Code Name Hélène

. Doubleday. Mar. 2020. 464p. ISBN 9780385544689. $27.95. F.
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.
VERDICT Based on the real-life exploits of “socialite spy” Nancy Wake, Lawhon’s (I Was Anastasia) story presents Wake’s heroism, alongside the bravery and sacrifice of all who fought, giving hope that even in the darkest times there are real-life heroes. Readers will be transfixed by this story of a woman who should be a household name.
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