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History / Wars & Conflicts / World War II / European Theater > The War We Won Apart

A Canadian Author Canadian Read

The War We Won Apart: The Untold Story of Two Elite Agents Who Became One of the Most Decorated Couples of WWII

By Nahlah Ayed

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Publish Date

May 28, 2024


Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Military / Intelligence & Espionage



Love, betrayal, and a secret war: the untold story of two elite agents, one Canadian, one British, who became one of the most decorated couples of WWII.

On opposite sides of the pond, Sonia Butt, an adventurous young British woman, and Guy d’Artois, a French-Canadian soldier and thunderstorm of a man, are preparing for war.

From different worlds, their lives first intersect during clandestine training to become agents with Winston Churchill’s secret army, the Special Operations Executive. As the world’s deadliest conflict to date unfolds, Sonia and Guy learn how to parachute into enemy territory, how to kill, blow up rail lines, and eventually . . . how to love each other. But not long after their hasty marriage, their love is tested by separation, by a titanic invasion—and by indiscretion.

Writing in vivid, heart-stopping prose, Ayed follows Sonia as she plunges into Nazi-occupied France and slinks into black market restaurants to throw off occupying Nazi forces, while at the same time participating in sabotage operations against them; and as Guy, in another corner of France, trains hundreds into a resistance army.

Reconstructed from hours of unpublished interviews and hundreds of archival and personal documents, the story Ayed tells is about the ravaging costs of war paid for disproportionately by the young. But more than anything, The War We Won Apart is a story about love: two secret agents who were supposed to land in enemy territory together, but were fated to fight the war apart.
NAHLAH AYED is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and currently a producer and host of CBC’s Ideas. For two decades, Ayed worked in hot zones around the globe—from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Her first book, A Thousand Farewells, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Awards.

ISBN: 9780735242067
Format: Hardback
Pages: 416
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: May 28, 2024


“Writing so vivid you feel you are in the woods with the Resistance experiencing the seduction and horror of war. Brilliantly researched. Who knew elite women agents were parachuted behind enemy lines?”

—Rosemary Sullivan, bestselling author of The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation and Where the World Was: A Memoir

“A touching account of a remarkable young Canadian couple parachuted into occupied France to help the partisans: this is both a love story and a stirring tale about courage and selflessness all the more remarkable for having been kept so long a secret.”

—Caroline Moorehead, bestselling author of A Train in Winter

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