February 29, 1944: I am about to jump out of an aeroplane for the first time … I don't care that every man is looking at me as though I don’t belong. Besides, I'm hungover. And I think I might throw up ...
In 1936 Nancy Wake is living in Paris after bluffing her way into a job as a foreign correspondent and witnessing firsthand the terror of Hitler’s rise in Europe, firing her determination to do anything she could to fight the Nazis. When Nancy falls unexpectedly in love with handsome French industrialist and playboy Henri Fiocca in Marseilles, no sooner has she agreed to become Mrs Fiocca than the Germans invade France and Nancy takes yet another name, a code name – the first of many.
As Lucienne Carlier Nancy helps smuggle people across borders and creates such a successful escape network for Allied soldiers that the Nazis hunting down an elusive female operative dub her ‘The White Mouse’ and put a five million franc bounty on her head. Forced to escape France, Nancy is trained in espionage with an elite special forces group in London and gains a new codename, Hélène. Finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly Madame Andrée.
Nancy goes on to become one of the most powerful and ruthlessly effective leaders in the French Resistance. But the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed Nancy – and the people she loves – will become.
Code Name Hélène is a gripping and heartbreakingly moving story of extraordinary courage, unfaltering resolve, remarkable sacrifice – and enduring love.
Ariel Lawhon is cofounder of the popular website SheReads.org. A novelist, blogger, and lifelong reader, she lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons and black lab—who is, thankfully, a girl.
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