INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER
“As exciting as any spy novel” (Daily News, New York), The Princess Spy follows the hidden history of an ordinary American girl who became one of the OSS’s most daring World War II spies before marrying into European nobility. Perfect for fans of A Woman of No Importance and Code Girls.
When Aline Griffith was born in a quiet suburban New York hamlet, no one had any idea that she would go on to live “a life of glamour and danger that Ingrid Bergman only played at in Notorious” (Time). As the United States enters the Second World War, the young college graduate is desperate to aid in the war effort, but no one is interested in a bright-eyed young woman whose only career experience is modeling clothes.
Aline’s life changes when, at a dinner party, she meets a man named Frank Ryan and reveals how desperately she wants to do her part for her country. Within a few weeks, he helps her join the Office of Strategic Services—forerunner of the CIA. With a code name and expert training under her belt, she is sent to Spain to be a coder, but is soon given the additional assignment of infiltrating the upper echelons of society, mingling with high-ranking officials, diplomats, and titled Europeans. Against this glamorous backdrop of galas and dinner parties, she recruits sub-agents and engages in deep-cover espionage.
Even after marrying the Count of Romanones, one of the wealthiest men in Spain, Aline secretly continues her covert activities, being given special assignments when abroad that would benefit from her impeccable pedigree and social connections.
“[A] meticulously researched, beautifully crafted work of nonfiction that reads like a James Bond thriller” (Bookreporter), The Princess Spy brings to vivid life the dazzling adventures of a spirited American woman who risked everything to serve her country.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Few World War II spies were on a first-name basis with Bogart and Balenciaga—but Aline Griffith was no ordinary operative. Charting Griffith’s life from small-town girl to countess of a Spanish dynasty, this riveting biography is a detailed account of the secret agent, code-cracker, and socialite whose personal history is more jaw-dropping than any Hollywood movie. We loved learning about her life in espionage, from her initial training (where she learned how to turn a newspaper into a dagger!) to her hilariously ill-suited code name. We also swooned at the high-society galas where she rubbed elbows with Spanish high society and Hollywood royalty. Griffith’s incredible life even includes a dreamy fairy-tale love story that’s as enthralling as any cloak-and-dagger mission. Pour yourself a cup of tea and sink into this captivating reminder that real life can be even more exciting than fiction.
Historian Loftis (Code Name: Lise) delivers an entertaining biography of American fashion model turned spy Aline Griffith (1923 2017). Born in the small town of Pearl River, N.Y., Griffith moved to Manhattan after graduating from a Catholic women's college and found work as a model for fashion designer Hattie Carnegie. Griffith's life took a turn after a chance meeting with an Office of Strategic Services operative at a dinner party in 1943. Griffith joined the OSS and, following her training, was sent to Spain in 1944 to search for Nazi supporters among the region's social elites. Amid her information-gathering activities, she met and married a Spanish nobleman and became a countess. She quit spying in 1947 to focus on raising a family, but resumed clandestine activities for the CIA in 1956, though those missions remain classified. Loftis's fast-moving narrative includes plenty of colorful details about Griffith's social life, including lavish cocktail parties and her friendship with bullfighter Juanito Belmonte , and he sketches the battles between German, American, and British spies for influence over the Spanish government with precision. Espionage buffs will be enthralled.
I love how the author was able to depict a glamorous and exciting adventure of one of the first female spy’s for the OSS. Not only was it a great narrative of Aline Griffin’s life but it was also very accurate.