Just Another Girl on the Road
by S. Kensington

"Although not formally trained, she had an instinct for survival, naïve bravery, and a rather wild, almost savage unpredictability that was perfectly suited for the job."

Near the end of World War II, Katrinka Badeau finds herself in the hands of the ruthless German soldiers who had murdered her mother and stepfather. She is suddenly rescued by two members of the Jedburghs, “a multinational undercover operation made up of agents from the British SOE, French Resistance, and American OSS.” The leader of the British faction, Major Willoughby Nye, is an old friend of Katrinka’s father—a shipowner who is holding plastic explosives meant to destroy a strategic bridge. Once Katrinka is brought back to the Jedburgh camp and reunited with Nye—a man on whom she had secretly had a crush as a teenager—she is presented with a proposition to work with the undercover group. Her first assignment is to find her father’s ship and bring back the explosives. Sergeant Wolfe Farr, one of the men who rescued Katrinka, is opposed to her being a secret agent for the Jedburghs. Wolfe and Katrinka have an instant connection and attraction to each other, and Wolfe fears for her safety. However, independent and headstrong Katrinka immediately agrees to help in any way possible to stop the Germans. The three main characters are not only connected by their work in the resistance, but also by the passions that draw the two men to Katrinka and her love for both Nye and Farr.

This novel, set mainly in France at the end of World War II, offers a glimpse into the lives of those who worked resisting the Germans. It is well researched and provides an authentic historical fiction narrative concerning the lives of those who worked undercover. There are moments of extreme violence woven into the plot that are at times cringeworthy. However, it is the main character, Katrinka, that moves the plot. She is a woman who displays not only the wanderlust of her unconventional mother but also a sexuality which, at times, is palpable. There are many instances of sexual encounters between Katrinka and several other characters. Though some of these seem random, the author manages to weave a web in which Katrinka’s relationships lead to unforeseen and substantial consequences, both good and bad. Even though the sex scenes are explicit, there is an underlying innocence in Katrinka’s encounters, even when exchanging sexual favors with a grocer for food to feed her group. It is the driving force within Katrinka and the aspect of her personality that she uses for comfort and survival in a harsh and unpredictable world.

The author began her journey to writing this novel when she made two discoveries in her deceased father’s belongings. Her father, a veteran of World War II, left a small white glove and a news clipping concerning the Undercover Phantoms. This discovery piqued her curiosity, and the seeds for the novel were planted. A journalist by vocation, this is Kensington’s first novel. Her ability to weave such an intricate and multifaceted story of the resistance in France as a first-time novelist is to be commended. Her efforts also have not gone unnoticed as the novel has received numerous accolades. These include four honors in the Eric Hoffer 2020 Book Awards. Though the story contains many memorable characters and an intriguing plot, it is Katrinka and her insatiable love of life that is the crux of this work. A strong female character who unapologetically embraces her sexuality, Katrinka is unforgettable. This book offers a fast-paced plot and romance within a historical setting. It grabs one’s attention from its very first words and never lets go.

A 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Short List winner

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home