The Women Who Helped Make D-Day Possible by author of ‘The Umbrella Mouse,’ Anna Fargher.

Anna Fargher’s brilliant middle grade title  ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ is currently Waterstones Children’s Book Of The month. It tells a tale based on the true stories of some of the animals caught in the conflict of the Second World War, a tale of courage, friendship and resistance.
When the Umbrella shop which is the London home of mouse, Pip Hanway and her family is destroyed by a bomb, her whole life is turned upside as her home and her family are gone. She begins a perilous quest to start a new life in her family’s home country of Italy. However, to get there through France, Pip has to join a secret animal resistance force called Noah’s Ark.
With danger and evil everywhere, Pip must quickly learn who she can trust, risking everything to save herself and her new friends. Head over to Twitter to see how you can win a copy for yourself.
Read Anna’s special piece about one of the women who inspired her book and was the only woman to head a resistance network in France:
D-Day And The Women Who Made Success Possible
Little-known French Resistance leader, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was the only woman to head a network in France during WWII. Her group, The Alliance, was the biggest (3000 ppl) and one of the most effective spy organisations during the war – an impressive feat for a 31 year old mother of two living living in a chauvinist world.

Fourcade was extraordinary, escaping capture twice, once by squeezing naked through the bars of her cell and she gave birth to her third child while on the run from the Gestapo. The Alliance delivered crucial intelligence that made the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944 a success thanks to its agent Jeannie Rousseau thwarting Hitler’s plot to destroy London with V2 weapons and prevent an Allied invasion. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the invasion forces, later wrote: “Were the Germans able to perfect these new weapons six months earlier, it was likely that our invasion of Europe would have encountered enormous difficulties and, in certain circumstances, would not have been possible, I am certain that after six months of such activity, an attack on Europe would have been a washout.”  Furthermore, another agent of Fourcade’s, the artist Robert Douin, delivered a hand drawn map of the D-Day beaches three months before the landings. It was 55 feet long, meticulously detailed and hailed as “the most complete military picture of the landing sites” that the Allied command would be given in the course of the war.

Marie-Madeline Fourcade’s story inspired my debut novel and Waterstones’ book of the month for June, The Umbrella Mouse, which opens after D-Day during the V1 attacks that started to hit London on 13th June 1944. Fourcade gave members of The Alliance animal code-names, earning them the Gestapo given nickname ‘Noah’s Ark‘. Hers was ‘hedgehog’ and she appears in The Umbrella Mouse in this form with other other real-life animals caught in the conflict of WWII. Fourcade has slipped through history because Charles de Gaulle chose not to honour her heroism, largely due to her gender and post war political in-fighting. The Umbrella Mouse is dedicated to her in the hope she will be remembered.

What a fascinating woman! I wonder how many others have slipped off the pages of history solely because of their gender? I think ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ is definitely a fitting tribute.

Library Girl.

*Thank you to Macmillan Children’s Books for sending me a review copy of this wonderful title to review*


3 thoughts on “The Women Who Helped Make D-Day Possible by author of ‘The Umbrella Mouse,’ Anna Fargher.

  1. erinthecatprincess says:

    What an entertaining story, and one with clearly a far deeper factual basis. I have to say we will probably never know the extent of woman kinds role in society when history was generally written by men for men, and perpetuated with a masculine slant. Great to see so many books being reviewed that address this.


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