- File Size: 3861 KB
- Print Length: 450 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385544685
- Publisher: Doubleday (March 31, 2020)
- Publication Date: March 31, 2020
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07TW1YFRN
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$27.95|
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Code Name Hélène: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 450 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Publisher
—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.”
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While Wake spent years assisting Jewish people across borders to escape death, on the front lines organizing weapon drops for the soldiers of the Resistance, and putting her life on the line for her follow citizens, Lawhon makes the most memorable aspects of Wake to be about her use of red lipstick, her love of carrying tiny dogs around in big purses, and her need for face cream, a mattress, and silky nightgowns while camping out with French soldiers.
I did read the book through, and it held my interest, but I did a lot of cringing as I read it. This writer's style is more suited for a a torrid historical romance (fictional, please) and not a war story based on true events. Sure, there's romance in here, but the heart of the story is the horrific monstrosities of WWII, and it's almost as if the author used some of these events (in sickening, brutal detail- including the murder of a pregnant woman and her full-term unborn baby) as set dressing to show just how "sassy" Wake could be.
I don't know... I'm sure many people will find this book riveting and beautiful and just be absolutely enchanted with Ariel Lawhon's characterization of Nancy Wake, but for me, I just found this book made a novelty out of some very serious stuff and the very dedicated and brave men and women battling with it for the sake of dramatic tension.
Nancy Wake left her home in Australia at the age of 16, traveled the world, became a reporter in Paris, interviewed Hitler, witnessed Nazi atrocities before the war, fell in love with a wealthy French businessman, married him, and moved to Marseilles where she was sure to live happily ever after. Until the Germans invaded France, which is when this beautiful, outspoken, bawdy, highly courageous woman got to work, first smuggling Jews and downed pilots out of Vichy France; and then training and leading elements of the French Maquis.
Author Lawhon intermingles Nancy’s glamorous life before the war with her wartime service under the grittiest, most dangerous and trying conditions. The story she tells is filled with suspense, some really awful villains you’ll love to hate, and secondary heroes you’ll admire and root for. And you’ll come to learn about an actual WWII hero, because although this is a novel, Nancy Wake actually existed and did the things Lawhon writes about.
“Code Name Helené” will definitely keep you turning the pages.
Based on the real-life exploits of an Australian-born socialite and journalist, the book takes readers to the Mediterranean coast of Marseille in the mid-1930s, and as the story unfolds, we are invested in Nancy Wake who evolves into a resistance leader in German-occupied France. Wake, who goes by many names, is a beauty who uses red lipstick to disarm men but is fearless enough to kill a Nazi with her bare hands. Lawhon has always written complex characters who dazzle me, but Nancy Wake is a heroine that lets Lawhon’s flair for gritty dialogue soar. As if the bones of the story weren’t already action-packed enough, the author amps up the tension even more with a narrative structure that alternates between the years of Wake’s courtship and marriage, and her time spent with a cadre of men risking their lives as spies.
This book is gripping. Engrossing. Unputdownable. It’s all the feels and all the adjectives. Seriously. I’d love to see it made into a movie. The real-life Nancy Wake makes Katniss Everdeen look like she's out for a tea party.