Book Review: CODE NAME HELENE by Ariel Lawhon

code name Helene

CODE NAME HELENE by Ariel Lawhon was the right book at the right time for me – the story of a tough-as-nails woman whose struggles and bravery make our shelter-in-place woes seem trivial. (Yes, the fictional story is – remarkably – based on a real-life character [one of the most decorated women in WWII]). This is the story of Nancy Grace Augusta Wake’s resistance efforts during WWII in France, but also it is a story of her marriage.

Code name HeleneThe character is full of pluck, and the story – despite its serious nature – showcased some laugh-out-loud moments. I continue to appreciate the way the author experiments with timelines, as well.

Lawhon excels at third-person narrative, and I confess that I favored her other books as a result, all of which had a more literary bent than this first-person book. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this remarkable character who was as comfortable in lipstick as she was leading an army of men.

CODE NAME HELENE is recommended for readers who enjoy learning about hidden pockets of history and who appreciate very strong female characters (with a love story mixed in). Those who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale or Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network will likely devour this book.


(A version of Melissa Crytzer Fry’s review of CODE NAME HELENE by Ariel Lawhon was published at GoodReads on June 19, 2020. It is reposted here with permission of the reviewer.)

Look for more reviews by Melissa Crytzer Fry on BELOW THE SALT NEWS.



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