Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon ★★★★☆
Updated: May 15
Published : 31st March 2020
Publisher : Headline Review
Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardcover
Genre : Historical Fiction
In 1936, foreign correspondent, Nancy Wake, witnesses first-hand the terror of Hitler's rise in Europe.
No sooner has Nancy met, fallen in love with and agreed to marry French industrialist Henri Fiocca, than the Germans invade France and force her to take on her first code name of many.
The Gestapo call her the White Mouse for her remarkable ability to evade capture when smuggling Allied soldiers across borders. She becomes Hélène when she leaves France to train in espionage with an elite special forces group in London.
Then, when she returns to France, she is the deadly Madame Andrée. But the closer Frances gets to liberation, the more exposed Nancy - and the people she loves - will become.
Thank you Anne Cater and Headline for this fantastic proof copy and blog tour spot.
To open this review perfectly I am going to quote the authors own notes. Upon reading this she describes her book perfectly by summing it up better then the actual synopsis...
“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 is a story about Nancy Wake, One of the most highly decorated heroes of ww11.
During her life she was a smuggler, a target, a spy and a fighter.
Starting off as a young Australian in Paris, Nancy works for a London paper starting off small with just little packages at first and working her way up to becoming
extremely important to the French Resistance’s fight against the Nazi’s, smuggling people and sensitive documents across the border then moving on to working with Special Ops and being parachuted into France where she was extremely sort after by The Nazis and they all wanted her dead. She was in touch with the most important people in the allied forces and killed Nazis with her own bare hands. She was unstoppable.
Eventually she was forced to flee France from the Gestapo due to a bounty on her head.
Nancy is an Australian woman who eventually goes by many aliases but along the way manages to find true love with a man called Henri who she met whilst working as a freelance reporter in Paris. A love that will eventually kill her husband at the hands of the gestapo for not giving his wife up.
The story is mainly about Nancy as The White Mouse, her time as a spy who caused so much trouble for Hitler and the Gestapo that she had a huge sum over her head for her capture.
I Love historical fiction and even more so when the story is true, followed up by the authors notes at the back of the book which really finishes the story as all the little bits of the book come together, who actually was their at that time and what happened to them in the end.
A lot of the story centres around Nancy and Henri's marriage, their love for each other and the time they spent together. I loved this as it gave you a real feel for their marriage and the true bravery and sadness that he died protecting his wife, but also you get to read what it was like back then and you cant help but feel proud that a woman accomplished so much even though they did not always get the notoriety they deserved.
Must have read for any true historical fiction fans.
Meet the author
Ariel Lawhon, author of I Was Anastasia (2018), Flight of Dreams (2016) and The Wife, The Maid And The Mistress (2014), is a critically acclaimed writer of historical fiction.
She lives with her family in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee.
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