"I love learning new stories about impressive women that history forgot and I have a particular fascination with those who are able to change the world while being incognito. I recently read A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell which tells the true story of the spy Virginia Hall who helped win World War II.
Virginia Hall was the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines. She had a huge role in the French Resistance as she set up spy networks all throughout the country, organized attacks, and held irreplaceable roles in the underground operations. She had an accident earlier in her life that left her with a prosthetic leg, but she never let that hold her back. In her time women were expected to take obedient, secondary roles and disabled individuals often lived confined lives. But Virginia was both and she rose above expectations to make incomparable contributions to the war effort.
I was inspired by Virginia’s ability to push beyond what others expected of her and overcome adversity. There is a scene in the book where she is experiencing excruciating physical pain with every step she takes, but she knows she has to keep moving forward or her life will be forfeit. Many able bodied men in her same position weren’t able to make it through, but she kept focused on her end goal and pushed through unimaginable difficulty.
It takes a pretty strong woman to have the Gestapo send out this urgent transmission about her: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."