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Code Name Hélène

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  68 reviews
BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, comes the newest feat of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names
Hardcover, 464 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2020 by Doubleday Books
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  111 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Megan C.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for a true story. Although categorized as historical fiction, the core characters and events in this book are real.

I was sitting on a solid 4 stars throughout 75% of this book, but the last quarter (and also the author's note at the end) blew it up to a 5 star read for me. Color me obsessed with Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, aka The White Mouse/Madame Andree, code name Helene. She was fierce, salty, irreverent, strong, and unapologetic. She threw on a coat of Lizzie Arden's Victory Red
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is strong historical WWII fiction based on the resistance work of glamorous socialite turned secret agent, Nancy Wake. Fearless, audacious, and resolute, Wake was a force to be reckoned with all while wearing red Chanel lipstick. Now there’s a woman after my heart. Going by four different code names she thwarted the Nazis at every turn and became the “most wanted” with a sizable price on her head. She also took on members of the resistance who balked at taking orders from a woman with the ...more
Kari Ann Sweeney
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
PUB DATE April 2020

I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of Code Name Hélène ahead of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club Retreat and the hear Ariel Lawhon's thoughts when she joined the group in person. While I’ve read and enjoyed all of her fiction books- this is hands down my favorite.

Hélène is just one of four code names used by Nancy Wake. A relentless, unapologetic, feminine, brave woman who stood toe-to-toe with her male counterparts in the French Resistance during WWII. Beyond her work in the
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
1936. Australian expat, Nancy Wake, lives in Paris and works as a freelancer. She has paved her way onto the roster at Hearst.

When the story starts progressing with her investigative work, the moment I thought I was getting into it, another man’s facial description pops up. It’s like some kind of infatuation with facial descriptions.

When the story starts alternating to different places, for a moment it felt as it was about to pick up the pace, but then it’s on and on about broken camera.

Amanda (TheBookwormAdventures)
*Thank you to Doubleday Books for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Nancy Wake was known as many names during her time in reconnaissance against the Germans during World War II: Mrs. Fiocca, Lucienne Carlier, The White Mouse, Hélène, and finally, Madame Andrè. What name would I give her? Total and complete badass. And I don’t feel bad saying that, because Nancy - who was a very real person - was known for her “unladylike” language and cursing and I just
Linda Hutchinson
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would not be 100% truthful if I said that historical fiction is my favorite genre.It isn’t. However, I was fortunate to receive an ARC of “Code Name Helene” by author Ariel Lawhon which won me over with a fantastic tale of heroism. This book is set toward the end of World War II, but it’s much more than a war story. It’s a story about a strong, opinionated, brave, and determined woman who worked with the French Resistance during WWII. The heroine’s real name was Nancy Wake and she brought ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ariel Lawhon has outdone herself with this one. This novel is about Nancy Wake, a woman with many different identities who was integral to the French Resistance's fight against Nazi Germany. Lawhon's interpretation of Wake's life made for compulsive reading. I spent most of the book on the edge of my seat anxious about what was going to happen next. Nancy Wake was someone I'd like to
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-popsugar
I was fortunate to receive a galley of this book from the author, DoubleDay Books, and Modern Mrs. Darcy in advance of a bookclub retreat where Ariel participated in a discussion about her newest book. Listening to Ariel share the history of her latest subject, Nancy Wake, as well as her research and writing process served to make me appreciate the book even more.

This book is something special. The publication date is April 2020. Do yourself a favor and pre-order this one. It’s the story of
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*Code Name Hélène: A Novel* by Ariel LawHon is inspired by the true story of Nancy Wake a spy for the SOE and military leader for the French Maquis. Nancy was one woman with four names, three were code names the most infamous of these was the "White Mouse", whom the Nazi's wanted a very high price for.... dead.

This book alternates between the story of Nancy and how she came to work for the Maquis and each of her different identites while working for the SOE. It tells of her many sacrifices
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance readers copy ahead of an event with the author.

So here’s the deal... I’m one of those people who still enjoys historical fiction and WWII novels. HOWEVER, if I wasn’t that person, I still would have enjoyed this novel!

Yes, it’s set during WWII, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about a badass woman, a REAL woman, who spied for England and France during the war. A woman who led thousands of men in battle. A woman who sabotaged the Germans to protect the country she loved.
I finished this--my first Ariel Lawhon--a few weeks ago and I'm still thinking about Helene. The power of her story would be enough to stand on its own, but Lawhon's graceful execution, her power of sensory imagery to take the reader both from the brink of despair to the bower of a bridal night makes this novel exceptional. The story is circular, you will begin where you end, but the tale between the first and last chapters brings to life the role one woman played in the liberation of France ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love stories of humanity during WWII. Showcasing these acts of bravery, and putting faces to names of those who put their lives on the line to help others, just never gets old. This was a horrible time in history and we should never stop learning about or remembering the brave souls who suffered under this horrible regime.

Code Name Hélène is one of those stories that just crawls in and captivates you, heart and soul. Based on the real life story of Nancy Wake, this is the story of a
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I fell in love with this story of SOE operative Nancy Marsh, aka, The White Rabbit. Yes, she really existed and the author’s end notes on her life are fascinating. She was beautiful, courageous, intelligent, witty, cussed like a sailor and could drink men under the table. She killed a Nazi with her bare hands and commanded troops of resistance fighters. Her endurance and resolve in war torn Europe was ...more
Alix Halloran
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, NetGalley and Doubleday Books for this amazing ARC!

Nancy Wake falls in love with a French man just before World War II breaks out. She finds herself drawn into the resistance and eventually leads the effort to sabotage German targets once the Allies land in Normandy. The story is told in two timelines: Nancy's experiences leading up to the war and beginning to join the resistance, and Nancy returning to France to lead resistance forces in the lead-up to D-day. The two different
Tara Weiss
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the next book I won’t be able to stop talking about ... so, so good! Lots of history, so don’t rush or you’ll miss important details. Also, I cried, so that’s MAJOR... full range of human emotion is the hallmark of a good read. Nancy & Henri forever.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you heard of Nancy Grace Augusta Wake? I vaguely remembered the name but not really the story. I’m glad that I went into this read somewhat blind to the facts because it was awesome to read and watch the story unfold without much background. Nancy Wake is a bad ass! There is no other way to describe her. The sacrifices she made for her country leaves me speechless. This book was amazing and fast paced. I don’t want to write too much and give it away so just check it out for yourself when it ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard about Nancy Wake until I read this book. Hers is a fascinating story about love and guts and fighting for what’s good and right when the odds are stacked against you. The author does an absolutely phenomenal job of weaving a chunk of time with a lot of details into beautiful prose. The chapters switch back and forth between the different code names Nancy Wake used during her time leading up to and as an SOE agent in WW2 and different times and places those names were utilized. ...more
Nancy Willard
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exciting story about an Australian woman who relocates to France and becomes a Spy for the French Resistance. This historical fiction is based on real life Nancy Wake, who parachuted into occupied France, trained with Special Operations, killed a Nazi with her bare hands, commands armies into battle, bicycles over 500 km to deliver a special report, yet is remembered for her “ferocious wit and her signature red lipstick”. In addition to all of the exciting adventures Ariel Lawhon describes, ...more
Shari Suarez
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inspired by the true story of Nancy Wake, a spy for Great Britain during WWII, this is a beautiful work of historical fiction.
Nancy becomes part of the Resistance while living in France with her husband, Henri. When she is about to be discovered she escapes to Spain and then to England where she is recruited to return to France to help the Maquis. She is a tough, formidable woman who just wants to see her beloved husband again. Lawhon weaves these two narratives together brilliantly and leaves
Andria Sedig
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
I was really surprised and intrigued by this story. The narratives were well interwoven and the pacing was great. I really enjoyed learning about this particular facet of history, as it was one I wasn't familiar with and felt like a unique topic for a WW2 story. This book also balanced levity with the seriousness of the topic in a way that this book didn't feel oppressivelydark or heavy. Overall this was a really great read. ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Nancy Grace Augusta Wake was born in New Zealand in 1912, and her family later moved to Australia. She ran away from home at 16, finding work as a nurse’s assistant. Eventually, she found her way to London, where she bluffed her way into a position as a freelance journalist for Hearst newspapers. Settling in Paris in the 1930’s, she witnessed and reported on the rise of Hitler, the start of
Jani Brooks
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
France - before and during World War II

Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, New Zealand born, raised in Australia, and living in France prior to the German invasion, is a budding journalist working for the Hearst Corporation. Her signature piece is the photo she posted from Vienna showing the burgeoning terrorism toward Jews. But, because she is a woman, her name is never revealed - it goes against Hearst policy. Still, Nancy is not a shrinking violet and soon, something much more important will consume
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5.0 stars

I received a complimentary e-book copy of this book from Doubleday through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to Ariel Lawhon, Doubleday, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

OMG, this novel was INTENSE!! It had VERY graphic scenes of the horrors of WWII. Unfortunately, we need these reminders or we will forget the REAL-LIFE horrors that so many experienced during the Nazi reign of terror. But, I must confess that I loved the
Johanna Lemon
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“This book has wrecked me.”

That’s honestly what I thought (and said, to anyone standing around me) as soon as I finished the final page of Ariel Lawhon’s book, Code Name Helene. This novel, this awe-inspiring, beautifully-written, sweat-inducing, true-story-inspired book has upended my life entirely.

I’m usually not one for WWII novels. I’ve noticed a recent resurgence in the subject but tend to stay away from them, as the gritty realism and horrors of WWII can sometimes be too much for me to
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I admit to WWII fatigue. I have read so manny books about the war and the role of women that I found this hard to love. It is inspired by the true story of Nancy Ware. We are taken on her missions during WWII. The story is exciting and well worth reading. Of course, I enjoyed the portrayal of a woman influencing the outcome of the war.

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Unputdownable. Review to follow.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved it! I need some time to get all of my thoughts together Stay tuned for the review ...more
Melissa Rochelle
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I remembered why I stopped reading WW2 books. While I found the life of Nancy Wake absolutely amazing, the atrocious acts of the Nazis are so difficult for me to read. Ariel Lawhon brings Nancy Wake to life – she is vivacious, witty, determined, and strong. This is an excellent novel for fans of historical fiction, especially those interested in World War 2 (and can handle the horrific acts of wartimes).
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I am intrigued by spy stories, and when they are based on actual spies, the story is all the better. Code Name Helene moves between several dates and the names Nancy Wake uses in those years--her actual name and her aliases. The literary device is itself something of a code for the reader, but it is an effective devise. Nancy's story is skillfully told with plenty of hold-your-breath moments. Human kindness and extraordinary courage stand in sharp contrast to the cruelty and disdain for human ...more
Sherry Chiger
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Great start, great first-person narrative, great premise: the true-life escapades of Allied saboteur Nancy Wake. So why did "Code Name Helene" ultimately irritate and disappoint me?
1) The alternating time lines and the addition of a third-person narrative, ostensibly to provide the viewpoint of Nancy's husband, muddied the momentum and killed rather than accentuated the drama.
2) The marriage of Nancy and Henri was absurdly idealized, a tween's vision of the perfect marriage. And the book
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Ariel Lawhon is the critically acclaimed, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS, FLIGHT OF DREAMS, I WAS ANASTASIA, and CODE NAME HELENE. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, ...more