She Landed By Moonlight – the story of Secret Agent Pearl Witherington: The Real ‘Charlotte Grey’

 On the night of 22nd September 1943 Pearl Witherington, a 29—year—old British secretary and agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOB), was parachuted into Occupied France. Like Sebastian Faulks’ heroine, Charlotte Gray, Pearl had a dual mission: to fight for her beloved, broken France — and to find her lost love, Henri Cornioley, a French soldier on the run from the Nazis. Pearl , or Agent ‘Marie’ as she was to be called — became the only woman in the history of SQE in France to run a network of Resistance fighters. Her Wartime record is unique and heroic: a fearless and legendary guerrilla leader, she organised, armed and trained a small army of nearly 4,000 men. Probably the greatest female commander of armed maquisards in France, the woman whom her young troops called ‘Notre Mere’, Pearl lit the fires of Resistance in Central France so that Winston Churchill’s famous order to ‘set Europe ablaze’ finally came to pass. In the summer of 1944 Pearls army fought a desperate battle to stop Hitler’s notorious ZSS Panzer Division ‘Das Reich’ from reaching Normandy and turning back the Allied invasion. Pearl’s story takes us from her harsh, impoverished childhood in Paris, to War—torn Europe in her bid to be reunited with Henri, to the lonely forests and farmhouses of the Southern Loire where she would become a true ‘Warrior Queen.’      CAROLE SEYMOUR-]ONES was born in Wales. She was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize for her biography of Vivienne Eliot, first wife of T.S. Eliot. Her most recent biography of Simone de Beauvoir and ]ean—Paul Sartre, A Dangerous Liaison, received Widespread acclaim. Carole is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Surrey, and former Deputy President and chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN, the writers’ charity. She has three children and lives with her husband in London and Surrey.