Code Name Hélène: A Novel (Paperback)
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They say truth is stranger than fiction. In this novel about Nancy Wake, a socialite who became a leader of the French Resistance, it’s also more thrilling. Nashville author Ariel Lawhon honors one of the most decorated women in WWII with a propulsive, action-packed rendering that captures the courage, intelligence, and heart of a hero who should be a household name. I can’t stop thinking about this book.— Erin
"This fully animated portrait of Nancy Wake ... will fascinate readers of World War II history and thrill fans of fierce, brash, independent women, alike." —Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
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 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, Nancy smuggles people and documents across the border. Her success and her remarkable ability to evade capture earns her the nickname The White Mouse from the Gestapo. With a five million franc bounty on her head, Nancy is forced to escape France and leave Henri behind. When she enters training with the Special Operations Executives in Britain, her new comrades are instructed to call her Helene. And finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly Madam Andree, where she claims her place as one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, armed with a ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and the 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—become.
—NEW YORK POST "REQUIRED READING"
“A spellbinding work of historical fiction. . . [and] one of the most sensual romance novels you’ve ever read. . . She is real, this really did happen is the mantra you may find yourself repeating, in awe of every page.”—BOOKPAGE, *STARRED*
"A compulsively readable account of a little-known yet extraordinary historical figure—Lawhon's best book to date." –KIRKUS REVIEW, *STARRED*
“Magnificent. . . Lawhon carries us into the heart of the French resistance [and] into the mind of a badass heroine with uncanny instincts who takes on the Nazis and men’s arrogant sexism with uncommon bravado. . . Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip.”—BOOKLIST, *STARRED*
"Readers will be transfixed by the story of a woman who should be a household name."–LIBRARY JOURNAL *STARRED*
“Riveting. . . [A] stunning, moving story.”—BOOKREPORTER.COM
“Masterful. . . Exhaustively researched and vividly woven. . . As much an epic love story as an engrossing narrative of an unlikely anti-Nazi combatant. . . Lawhon has proven herself a master at her craft, and she does readers a great service with Code Name Hélène.”—CHAPTER16
“Captivating. . . [Lawhon] sweeps readers into Nancy’s wry, fast-talking, first-person account of her adventures. . . While Nancy cuts a vivid, stylish figure through the novel’s pages, her supporting case is also well drawn [and] Lawhon’s elegant plotting makes them shine. . .Lawhon’s gripping narrative gives ‘Hélène’ her due.”–SHELF AWARENESS
"Gripping…Lawhon throws readers into the middle of the action… Lawhon’s vivid, fast-paced narrative will keep readers turning the pages, and a detailed afterword makes plain how much of the account is factual. This entertaining tale does justice to Lawhon’s larger-than-life subject.”