The Englishman's Daughter by Ben Macintyre
A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War One

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"I have a rendezvous with death, at some disputed barricade." Alan Seeger, 1916

In the first days of World War I four soldiers, left behind as the British army retreated through northern France under the first German onslaught, found themselves trapped on the wrong side of the Western Front, in a tiny village called Villeret. Just a few miles from the Somme, the village would be permanently inundated with German troops for the next four years, yet the villagers conspired to feed, clothe and protect the fugitives under the very noses of the invaders, absorbing the Englishmen into their homes and lives until they could pass for Picardy peasants.

The leader of the band, Robert Digby, was a striking young man who fell in love with Claire Dessenne, the prettiest maid in the village. In November 1915, with the guns clearly audible from the battlefront, Claire gave birth to Digby's child, the jealous whispering began, and the conspiracy that had protected the soldiers for half the war started to unravel.

Never before told, The Englishman's Daughter is a harrowing tale of love, duplicity and their tragic consequences, which haunt the people of Villeret eight decades after the Great War.

About Ben Macintyre

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Ben Macintyre is the author of Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche (FSG, 1992) and The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief (FSG, 1997). He lives in Washington, DC.
Published January 12, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 254 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A small tale extracted from the annals of the "War to End All Wars," by historical biographer Macintyre (The Napoleon of Crime, 1997, etc.), proves powerful and evocative.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Englishman's Daughter: A ...

Publishers Weekly

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Private Robert Digby, the hero of this tale, blended in so successfully—"It's almost like he was running for mayor," said one villager—that he fell in love with the local belle, Claire Dessenne.

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Book Reporter

The soldiers --- adored by most villagers --- were welcomed to the.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Englishman's Daughter: A ...

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