CODE NAME HELENE - Ariel Lawhon
A Perfect 10
ISBN: 978-0-385-54469-6 (ebook)
ISBN: 978-0-385-54468-9 (hardcover)
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 her future.
The story opens in February 1944 as Nancy and her mission partner, Hubert, parachute into Nazi occupied France to join Resistance forces. Nancy has the list of targets that the Allies need distributed once they land in France. She is also carrying forged travel documents to allow her to move around the occupied territory. When they land, they are met by their contact and delivered to their destination. What ensues are months of avoiding the Germans, getting radio instructions and supplies from London, and discovering just who can be trusted. Nancy is more than capable of leading this disparate group of men, and she makes no bones about it, much to shock of the French Resistance. Not one to suffer fools gladly, and with the support of those who have been sent to join her from England, Nancy is a force to be reckoned with and someone to trust when it comes to evading the Nazis and accomplishing her assigned goals..
Broken up into timelines, each labeled with one of Nancy's four code names, CODE NAME HELENE is a spellbinding, stunningly told tale of a real woman who poured all of her energy into each of her assignments. Initially, she was able to move many to safety after the Germans began to target Jews and others. Her marriage to Henry Fiocca enabled her to be financially secure and to use that money to rescue as many as she could. Later, after the Nazis began to hunt for her, she escaped to England, where she began training with others to get into France to organize the various factions of the Resistance, and, hopefully, be reunited with her husband.
Nancy Wake is a name not to be forgotten. She was beyond brave, an in-your-face leader, and still someone who used her red "Lizzie Arden" lipstick to feel strong. Admired by many, and hated by the Nazis, it is past time for Nancy's story to be told. Brilliant writing, and impeccably researched, CODE NAME HELENE is a must read.