I mentioned on Instagram the other day that I recently finished Code Name Hélène on Audible, and I thought it was definitely worthy of its own review. In case you’re new here, Rebecca Reads is the collection of book related content here on my blog. You hover over Lifestyle on the menu at the top of the page and select books to see the rest of my reviews and round up. Today’s post is all about Code Name Hélène on Audible. As always, you can try Audible free for 30 days.
Code Name Hélène, written by Ariel Lawhon, is an historical fiction novel that is based loosely on a true story. Nancy Grace Augusta Wake was a New Zealand journalist who joined the French Resistance in WWII. Her story is so interesting. She ran away from home at 16 and worked as a nurse.
She went to Europe and trained herself as a journalist. She met her future husband, Henri Fiocca, and they were married right after the war broke out in 1939. After witnessing the rise of the Nazis across Europe, Nancy joined the resistance.
Nancy worked as a courier for an escape network in France. Many of the people she helped were escaping to neutral Spain. She was one of the most wanted resistance members, and the Nazis had a 5 million franc price on her head.
She was able to evade the Gestapo while simultaneously running circles around them in France. They gave her the name The White Mouse, because they simply couldn’t catch her. In fact, she had other code names as well. She was known as Hélène, Madame Andre, and the White Mouse. She also had her maiden and married names, Nancy Grace Augusta Wake and Nancy Fiocca.
Unfortunately, she was eventually captured and had to escape to Spain through the Pyrenees. She made it to London and worked with the resistance there, on the condition that she be sent back to France.
She was one of Churchill’s most decorated spies, and her story is just incredible.
Of course, the details in Code Name Hélène are fictionalized, but you get the general idea of what her life was like as a member of the resistance in France. Last year, it was announced that a small series will be produced based on Code Name Hélène.
It took me a while to listen to this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you love time jumps/multiple story lines, then this is for you. I think this would also be great in book form, because following the different time lines and code names was a little confusing for an audiobook. But, honestly, I would listen to it again. And, for what it’s worth (since it’s an audiobook), the narrators were a pleasure to listen to.