'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Monday, 19 October 2015

Review: The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake

Writing on the life of the great Australian Nancy Wake can never be exhausted regardless of the countless books that are available.  Her contribution to the Underground movements and the Secret Service in France, earned her many medals making her the most decorated woman during WW2. These war medals are on display at the Australian War Memorial.

I loved this outstanding publication, especially the stunning artwork that moves like a reel of film through the pages. Scene to scene, it depicts Nancy’s courage and heroic actions. Peter Gouldthorpe’s comprehensive coverage of Nancy’s life in text and illustration, makes us emotionally experience her absolute selfless commitment to her cause.

The biography begins with Nancy at seven years old when her father leaves. She experiences an unhappy life with her mother until at sixteen she runs away to work as a nurse in country New South Wales. At twenty, an aunt gives her money. This allows her to leave Australia and travel.

She falls in love with Paris, and a dog in a pet shop which she names Picon. Later also with Henri Fiocca, whom she marries. Although he appears shadowed by Nancy’s tremendous work, he contributes greatly to her cause. When he is betrayed, captured and tortured by the Gestapo, he dies refusing to give up Nancy or any of her network.

The layout is superb. Torn pages from a notebook wear the text. Full-page illustrations adorn each double spread throughout the book. The elegant maps on the end papers enhance the excellent title page with its moving dedication and ink drawings. It is the incredibly graphic front cover that will make people pick this book up. It will impress from whatever angle it is looked at. A definite collectable for older children and adults interested in war history, but a must for lovers of unique picture books for all ages.

Title: The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake
Author/Illustrator: Peter Gouldthorpe
Publisher: Omnibus Books, $ 26.99 RRP
Publication Date: August 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781742990910
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior Non-Fiction

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