The Princess Spy: The True Story of World War II Spy Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones
By Larry Loftis
Pub. Date: February 9, 2021 – Atria Books
Review book courtesy of the publisher
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 US 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, any of whom could be an enemy agent. Against this glamorous backdrop of galas and dinner parties, she recruits sub-agents and engages in deep-cover espionage to counter Nazi tactics in Madrid.
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.
Filled with twists, romance, and plenty of white-knuckled adventures fit for a James Bond film, The Princess Spy brings to vivid life the dazzling adventures of a remarkable American woman who risked everything to serve her country. (publisher)
My take: Aline Griffith was a recent college graduate, loving daughter and sister who wanted to help her country in WWII. She wasn’t sure how she could help until she met a handsome man at a dinner party and the rest, as they say, is history. She eventually ended up in Spain where she worked for the OSS (precursor of the CIA) and became immersed in Spanish culture and society.
Author Larry Loftis combined bullfights, bullfighters, elegant parties, royalty and espionage for an engaging real life story that I had a hard time putting down. What a life Aline Griffith lived! The book is replete with photos, footnotes, author notes and bibliography. I appreciated the epilogue that revealed how life played out for the principal characters.
About the author:
LARRY LOFTIS is the USA TODAY and bestselling author of the nonfiction spy thrillers Code Name: Lise—The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy and Into the Lion’s Mouth: The True Story of Dusko Popov—World War II Spy, Patriot, and the Real-Life Inspiration for James Bond, which have been published around the world in multiple languages. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Mr. Loftis was a corporate attorney and adjunct professor of law. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at LarryLoftis.com.
“A brisk narrative filled with glamour, glitz, and mysterious characters . . . Sumptuous . . . A lively history of a spirited woman.”
THE PRINCESS SPY by Larry Loftis
Atria Books | Hardcover | On-sale: February 9, 2021 | 384 pages | ISBN: 9781982143862, $28.00 | ebook ISBN: 9781982143886, $14.99
https://www.larryloftis.com/ Twitter: @LarryLoftis