Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

‘I have gone by many names.’

This novel was inspired by the story of Nancy Wake, one of the most highly decorated war heroes of World War II.  Ms Lawhon weaves her story between each of the four identities Nancy assumed while working for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France and as a leader of the French Resistance.  Nancy Wake was a fighter, a smuggler, a spy and (as ‘The White Mouse) a target.  The Nazis wanted her dead.

While I knew parts of the Nancy Wake story, Ms Lawhon’s novel brings to life the woman behind the war hero. By writing this novel in the first person, Ms Lawhon brings the reader into the story, sharing the heartbreaks and hardships, feeling the tension.   Nancy Wake was a remarkable woman, courageous, determined and feisty. 

I loved this novel and would recommend it to anyone interested in well written historical fiction.  Ms Lawhon provides an author’s note which is best read after you’ve finished the novel.

‘War is a calamity.  It brings sorrow and loss of life.’

Note: My thanks to Better Reading for a copy of this novel.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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