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 intrepid young Australian journalist Nancy Wake is living in Paris after witnessing firsthand the terror of Hitler’s rise in Europe, firing her resolve to fight against the Nazis. When Nancy falls in love with handsome French industrialist Henri Fiocca, no sooner has she become Mrs Fiocca than the Germans invade France and Nancy takes yet another name, a codename – the first of many.
As the elusive Lucienne Carlier she smuggles people across borders and earns a new name ‘The White Mouse’ along with a five million franc bounty on her head, courtesy of the Gestapo. Forced to flee France, Nancy is trained by an elite espionage group under the codename Hélène. Finally, with mission in hand, she is airdropped back into France as the deadly Madame Andrée. But the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed Nancy – and the people she loves – will become.
Based on the true story of an extraordinary woman who saved countless lives, Code Name Hélène is a thrilling tale of danger, intrigue, unfaltering courage, remarkable sacrifice – and love.
‘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 ... Propulsive ... Emotionally stirring... Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip.’ Booklist, starred review
‘Underground operative, charmer in red lipstick, loving wife and hard-hitting woman of her times, Nancy Wake will fascinate and thrill fans of fierce, brash, independent women, alike.’ Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours
Ariel Lawhon is the author of the New York Times bestselling I Was Anastasia, Flight of Dreams, The Wife, The Main and the Mistress. Her books have been Library Reads, Indie Next, and Book of the Month Club selections. Ariel is the co-founder of SheReads.org. She lives with her family near Nashville.
'A compulsively readable account of a little-known yet extraordinary historical figure – Lawhon’s best book to date.'
– Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED*
'Ariel Lawhon delivers in Code Name Hélène. This fully animated portrait of Nancy Wake – underground operative, charmer in red lipstick, loving wife, and hard-hitting woman of her times, will fascinate readers of World War II history and thrill fans of fierce, brash, independent women, alike. A stark exploration of the remarkable difference one person, willing to rise in the face of fear, can make.'
– Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
‘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 ... Propulsive ... Emotionally stirring... Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip.’
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