Lawhon, Ariel. Code Name Helene
Booklist Reviews 2020 March #2
*Starred Review* Lawhon's magnificent fourth novel dramatizes the valor of a gutsy, real-life woman molded by war, sacrifice, and love. In February 1944, sporting her trademark red lipstick, Nancy Wake parachutes into the French countryside on a Special Operations Executive mission to organize, fund, arm, and train the Maquis, bands of local resistance fighters, in preparation for D-Day. Back in 1936, with increasing dangers posed by Hitler, Nancy is a determined Australian expat journalist embarking on a tantalizing romance with handsome industrialist Henri Fiocca. As these separate time lines move forward, they play off one another masterfully, pivoting at just the right moment to augment tension. Lawhon carries us into the heart of the French resistance, with the beautiful Auvergne region covertly transformed into a gritty battleground, and into the mind of a badass heroine with uncanny instincts who takes on the Nazis and men's arrogant sexism with uncommon bravado. With her infectious laugh and occasionally profane dialogue, Nancy's fighting spirit shines through her propulsive narrative, and her comrades-in-arms are well-rendered secondary characters. Her journey to becoming a fierce, powerful leader is as emotionally stirring as her growing bond with Henri. Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake's accomplishments will hold readers in its grip. WOMEN IN FOCUS Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2020 April
In 1936 Paris, freelance journalist Nancy Wake meets two men. One is destined to be the love of her life; the other, a political refugee, changes the course of her life through his harrowing story. Traveling to Vienna, a city under the spell of Adolf Hitler and his Brownshirts, Nancy witnesses the torture and terror inflicted on Jewish residents and those who resist. In Berlin, she also stumbles upon a rally led by Hitler where she experiences the fanaticism that he inspires. She returns to Paris changed and determined to report what she has seen. As the Germans begin their march toward Europe, Nancy is unable to ignore the desperation of those fleeing or determined to fight. She joins the Resistance and leads dangerous escape routes through France and becomes one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance.
PW Reviews 2020 February #4
Lawhon, who masterfully combined fact and fiction in