Code Name Hélène
BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, comes the newest feat of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.As LUCIENNE CARLIER she smuggles people and documents across borders under the guise of an oblivious mistress. Soon enough the Gestapo hears of a female operative with a remarkable ability to evade capture, and Nancy earns a new nickname: THE WHITE MOUSE. But this one carries with it a five million franc bounty on her head. Forced to escape France and leave Henri behind for the safety of both of them, Nancy enters training with the Special Operations Executives, who transform her into Hélène. Finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly MADAM ANDRÉ. She soon becomes one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, known for her ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and her ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces. But no one can protect Nancy if the enemy finds out these four women are one and the same, and the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed she--and the people she loves--will become.

Code Name Hélène Details

TitleCode Name Hélène
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 31st, 2020
PublisherDoubleday Books
ISBN-139780385544689
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

Code Name Hélène Review

  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    January 1, 1970
    ***NOW AVAILABLE***Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I love books and movies about women spies. I have read quite a few about WWII and even WWI, though those women are not as well recognized.This is the first book that I have read by this author. From the blurb of the book you know that :It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence ***NOW AVAILABLE***Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I love books and movies about women spies. I have read quite a few about WWII and even WWI, though those women are not as well recognized.This is the first book that I have read by this author. From the blurb of the book you know that :It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.I had hoped for a fast paced, intriguing story about Nancy Wake and her operations during the war. However I found that this book spent an inordinate amount of time on the love and romance between Henri and Nancy. I didn’t need to know about their dinners or their sexual exploits in such detail. Certainly the relationship was important to Henri and Nancy but this book seemed to revolve a lot around this. This is quite a long book at 464 pages and I found myself bored during much of the first half of the book. I wanted more insight into the other characters and more action and suspense. I found the last quarter of the book to be the most interesting, along with the author’s notes. It’s during this part of the book that Nancy is operating as the White Mouse and is now known to the Germans and so there is a price on her head and she is leading very dangerous missions. This part was fascinating.When I read the author’s notes I found that my feelings about the amount of time spent on their relationship wasn’t far from what the author intended. She states “This is a novel about marriage. Yes, of course, it’s also about war and friendship and bravery and tragedy and one of the most important conflicts of the 20th century . . . But to me, at its heart, this is a novel about a woman and her husband and the sacrifices made by both in the midst of extraordinary circumstances”. I felt that the author’s notes were a better description of the book than the blurb that accompanied the book's title.I thought that this was a good book but not one that I could really highly recommend. It was very well researched and brought to life a women spy during WWII but I think there was a point when more editing would have helped this story. There are, however, many 5 star reviews for this book so read a variety of reviews, or just go in blind, and see how you feel about it. Reading is such a personal experience and I’m sure that this book will find it’s audience.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. It is set to publish on March 31, 2020
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  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    Fictionally, Nancy is presented as a chic tough heroine who never fights without a fresh application of lipstick. The character of Nancy Wake holistically is interesting and I enjoyed her unapologetic nature. A lot of the past, 1936, is about how Nancy met her husband, Henri. The development of their relationship takes the limelight for the first half of the book. Nancy's different identities, totaling four, are not exactly told chronologically. The book is told in dual timelines, but two of her Fictionally, Nancy is presented as a chic tough heroine who never fights without a fresh application of lipstick. The character of Nancy Wake holistically is interesting and I enjoyed her unapologetic nature. A lot of the past, 1936, is about how Nancy met her husband, Henri. The development of their relationship takes the limelight for the first half of the book. Nancy's different identities, totaling four, are not exactly told chronologically. The book is told in dual timelines, but two of her identities are not described until much later in the second half of the book. But, what happens is kind of all over the place. The story of Nancy as the WWII heroine was scattered and rambling. The story of what she did under each identity isn't balanced, and the reader sees more from her as the fighter Madame Andrèe. Every little thing seems to be dictated in the narrative, making it much much longer than it needs to be. As an example, a detailed description of hair color and hair texture is specified for nearly everyone that Nancy Wake meets or sees whether a significant character or just a character passing by. There was excessive dialogue that didn't progress the plot about day to day things unrelated to the major storyline. The book is 464 pages, but probably could have been 100-200 pages shorter if these extraneous details were cut. Because of this, I was often bored and the prose didn't flow for me.This was an okay read, and I would rate this 2.5 stars. I am rounding up because I did enjoy reading the Author's Note at the end which caused me to look up the real Nancy Wake. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy. Opinions are my own.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 strong historical fiction starsAt 464 pages, this one is a tale you can really sink your teeth into. It has many elements of historical fiction that I love strong female character, WWII France, resistance efforts, a bit of a love story, espionage, dastardly Germans. Its even better that it is based on a real person Nancy Wake Fiocca, an Australian woman who becomes fiercely French and is determined to drive the Nazis out of her adopted country.The book takes the alternate storyline approach, 4 strong historical fiction starsAt 464 pages, this one is a tale you can really sink your teeth into. It has many elements of historical fiction that I love – strong female character, WWII France, resistance efforts, a bit of a love story, espionage, dastardly Germans. It’s even better that it is based on a real person – Nancy Wake Fiocca, an Australian woman who becomes fiercely French and is determined to drive the Nazis out of her adopted country.The book takes the alternate storyline approach, so I had to pay some attention to characters and what happens to them. Nancy aka Helene aka Lucienne Carlier aka the White Mouse aka Madam Andree – all wrapped up into an amazingly brave woman. Her trademark is to wear bright red lipstick and she commands the respect of the Maquis forces that she is arming with help from London. I love the fact that her husband has taught her the full range of swear words in French – those come in handy dealing with these Frenchmen!There is a terrific love story with Henri, but much more focus is on her resistance efforts and how she comes to be such a formidable presence in the war. She is a fascinating character and I was completely sucked into the story, especially the second half. She started out as a journalist and one of her early assignments was interviewing Adolf Hitler before he came to power. She also attends a Nazi rally. I know it shouldn’t shock me, but her magazine wouldn’t publish the bylines for women writers at this time, they could choose a male pseudonym or be not listed at all.There are tense scenes through the book with harrowing escapes, torture, details on how the British helped the French patriots, training to become a British agent – all of it was highly researched by the author. Near the end of her life, she became highly decorated and recognized for her strong contributions to the war.If you like historical fiction, I think this one you would enjoy! It doesn’t earn the full 5 stars because I think it could have been edited down a bit.Thank to Edelweiss, Doubleday, and author Ariel Lawhon for a copy of this one to read and review. This one is available now!
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    I have read many stories of the famous Australian, Nancy Wake; I even have her biography autographed by Nancy herself. I found Code Name Helene to be refreshing and heartwarmingly real. Nancy Wake went through several years of pure hell during WWII but it was when she met her husband-to-be, Henri Fiocca in 1936 that she found, for the first time in her life, true love. Nancy and Henri hadnt been married long when war was declared and Henri was called up to fight, leaving Nancy home alone. It I have read many stories of the famous Australian, Nancy Wake; I even have her biography autographed by Nancy herself. I found Code Name Helene to be refreshing and heartwarmingly real. Nancy Wake went through several years of pure hell during WWII but it was when she met her husband-to-be, Henri Fiocca in 1936 that she found, for the first time in her life, true love. Nancy and Henri hadn’t been married long when war was declared and Henri was called up to fight, leaving Nancy home alone. It didn’t take her long to start working for the French Resistance and she eventually became the White Mouse, named because the Germans were unable to find and capture her.Leading the Resistance, Nancy was a formidable force. Strength of character, her determination to never give up, her loyalty to the men she worked with, and her hatred of the brutality of the Bosch gave her the respect that kept her men by her side. The memorable push bike ride over rough terrain through France, avoiding German patrols, pedalling for 250kms to her destination, then discovering she had to return immediately to notify her men in the camp of a drop – almost 500kms in 72 hours; the admiration of her men, but the exhaustion and pain for Nancy was just one of the many feats by this astonishing woman.Code Name Helene was a thoroughly enjoyable read by Ariel Lawhon. Nancy’s dry wit had me laughing out loud; her signature red lipstick and her supreme courage, plus her normal, every day life when she was with Henri made Code Name Helene a well researched, exceptionally put together novel. Although based heavily on fact, this is a fictional tale, well told. Highly recommended.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Megan C.
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a sucker for a true story. Although categorized as historical fiction, the core characters and events in this book are real. I was sitting on a solid 4 stars throughout 75% of this book, but the last quarter (and also the author's note at the end) blew it up to a 5 star read for me. Color me obsessed with Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, aka The White Mouse/Madame Andree, code name Helene. She was fierce, salty, irreverent, strong, and unapologetic. She threw on a coat of Lizzie Arden's Victory Red I'm a sucker for a true story. Although categorized as historical fiction, the core characters and events in this book are real. I was sitting on a solid 4 stars throughout 75% of this book, but the last quarter (and also the author's note at the end) blew it up to a 5 star read for me. Color me obsessed with Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, aka The White Mouse/Madame Andree, code name Helene. She was fierce, salty, irreverent, strong, and unapologetic. She threw on a coat of Lizzie Arden's Victory Red and BROKE BAT on some Nazis. I loved every minute of her adventures - as soon as I finished the last page I immediately pushed this book on every member of my IRL book club, along with doing the same on my bookish Facebook account. It's that good. DO NOT GOOGLE HER STORY BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK. There will be spoilers. The author did an incredible job sticking as closely to the real story as she could, and in her notes at the end lays out exactly where and when she altered the timeline and/or any characters.Publishing March 31, 2020, I am deeply grateful to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me an early peek at this gem of a novel. PUT. IT. ON. YOUR. READING. LIST. NOW.PS - This would make an amazing book club book.PPS - Someone better adapt this for film. It would be incredible!
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    This is strong historical WWII fiction based on the resistance work of glamorous socialite turned secret agent, Nancy Wake. Fearless, audacious, and resolute, Wake was a force to be reckoned with all while wearing red Chanel lipstick. Now theres a woman after my heart. Going by four different code names she thwarted the Nazis at every turn and became the most wanted with a sizable price on her head. She also took on members of the resistance who balked at taking orders from a woman with the This is strong historical WWII fiction based on the resistance work of glamorous socialite turned secret agent, Nancy Wake. Fearless, audacious, and resolute, Wake was a force to be reckoned with all while wearing red Chanel lipstick. Now there’s a woman after my heart. Going by four different code names she thwarted the Nazis at every turn and became the “most wanted” with a sizable price on her head. She also took on members of the resistance who balked at taking orders from a woman with the power to deliver arms from the Allies. Wakes was larger than life and what a life she had.
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  • Gloria Arthur
    January 1, 1970
    I love a good historical fiction story and Code Name Hélène did not disappoint. This powerful and thrilling WWII story is fictional but its based on the remarkable young socialite Nancy Wake who went off to war while her French husband stayed behind. I loved Nancys character she was a feisty and independent woman who used profanity liberally and with flair and could drink any man under the table, she even killed a Nazi with her bare hands! Nancy applied her lipstick like a badge of honour in the I love a good historical fiction story and Code Name Hélène did not disappoint. This powerful and thrilling WWII story is fictional but it’s based on the remarkable young socialite Nancy Wake who went off to war while her French husband stayed behind. I loved Nancy’s character she was a feisty and independent woman who used profanity liberally and with flair and could drink any man under the table, she even killed a Nazi with her bare hands! Nancy applied her lipstick like a badge of honour in the shade of Victory Red. Nancy was raised in Australia, living in Paris and working as a freelance reporter for a London paper. In Paris she meets and finally agrees to marry handsome French industrialist Henri Fiocca just prior to the war breaking out in France. Nancy was integral to the French Resistance’s fight against the Nazi’s, smuggling people and documents across the border. Eventually she was forced to flee France from the Gestapo due to a bounty on her head. Nancy ends up in London and is trained by an elite espionage group under the code name Helene and once trained is parachuted back to France.Code Name Helene is an enchanting story of a beautiful marriage, friendships, war, bravery, tragedy and the sacrifices made by both Helene and Henri.Nancy became one of the most decorated women of World War II, she was a strong and respected military leader. An extremely well written story that is full of heart, soul and excitement.I wish to thank Better Reading, Simon & Schuster & NetGalley for providing me with a copy to read in return for an honest review.
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  • J.T.
    January 1, 1970
    I had the great privilege of reading Code Name Hélène early, and I have to tell you, you are going to LOVE this book. Nancy Wake, Aussie expat turned spy in World War II, is one of the most engaging heroines I've ever come across. She is smart, she is sassy, she is bravery personified, and she is utterly brought to life by Ariel Lawhon's incredible writing and exhaustive research. That the White Mouse is a real person makes this story all the better. If you want to experience genuine courage in I had the great privilege of reading Code Name Hélène early, and I have to tell you, you are going to LOVE this book. Nancy Wake, Aussie expat turned spy in World War II, is one of the most engaging heroines I've ever come across. She is smart, she is sassy, she is bravery personified, and she is utterly brought to life by Ariel Lawhon's incredible writing and exhaustive research. That the White Mouse is a real person makes this story all the better. If you want to experience genuine courage in the face of true evil, and a compelling love story to boot, trust me, this is the book you want to read this week. I know you'll love it just as much as I did.
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  • Kari Ann Sweeney
    January 1, 1970
    PUB DATE April 2020I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of Code Name Hélène ahead of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club Retreat and the hear Ariel Lawhon's thoughts when she joined the group in person.  While Ive read and enjoyed all of her fiction books- this is hands down my favorite. Hélène is just one of four code names used by Nancy Wake. A relentless, unapologetic, feminine, brave woman who stood toe-to-toe with her male counterparts in the French Resistance during WWII.  Beyond her work in the PUB DATE April 2020I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of Code Name Hélène ahead of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club Retreat and the hear Ariel Lawhon's thoughts when she joined the group in person.  While I’ve read and enjoyed all of her fiction books- this is hands down my favorite. Hélène is just one of four code names used by Nancy Wake. A relentless, unapologetic, feminine, brave woman who stood toe-to-toe with her male counterparts in the French Resistance during WWII.  Beyond her work in the resistance is a deep, all abiding love to a husband who not only supports her efforts financially, but as a true partner as well. Her story is fascinating and kept me utterly riveted.Bubbly cocktails. Friendships formed amidst the worst of times. Bold lipstick and brassy language used as weapons. Love and war.It's no secret that I love books with strong women. Women with gumption. They inspire me. To loosely paraphrase Lawhon "Women like Nancy have always existed. But when men write the history books we don't hear about them."   In my opinion- it's time we hear her story because it s so.darn.good!Don't dismiss this as "just another WWII book" because you would be missing out on an expertly crafted, fabulously written story. Seriously- if this sounds like the book for you add it to your TBR now.
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    1936. Australian expat, Nancy Wake, lives in Paris and works as a freelancer. She has paved her way onto the roster at Hearst. When the story starts progressing with her investigative work, the moment I thought I was getting into it, another mans facial description pops up. Its like some kind of infatuation with facial descriptions.When the story starts alternating to different places, for a moment it felt as it was about to pick up the pace, but then its on and on about broken camera.The story 1936. Australian expat, Nancy Wake, lives in Paris and works as a freelancer. She has paved her way onto the roster at Hearst. When the story starts progressing with her investigative work, the moment I thought I was getting into it, another man’s facial description pops up. It’s like some kind of infatuation with facial descriptions.When the story starts alternating to different places, for a moment it felt as it was about to pick up the pace, but then it’s on and on about broken camera.The story of Nancy Wake is fascinating. I wanted to learn about her work, what she endured and how she inspired. But her story is buried in overdone descriptions, making the story move very slowly.There are readers who enjoy descriptive style of writing. If you are one of them, then I’d recommend looking at reviews of those who liked this book.Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Laura Peden
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! I dont read much historical fiction but when I read the publishing blurb it grabbed my attention! BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII....Even though its a bit lengthy, I was never bored with the story. Theres even a beautiful love story to enjoy! If you like WWII historical fiction dont miss this one! 4.5 stars! I don’t read much historical fiction but when I read the publishing blurb it grabbed my attention! BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII....Even though it’s a bit lengthy, I was never bored with the story. There’s even a beautiful love story to enjoy! If you like WWII historical fiction don’t miss this one!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Wow did I choose the wrong time to read this book.That ending was super depressing. Hate to knock points off because the story ended in a historically accurate manner but shit. It was bad enough to make me want to throw it.
  • Karen Rush
    January 1, 1970
    This is my fourth Lawhon book and I was eager to dig in as she is one of my favorite authors. Based on a real-life story of socialite spy Nancy Wake, a woman who ran counterintelligence missions, the story did not disappoint. It is thrilling from beginning to end. Lawhon has built strong characters/relationships and weaves in World War II historical moments. The love story between Nancy and Henri is an exceptionally enchanting one.Nancy Wake is a natural-born leader, strong, independent and This is my fourth Lawhon book and I was eager to dig in as she is one of my favorite authors. Based on a real-life story of socialite spy Nancy Wake, a woman who ran counterintelligence missions, the story did not disappoint. It is thrilling from beginning to end. Lawhon has built strong characters/relationships and weaves in World War II historical moments. The love story between Nancy and Henri is an exceptionally enchanting one.Nancy Wake is a natural-born leader, strong, independent and clearly a force to be reckoned with. When she puts on that blood-red lipstick coat of armor, you can almost see her transform into a Teflon-proof leader ready to face fears and kick some butt.Lawhon has a knack for finding fascinating women to spin a tale around. As with her prior books, I left this story compelled to explore more about Nancy Wake and gain more insight into how Lawhon landed upon this remarkable woman. Thanks to Doubleday Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Amanda (TheBookwormAdventures)
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to Doubleday Books for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*Nancy Wake was known as many names during her time in reconnaissance against the Germans during World War II: Mrs. Fiocca, Lucienne Carlier, The White Mouse, Hélène, and finally, Madame Andrè. What name would I give her? Total and complete badass. And I dont feel bad saying that, because Nancy - who was a very real person - was known for her unladylike language and cursing and I just *Thank you to Doubleday Books for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*Nancy Wake was known as many names during her time in reconnaissance against the Germans during World War II: Mrs. Fiocca, Lucienne Carlier, The White Mouse, Hélène, and finally, Madame Andrè. What name would I give her? Total and complete badass. And I don’t feel bad saying that, because Nancy - who was a very real person - was known for her “unladylike” language and cursing and I just couldn’t love her more. This amazing woman was a journalist in 1936, helping to cover the atrocities beginning to take place at the hands of the “Brownshirts” in places like Vienna. She then goes on to help smuggle people and documents across the borders. Then, she goes off to train with the SOE (Special Operations Executives), and is airdropped into France, where she becomes one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance with connections to the Allies Forces. ALSO, she kills a Nazi with her bare hands. She is one of the most decorated women in WWII. READ THIS BOOK. It’s 440ish pages that I sped through. Nancy is funny, irreverent, and so strong. I was on the edge of my seat and had to know her story, but I resisted the urge to google her before I finished the book and spoil something for myself. I am angry that I have never heard of her before because she is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning about.(I don’t usually do content warnings in my reviews but in addition to the atrocities committed during war, there are a few graphic scenes of brutality, one in particular that was very graphic and disturbing to me.)
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  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    January 1, 1970
    Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon is an exciting and absorbing novel of historical fiction based on the extraordinary wartime experiences of Nancy Wake. The story unfolds from Nancys first person perspective over two timelines. The first, beginning in 1936, focuses on her life in Paris as a journalist, as a newlywed, and as a people and document smuggler known as Lucienne Carlier, which earns her the moniker of The White Mouse with a bounty of five million francs in her head. The second timeline Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon is an exciting and absorbing novel of historical fiction based on the extraordinary wartime experiences of Nancy Wake. The story unfolds from Nancy’s first person perspective over two timelines. The first, beginning in 1936, focuses on her life in Paris as a journalist, as a newlywed, and as a people and document smuggler known as Lucienne Carlier, which earns her the moniker of ‘The White Mouse’ with a bounty of five million francs in her head. The second timeline reveals her incredible role with the Maquis in southern France as a British Special Operations Executive where she is known as Madam André, code name Hélène, and leads a Resistance force of thousands during the last months of World War II.Lawhon takes only minor liberties with the facts to tell Nancy’s amazing story whose courageous actions earned her a dozen wartime medals from four countries. Nancy, who died in 2011 aged 98, was an intelligent, attractive, and feisty woman who wore Victory Red lipstick as armour and a cyanide pill on her cuff. She could drink like a fish, and swear like a sailor, or sip cocktails and make polite conversation in a spine revealing cocktail dress. She was a friend, a smuggler, a wife, a spy, a fighter, a leader, she was, and remains, a hero.All but one of the major characters in Code Name Hélène were real people, from Nancy’s contacts in the Resistance, to her beloved husband. She married wealthy industrialist Henri Fiocca just before Germany invaded France but they were soon separated when he was sent to the border to fight and again, when shortly after his return, Nancy’s actions attracted the attention of the Gestapo and she was forced to flee Paris. Their relationship is a significant and moving element of the novel.I was completely caught up in Code Name Hélène from its first pages. I thought it very well paced as it moved between timelines, both of which built a sense of anticipatory tension, though there is more outright action during Nancy’s tenure with the Maquis.Code Name Hélène is not just a story of adventure and romance, but also one of friendship, courage, tragedy, and hope. Until now I’ve known nothing of Nancy Wake, but I have every intention of tracking down a copy of her autobiography to learn more. Nancy Wake was an extraordinary woman, and Lawhon has written an extraordinary story which honours her.
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  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing story about a badass women who will do anything to fight for her country.
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    January 1, 1970
    I have gone by many names.This novel was inspired by the story of Nancy Wake, one of the most highly decorated war heroes of World War II. Ms Lawhon weaves her story between each of the four identities Nancy assumed while working for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France and as a leader of the French Resistance. Nancy Wake was a fighter, a smuggler, a spy and (as The White Mouse) a target. The Nazis wanted her dead.While I knew parts of the Nancy Wake story, Ms Lawhons novel ‘I have gone by many names.’This novel was inspired by the story of Nancy Wake, one of the most highly decorated war heroes of World War II. Ms Lawhon weaves her story between each of the four identities Nancy assumed while working for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France and as a leader of the French Resistance. Nancy Wake was a fighter, a smuggler, a spy and (as ‘The White Mouse) a target. The Nazis wanted her dead.While I knew parts of the Nancy Wake story, Ms Lawhon’s novel brings to life the woman behind the war hero. By writing this novel in the first person, Ms Lawhon brings the reader into the story, sharing the heartbreaks and hardships, feeling the tension. Nancy Wake was a remarkable woman, courageous, determined and feisty. I loved this novel and would recommend it to anyone interested in well written historical fiction. Ms Lawhon provides an author’s note which is best read after you’ve finished the novel.‘War is a calamity. It brings sorrow and loss of life.’Note: My thanks to Better Reading for a copy of this novel.Jennifer Cameron-Smith#BRPreview
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  • Linda Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    I would not be 100% truthful if I said that historical fiction is my favorite genre.  It isnt. However, I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Code Name Helene by author Ariel Lawhon which won me over with a fantastic tale of heroism. This book is set toward the end of World War II, but its much more than a war story. Its a story about a strong, opinionated, brave, and determined woman who worked with the French Resistance during WWII. The heroines real name was Nancy Wake and she brought order, I would not be 100% truthful if I said that historical fiction is my favorite genre.  It isn’t. However, I was fortunate to receive an ARC of “Code Name Helene” by author Ariel Lawhon which won me over with a fantastic tale of heroism. This book is set toward the end of World War II, but it’s much more than a war story. It’s a story about a strong, opinionated, brave, and determined woman who worked with the French Resistance during WWII. The heroine’s real name was Nancy Wake and she brought order, weapons, and supplies to the men working with the French resistance thereby helping to defeat the Germans. Added to this is the fact that she deeply loved her French husband who supported her in this endeavor, both financially, and by giving her the freedom to courageously fight to save her adopted country. For me, this was a wonderful love story, but it was also the true story of a courageous woman who received little recognition for her war efforts while single-handedly making a major difference in the outcome of World War II. I’m sure there are more Nancy Wake fighters still unknown, but this story will make you proud to know how much one person, one woman, can accomplish great things with determination. Bravo to Ms. Lawhon for a well-told story. Look for this book to be released in April 2020. As always, my opinions are my own and without prejudice. Quote: “Love is a choice. It is the active choosing of good for another person. But like? It is a gift and it cannot be forced.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #french75 #book #books #historicalfiction #bookstagram #love #frenchresistance #france #wwii @ariel.lawhon #codenamehelene #arrivesApril2020 #readit #redlipstick #victoryred @annebogel #bookworm #mmdbookclubretreat #lindaleereads2019
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  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book toward the end of 2019 and am just now typing up this review 🙈.Why? Upon finishing I didnt want to rush. I wanted to really let the book and its events to set in. Immediately after closing the book I found myself down the rabbit hole scouring the Internet for any and all information regarding Nancy Wake. Nancy was beyond brave. Her life (before, during and after WWII) was fascinating to me. As much as I enjoyed this novel it wasnt perfect. I found myself more enthralled with her I read this book toward the end of 2019 and am just now typing up this review 🙈.Why? Upon finishing I didn’t want to rush. I wanted to really let the book and it’s events to set in. Immediately after closing the book I found myself down the rabbit hole scouring the Internet for any and all information regarding Nancy Wake. Nancy was beyond brave. Her life (before, during and after WWII) was fascinating to me. As much as I enjoyed this novel it wasn’t perfect. I found myself more enthralled with her personal life than anything else. This book is written in a dual timeline - which I love. However, I don’t think I was able to follow the jumping back and forth as closely as I should have. It made me think is this a flaw in the book or just something personal to me. That is the only reason I dropped a star. I really enjoy Ariel Lawhon’s books and will continue to read and recommend them to friends and fellow readers. I’m very thankful to the author and publisher for my advanced copy of this book.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ariel Lawhon has outdone herself with this one. This novel is about Nancy Wake, a woman with many different identities who was integral to the French Resistance's fight against Nazi Germany. Lawhon's interpretation of Wake's life made for compulsive reading. I spent most of the book on the edge of my seat anxious about what was going to happen next. Nancy Wake was someone I'd like to Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ariel Lawhon has outdone herself with this one. This novel is about Nancy Wake, a woman with many different identities who was integral to the French Resistance's fight against Nazi Germany. Lawhon's interpretation of Wake's life made for compulsive reading. I spent most of the book on the edge of my seat anxious about what was going to happen next. Nancy Wake was someone I'd like to be friends with - smart, funny, bawdy, and unabashedly feminine even in inconceivable circumstances. Ms. Wake would be proud to see her story in this novel.
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  • Kristine
    January 1, 1970
    If you read any WWII book, please make it this one!
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely love stories of humanity during WWII. Showcasing these acts of bravery, and putting faces to names of those who put their lives on the line to help others, just never gets old. This was a horrible time in history and we should never stop learning about or remembering the brave souls who suffered under this horrible regime.Code Name Hélène is one of those stories that just crawls in and captivates you, heart and soul. Based on the real life story of Nancy Wake, this is the story of a I absolutely love stories of humanity during WWII. Showcasing these acts of bravery, and putting faces to names of those who put their lives on the line to help others, just never gets old. This was a horrible time in history and we should never stop learning about or remembering the brave souls who suffered under this horrible regime.⁣⁣Code Name Hélène is one of those stories that just crawls in and captivates you, heart and soul. Based on the real life story of Nancy Wake, this is the story of a courageous woman who became one of the most decorated women in WWII. The author did a spectacular job capturing this fearless, tenacious, loving, brave, beautiful woman. She’s equal parts spunky and tender, which the author captured in a lovely way. This was a fascinating look at a courageous woman and I absolutely loved this book! ⁣⁣Make no mistake about it, this book is a beast. I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it at the beginning but in no time at all I was completely caught up in this story. I sat captivated through the last 60% in one sitting. The interwoven timelines threw me off a little bit in the beginning but I quickly grew used to them and they come together beautifully at the end.⁣⁣Code Name Hélène is beautifully written and gets all of the stars from me! I can not recommend this book enough. Her work in the resistance needs to be told. She was strong, brave, relentless, and fierce. This is a powerful story and I am better for reading it.⁣⁣Much gratitude to @doubledaybooks for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review! Put this on your TBRs and look for it in March!
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  • Charlsa
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to receive a galley of this book from the author, DoubleDay Books, and Modern Mrs. Darcy in advance of a bookclub retreat where Ariel participated in a discussion about her newest book. Listening to Ariel share the history of her latest subject, Nancy Wake, as well as her research and writing process served to make me appreciate the book even more.This book is something special. The publication date is April 2020. Do yourself a favor and pre-order this one. Its the story of Nancy I was fortunate to receive a galley of this book from the author, DoubleDay Books, and Modern Mrs. Darcy in advance of a bookclub retreat where Ariel participated in a discussion about her newest book. Listening to Ariel share the history of her latest subject, Nancy Wake, as well as her research and writing process served to make me appreciate the book even more.This book is something special. The publication date is April 2020. Do yourself a favor and pre-order this one. It’s the story of Nancy Wake Fiocca, an Australian journalist who made her way to Great Britain and then France just before WWII. The story alternates between the story of her beautiful marriage to her French husband and love of her life, and her work as part of the Resistance Movement in France during the war. She became the most decorated female from the war and paid a high price for it. One of the things you will most appreciate about this book is Lawhon’s faithfulness in telling Nancy’s story as told by Nancy over the years. This book is well constructed and will have you turning off phones and TVs and staying up late to read it. It’s that good. The publication date is set for April 2020, but again, I would pre-order it.
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  • Red Ink Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Code Name Helene Ariel LawhonI was given an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to provide an honest review.This was the first book that I have read by Ariel Lawhon.Code Name Helene is an historical fiction novel based on the true story of Nancy Wake, an Australian spy, also known as the White Mouse.Nancy leaves home and Australia at a young age and makes her way across Europe finally stopping in the city of Paris. Once there Nancy manages to get herself a job as a freelance Code Name Helene – Ariel LawhonI was given an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to provide an honest review.This was the first book that I have read by Ariel Lawhon.‘Code Name Helene” is an historical fiction novel based on the true story of Nancy Wake, an Australian spy, also known as ‘the White Mouse’.Nancy leaves home and Australia at a young age and makes her way across Europe finally stopping in the city of Paris. Once there Nancy manages to get herself a job as a freelance foreign correspondent, by pretending to be something that she is not.Nancy enjoys her new life and her new found independence, confident and secure in the knowledge she is capable of looking after herself and doesn’t take no for an answer, at least not easily.But there is a horror spreading across Europe, a horror that goes by the name of Adolf Hitler.Yet somehow through it all Nancy finds love, she finds her Henri. Thought falling in love is the last thing on her mind and goes against her better judgment, she soon marries Henri.Now Germany has begun their invasion and Nancy knows she has to fight. She cannot sit idly by while she sees the suffering of innocent people.Thus, Nancy begins her life as a spy, again using the skills that landed her the position as foreign correspondent. At first it is just small packages and documents but she soon begins to help smuggle people across the borders. Helping them to escape the wrath and the cruelty of the Germans, as well as the Vichy.Nancy is good at what she does, so good in fact she attracts the attention of the Gestapo. The Gestapo are intent on finding the true identity of ‘the White Mouse’; the person who has caused them so much trouble. So they place a hefty bounty on her head.Forced to flee France, forced to leave Henri and the life they have built behind. She knows she will miss her Henri but she does what is best to keep him safe, to keep them both safe. She promises to come back once it is all over, to be safe and come back to him. Never the one to sit idly by, Nancy starts training the with Special Operations Executive in London.Nancy is determined to help and free all the people who are suffering under the Germans and under the Vichy in France. But what will it cost her? Will she expose herself and Henri is to much before the threat of the Germans can be stopped?“Code Name Helene” is a gritty and raw view into the life of a spy and a woman during a time of war. The story shines a light on the bravery of a very independent and strong woman who refused to sit by while innocent people where suffering and being persecuted. A woman who rather than do what was expected of her, did what was right and did everything she could possibly do to help stop the spread of the Germans throughout Europe and the world.This story should serve as a lesson and a reminder to all women, but especially the young women of this generation; just because you are expected to act and behave in a certain manner doesn’t mean you should. You have the power within you to do what you want, if you believe in yourself and stand up for what you believe in, you can achieve anything you set your mind too, just like Nancy.
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  • Suzanne (The Bookish Libra)
    January 1, 1970
    One of the things I love about reading historical fiction is that I often learn of important historical figures that were previously unknown to me. Such is the case with Ariel Lawhons latest novel Code Name Hélène. Set in Europe during World War II, Code Name Hélène follows the adventures of Nancy Wake, an Australian-born socialite who is living in Paris when World War II breaks out. When we first meet Nancy, she is working hard, trying to be taken seriously as a journalist in a mans world. When One of the things I love about reading historical fiction is that I often learn of important historical figures that were previously unknown to me. Such is the case with Ariel Lawhon’s latest novel Code Name Hélène. Set in Europe during World War II, Code Name Hélène follows the adventures of Nancy Wake, an Australian-born socialite who is living in Paris when World War II breaks out. When we first meet Nancy, she is working hard, trying to be taken seriously as a journalist in a man’s world. When the war breaks out, however, Nancy finds her true calling as a spy and ultimately becomes one of the leaders of the French Resistance.I had never heard of Nancy Wake and was fascinated to learn what a huge part she played during the war. I was also a big fan of the way the author delivers Nancy’s story to us, using several interweaving timelines, one for each of the code names Nancy acquired through her work for the Resistance. We get to see Nancy in action as an oblivious mistress, Lucienne Carlier, as she smuggles documents and people across borders to safety. When the Nazis learn of Nancy and quickly become frustrated by her uncanny ability to evade capture, they nickname her ‘The White Mouse” and put a steep price on her head. Knowing she is in imminent danger, Nancy flees France and begins training with the Special Operations Executive where she earns a new code name, Hélène, and is air dropped back into France with a new mission. As Madam Andre, this final mission is to do whatever it takes to arm the French Resistance and drive the Germans out of France.I was completely riveted by Nancy’s journey from start to finish. It is fraught with danger and suspense at every turn, and I just found myself more and more inspired by Nancy’s formidable presence and spirit. She’s fearless, brash, resourceful, and has a take-no-prisoners attitude. Working in what could only be described as a man’s world and wearing her signature Chanel red lipstick, Nancy ultimately commands respect from all of those around her, even those who initially refuse to accept the authority of a woman in a war zone. Heck, at one point, she even kills a Nazi with her bare hands!As awe-inspiring as her career in espionage was, I also loved that the author chose to include a glimpse into Nancy’s personal life as well, most especially her relationship with Henri Fiocca, the love of her life. Watching how the war impacted their relationship was almost as gripping as watching Nancy order men around as a Resistance fighter.Code Name Hélène is an inspiring story of bravery, resilience, love, and sacrifice. If historical fiction and strong women are your thing, this is a book you want to check out.
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  • Jess Clayton
    January 1, 1970
    HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Another 5 star read from this amazing author! I love reading historical fiction inspired by actual events and people. This is the reimagined story of Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, a female operative in the French resistance during WWII. She was a remarkable woman; a force to be reckoned with. I was captivated by Lawhon's interpretation of her story from page 1. Wake started as a reporter (with no experience - she bluffed her way into the job!) but ended up acting as a secret agent HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Another 5 star read from this amazing author! I love reading historical fiction inspired by actual events and people. This is the reimagined story of Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, a female operative in the French resistance during WWII. She was a remarkable woman; a force to be reckoned with. I was captivated by Lawhon's interpretation of her story from page 1. Wake started as a reporter (with no experience - she bluffed her way into the job!) but ended up acting as a secret agent who became one of the most-decorated leaders of the French Resistance. The book begins at the end of the story and then jumps back and forth among different time periods. I'm not gonna lie; it was challenging because I read this on Kindle, but I didn't mind because the story is spellbinding. It is intense, yet heartbreaking. Yes, she was a bad-ass who wasn't afraid of standing up to anything or anyone (even a horrific Nazi, who she killed with her bare hands!) but she also found the love of her life at the worst time in history, only to be forced to separate from him for safety. As you're cheering her on while she stands up to the worst of the worst, you are also sharing in her pain of missing her husband. It's a rare glimpse into the inner feelings behind heroism. I like what Lawhon says in the author's notes at the end of the book.“This is a novel about marriage. Yes, of course, it’s also about war and friendship and bravery and tragedy and one of the most important conflicts of the 20th century . . . But to me, at its heart, this is a novel about a woman and her husband and the sacrifices made by both in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.”This book will be released on March 31, 2020. Thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for the advance copy!
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  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I fell in love with this story of SOE operative Nancy Marsh, aka, The White Rabbit. Yes, she really existed and the authors end notes on her life are fascinating. She was beautiful, courageous, intelligent, witty, cussed like a sailor and could drink men under the table. She killed a Nazi with her bare hands and commanded troops of resistance fighters. Her endurance and resolve in war torn Europe was I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I fell in love with this story of SOE operative Nancy Marsh, aka, The White Rabbit. Yes, she really existed and the author’s end notes on her life are fascinating. She was beautiful, courageous, intelligent, witty, cussed like a sailor and could drink men under the table. She killed a Nazi with her bare hands and commanded troops of resistance fighters. Her endurance and resolve in war torn Europe was remarkable. She did extraordinary work for The Resistance in occupied France. Beautifully written, engaging and despite the context, the inter-dispersed humor in tense situations, works well.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    *Code Name Hélène: A Novel* by Ariel LawHon is inspired by the true story of Nancy Wake a spy for the SOE and military leader for the French Maquis. Nancy was one woman with four names, three were code names the most infamous of these was the "White Mouse", whom the Nazi's wanted a very high price for.... dead. This book alternates between the story of Nancy and how she came to work for the Maquis and each of her different identites while working for the SOE. It tells of her many sacrifices *Code Name Hélène: A Novel* by Ariel LawHon is inspired by the true story of Nancy Wake a spy for the SOE and military leader for the French Maquis. Nancy was one woman with four names, three were code names the most infamous of these was the "White Mouse", whom the Nazi's wanted a very high price for.... dead. This book alternates between the story of Nancy and how she came to work for the Maquis and each of her different identites while working for the SOE. It tells of her many sacrifices and the work she did. Nancy was a firecracker and a free spirit so if you are interested you will learn some French curse words along the way, because Nancy was not your average frenchwoman. This is a wonderful read and I loved learning about a war heroine I'd never heard of before. She was one of the great women who fought against the Nazi's in occupied France. This is her story in novel form and it is a book I couldn't put down. I put other books aside to read this one. I read it in one sitting. I would highly recommend this book. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance readers copy ahead of an event with the author.So heres the deal... Im one of those people who still enjoys historical fiction and WWII novels. HOWEVER, if I wasnt that person, I still would have enjoyed this novel!Yes, its set during WWII, but thats not what its about. Its about a badass woman, a REAL woman, who spied for England and France during the war. A woman who led thousands of men in battle. A woman who sabotaged the Germans to protect the country she loved. A I received an advance readers copy ahead of an event with the author.So here’s the deal... I’m one of those people who still enjoys historical fiction and WWII novels. HOWEVER, if I wasn’t that person, I still would have enjoyed this novel!Yes, it’s set during WWII, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about a badass woman, a REAL woman, who spied for England and France during the war. A woman who led thousands of men in battle. A woman who sabotaged the Germans to protect the country she loved. A woman who wore lipstick as her armor. A woman who fell in love with an honorable man.And Ariel Lawhon artfully weaves this incredible story together in a way that makes you want to keep reading!I had the pleasure of discussing this book with Ariel in person at the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club retreat, and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. Ariel was so open about her life, her process, her story, and I cannot thank her enough for sharing.
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