. 2y
Hestapleton @Traci1 it is!! My mom loves gone with the wind so I‘m making it for her! 2y
Hestapleton @Mollyanna that‘s what I‘m doing!!! 2y
Traci1 @Hestapleton i thought it looked familiar. I've done a few of those "travel poster" ones, and I bought that pattern for my mother-in-law who loves GWTW. 2y
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EmMcKee
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"In what become known as the decade of lies, truth and trust were falling victim to fear, racism, and hatred. Virginia found herself in a ringside seat as the increasingly fragile ideal of democracy failed to find champions with alternate answers."

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charl08

Three other officers had turned up a few nights previously, one dropping down from an RAF plane apparently in a kilt – an unfortunate choice of uniform considering he landed on top of a pine tree.

🌲🌲🤣

TrishB 😂😂 2y
charl08 @TrishB ouch, eh... 2y
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Yahui07
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Pickpick

Learned some WWII history from this book and enjoy it!

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riversong153
Pickpick

This book was amazing. I‘m not usually a history buff, but Virginia Hall‘s life story is so incredible and inspiring. I listened on audio and loved every bit of it.

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SiriuslyWeasley
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My most local indie bookshop, Gramercy Books Bexley, is operating with contactless curbside service, as well as online orders. I was really feeling the walls closing in, so I gave them a call to request my book and hopped in the car for a road trip! I love driving, and it was quite helpful to my mental state. Yay for different scenery! 😊 💞 🚗 📚

Texreader Good for you. I had to run errands today (I had to get my car inspected of all things!), first time out in weeks and it really helped alleviate my increasingly somber mood. (edited) 2y
SiriuslyWeasley @Texreader I'm happy to know a small excursion helped you too. I think we're definitely learning to appreciate the little things more fully! 😊 2y
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Mitch
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Pickpick

Incredibly I've never heard of Virginia Hall (which she'd be happy about!) I'm grateful to Purnell for sharing the life of this amazingly courageous, determined & resourceful woman who shaped key elements of the resistance in WWII France & fed Allied forces with key intelligence. A super interesting insight into the life as a spy, plus coping with disability and fighting sexism. Fascinating story of the determination of one woman to serve.

Crazeedi Hi my friend, been keeping you close ❤ 2y
Chrissyreadit ❤️ 2y
Mitch @Crazeedi thank you 🙏 x 2y
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riversong153
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@GreenGrl87 thanks for the tag! Hmmmm, I‘d say 1️⃣ cunning and 2️⃣ Yes, but only 3 (2 for me and 1 for my kid from the local indie). I‘ll tag @Chrissyreadit and @LazyOwl if you‘re up for it! #Two4Tuesday

Chrissyreadit 😂only 3!!! 2y
riversong153 That may have come out wrong lol! 😂😂 2y
TheSpineView Great that you are supporting a local business! 👍 Thanks for playing! 😊 2y
21 likes3 comments
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DGRachel
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Mehso-so

I feel kind of terrible giving this a so-so rating, but it‘s honest. The subject was fascinating and I am impressed by what Virginia was able to accomplish, her intelligence, creativity, bravery, and overall skill, and horrified by her experiences with discrimination in a male-dominated field/society. But the writing style was dull and tedious, even Juliet Stevenson‘s narration couldn‘t save it. I doubt I could have finished this in print.

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NAM99
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Mehso-so

I found the first half of the book kind of dull and dense with too many names and places to keep track of. The second half was fascinating and I found was way more about Virginia herself rather than operations.

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rambiepaige
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Even though I missed International Women‘s Day, I figured I could celebrate all of March with this book. There‘s just something about stories of WWII era women I‘m drawn to! 👄💪🏼🦸🏼‍♀️

Kloves2read I want to read this! It‘s on my tbr list! 2y
rambiepaige @Kloves2read it‘s not bad!! I just read Radium Girls before it so I had to step back for a minute, but definitely worth it! The Alice Network is another good one if you like this type! 2y
Kloves2read There was another one that was similar but it was based on a entire family, rather than an individual. I can‘t recall the tittle and it‘s driving me nuts. I wanted to add it to my tbr list. 2y
15 likes3 comments
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Redwritinghood
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Pickpick

I love these books about important people in history who you‘ve never heard of. This was my introduction to Virginia Hall, American intelligence official who helped fight Nazis on the ground in France during the WWII occupation. Despite gender discrimination and the loss of a leg during an earlier hunting accident, she was able to organize vast networks of spies and resistance fighters, all while constantly eluding capture by Nazi forces. 👇🏻

Redwritinghood She was brave, strategic, intelligent, determined, and often very lucky. Her treatment by her male colleagues and lack of general recognition by France, Britain, and the US immediately after the war was infuriating to read about. Her treatment by the CIA later was grossly unfair. Fortunately, her contributions are more recognized today and there is a building named after her that‘s used for CIA training. 3.5⭐️ (edited) 3y
TrishB I have this one waiting patiently on my kindle 👍🏻 3y
Suet624 Is she still alive? 3y
Redwritinghood @Suet624 No. She died in 1982. 3y
Suet624 Bummer. I always wish that these folks knew that we now know about their bravery. 3y
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Mitch
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Today‘s #bookmail..... not a spy book person, but I found this woman‘s story intriguing and wanted to dive a bit deeper into it.

TrishB I have this too 👍🏻 looks good , just not got to it yet of course. 3y
CareBear Is that a Jane mount print in the background? 3y
Mitch @CareBear it is! I‘ve got two - one of which was custom made for my birthday and is one of my prized possessions! 3y
See All 9 Comments
Mitch @TrishB story of my life! 3y
CareBear I love her art work so much!! That sounds like a wonderful birthday gift! 3y
TNbookworm I loved this book! 3y
DGRachel Ooh, I love spy books. I look forward to your review! 3y
Mitch @TNbookworm 👏 👏 👏 3y
Mitch @DGRachel 🙌 🙌 🙌 3y
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ScientistSam
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Pickpick

A compelling account of a true hero. Virginia Hall developed Resistance networks in occupied and Vichy France in WWII, gathering intelligence and setting up guerilla attacks against the Nazis. What she accomplished was incredible regardless of when she worked or her sex, but to do it in the 1940s as a woman in a man's world was all the more noteworthy.

Highly recommended.

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erzascarletbookgasm
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This book “chronicles the remarkable life of Virginia Hall, a decorated behind-the-lines operative for the Allies in Vichy France in WWII.”

#augustabc #alliesalways

Thanks to google, I‘m lost for ideas for today‘s prompt!

Eggs This sounds like an incredible story 3y
TrishB I‘ve just brought this 👍🏻 3y
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suzisteffen
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1. Tagged
2. Crunchy! But whew it‘s been a while since I had Cheetos.
3. Sunset
4. 1/3 into CDs that mature in 6 months, 1/3 in a year, 1/3 in 18 months. #boringadultanswer
5. 🤔 Hunh. Maybe third?

#friyayintro @howjessreads

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rmaclean4
Pickpick

Listened to the audio of this remarkable story about an extraordinary woman. Worked behind enemy lines in France during WWII . Narrated by Juliet Stevenson...love her narration. 4 🌟

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suzisteffen
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Pickpick

Absolutely inspiring and devastating. We went to the Centre d‘Histoire de la Résistance et de la déportation in Lyon just after I started reading this book, which was only appropriate. Ended the book with tears and so many other emotions. There are always people ready to resist oppression; the key is to find each other and work together. 5 ⭐️ all the way. #history #WWII

Weaponxgirl Finding those people is also so uplifting. Knowing you aren‘t alone and can get more done. 3y
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suzisteffen
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Appropriate to read in Lyon, I suspect. #history #WWII

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R.L.Walker
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Great read while waiting for furniture delivery.
Virginia Hall was an American woman recruited as a British spy who lived in occupied France set up spy networks for the British and helped organize and train the Resistance all with a wooden leg! Impressive read!

booklover76 I started reading this last night! Awesome read 3y
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CampbellTaraL
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Pickpick

As someone who avoided recognition and downplayed her (many, invaluable) roles throughout WWII, I imagine Virginia Hall would be quite displeased to learn of this book's existence. But it's a phenomenal book written about one of the most understated heroes to date. Sorry, Agent Hall, this is an important part of history that people need to know about.

Fantastic storytelling work by the author.

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Lea
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Pickpick

This is one of the best books of the year for me. All the stars. It‘s so well written it almost reads like a novel instead of a biography. Virginia Hall was an amazing woman, who helped WW2 succeed for the allies. Highly recommend. #readwomen

Bookartbookmarks Added!! Thank you! Sounds so interesting. 3y
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ssravp
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Pickpick

An amazing account of an amazing, and critically undervalued hero of WWII.

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RobinGustafson
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My mom devoured this book in three days and is now recommending it to all of her friends! Adding to my TBR 📚📚📚📚 #womenshistory #wwiihistory #soniapurnell

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Booksnob
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Adding this one to my list! I can‘t wait to read it. I love all these great books coming out about amazing, strong women.

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