Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Review: Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Code Name Helene
by Ariel Lawhon

Publisher: Doubleday Books
Pages: 451
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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 HÉLÈNE. And finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly MADAM ANDRÉ, 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.

Kritters Thoughts:  Based in truth on a real woman, Nancy Wake lead a heroic life contributing her entire life to fighting for justice for individuals and a group of people and this book was an epic tale that made me want to read more about this woman.  Nancy Wake took on many names and personas to survive the war and not only did she survive but she impacted the war and people who were also trying to survive.  

For me, the pacing of this book wasn't consistent and there were times where I felt as though it lagged a bit and it was hard for me to keep my attention focused on the book.  I think after finishing the book, I could say that there are a few parts that could have been edited out and the flow of the book would have been spot on.  

On the flip side, what I loved most about this book is seeing a woman take command of not only her life but gaining the respect of others and Nancy had the respect of a whole host of men who saw her as the commander of their unit.  Watching her take a skill and become a pro and then use it to outsmart the German army was very fun to read.  

My first Ariel Lawhon book and after reading this one, I would love to catch up on her backlist.  I love how she writes empowering women and shines a light on their story when they may have not made it into the traditional history books.    

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2023 Challenge: 5 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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