WARNING: This is a fun read. If you don’t like to have fun while you read*, stay far far away. It’s so awesomely fun that Erica is taking this book on her upcoming honeymoon–and we all know that it’s got to be major league entertainment for her to actually pay attention to a book when there are bound to be so many distractions about.
“The Spy Wore Red” is the first of three autobiographical books by Aline, Countess of Romanones in which she chronicles her adventures as an American woman who worked as a spy in Spain in the aftermath of the 2nd World War, rooting out Nazis from their hiding places in high-society Madrid. I wish I could remember who introduced me to these books, because they are fantastic and this person deserves a firm spank on the butt a nice pat on the head. There is an added fascination for me, having grown up in Spain, to see the country in such a different light, as it was under Franco’s regime. It’s kind of familiar … and also not. The balance does swing more towards the exotic side since she navigated the elite society, which was full of dangerous, classy folks with hidden agendas. The only hidden agenda in my life during the Spain years belonged to my brain-damaged cat Foca–we could never quite fathom the mystery that was her knocked-about little cerebellum. Oh, and boys. They were, like, super confusing.
Aline writes in the first person. She is elegant, smart, gutsy, and has tons of perilous capers—and she never sounds stuck up about her mad spy skills, which is an added plus. Because if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s feeling down about my underpar spy skills. I mean, who doesn’t want to be the girl that surprises the bad guys with the gun that was perfectly concealed in a smokin’ hot holster/garter belt which in turn was perfectly concealed under a skin-tight red-sequined gown? I count it as #1 on the list of the many, many disappointments in my life. If you’re with me on this, you don’t have to worry–Aline totally doesn’t rub it in.
And in case I’m projecting the wrong image, these books aren’t just for girls. My dad loves them, and my husband would really like them if I could get him off the historical stuff–more on this disturbing preference of non-fiction over fiction tomorrow. Anyway, I’m sure there are many more men out there who are confident enough to read a paperback with a woman in a sparkly evening gown on the front! It’s all about the confidence.
But the cherry on the pie for these books is: it’s all true! Read “The Spy Wore Red”. It gets off to a rip-roaring start with the whole “going through spy school” thing. Once you’ve finished, read the other two: The Spy Went Dancing, and The Spy Wore Silk. There’s also a 4th book fictional book written by her called “The Well-Mannered Assassin”; not quite as good, but worth it for the fans.
You can buy these books used online for cheap. I checked. Or you can probably find ’em at your library. Either way, be thou boy or girl or beast or alien, get your mitts/paws/claws/tentacles on a copy.
*Return tomorrow for an in-depth report on my husband’s chronic non-fiction loving preference disease. Parental guidance definitely required, as this will shock many young novel lovers and possibly drive them to read alarming things such as Kierkegaard or Nietzsche.