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The Woman with No Name

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Member Reviews

I usually love historical fiction, but “The Woman with No Name” didn’t quite capture my interest as I had hoped. The historical details are clearly well-researched and the setting is vividly described, which I appreciated. However, I found the story’s pace a bit slow and had a hard time connecting with the main character.

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This joins a wonderful lineup of books about the many brave women who were involved in critical yet unsung roles in WW2.
Yvonne Rudellat feels like her life has grown small after her daughter and only child is married and joins in the British war effort, she and her husband are estranged and their house is bombed, her cat killed. But with her French upbringing and marriage to an Englishman and inconspicuous age she is the perfect undercover agent and enters France to be a connecting link between the British and the French resistance. She is trained in critical sabotage skills.... This was a great book that, of course, sent me on google deep dives.

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This was a compelling read. It's well researched, and I love that it's based on a true story. The Woman with No Name is about Yvonne Rudellat and follows her time serving as an agent for Britain during WWII.

Her story is filled with suspense, anger, and determination. She was an extremely proactive resistance worker, and her efforts during the war were heroic and amazing.

The author does a fantastic job of bringing her and these events into vivid focus. Overall, this was an emotional read, but I'm glad to have learned about this strong and resilient woman.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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I love learning about historical events through reading novels, and this one did not disappoint.

Yvonne is a single, middle-aged woman who feels like she has no purpose in life. She’s lost her home to a bomb and all she wants to do is help with the war effort but keeps getting turned away. This all changes when she is recruited to become a saboteur in Nazi occupied France during WWII. Yvonne pushes herself during her training and finds a strength she never knew she had, becoming an expert in explosives. Upon reaching France with a new identity, codename Jacqueline, she takes charge and recruits her own team of saboteurs after feeling frustrated due to her male counterparts underestimating her abilities, simply because she is a woman. Yvonne proves to be very proficient at her job, and undermines the Germans at every turn.

This novel is based on the true story of Yvonne Rudellat, the first British female SOE agent to be sent to war-torn France. This story is insightful, emotional, and inspiring, and I enjoyed reading the author notes and discovering which parts of the story are factual. The characters are relatable, the emotions feel real, and the story feels authentic. I did get lost a few times because of different timelines, and the story dragged a little at times, but overall I loved this book. Great for readers who love WWII fiction with strong female leads.

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an e-arc for review. All opinions are my own and are unbiased.

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In this incredibly powerful World War II historical fiction novel, readers meet Yvonne Rudellat at her lowest moment (a car accident which injures her daughter) and watch her transform into one of the SOE’s most capable and powerful female agents operating in France. As she goes through training and liaises with the Resistance after taking a boat into France, readers explore the scope of her resistance work in France against the German occupying forces. When Germans finally pick up on her existence, readers get to witness this terror and the increase in the stakes of her resistance as the war approaches its final years. In a combination of brilliant character development, serious historical research, and vibrant descriptions and dialogue, Blake has created a stunning, immersive, and complex historical fiction novel. Yvonne is, of course, the star of the novel, but the side characters like Pierre, Denise, and Margaret, as well as other members of the SOE and the Resistance, are great characters with their own complex backstories and character growth over the course of the novel. Blake’s novel is a fascinating historical fiction novel starring an older woman who is strong, powerful, and capable and in a critical position of power in occupied France.

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At first, I was slow to read this novel. Some of it was because of time restrictions, and some of it was because parts of the story felt sluggish and slow. But the more I allowed myself to become immersed in the book, the more enjoyable I found it.

Two things that drew me to this book were that the main character is a woman who has been overlooked due to her “advanced” age (as if 44 is old!) and that she wants to make a difference. She wants to be known for more than just her husband’s wife or daughter’s mother. Those two things made me want to know more about Yvonne Rudellat.

As Yvonne does her best in France, she meets and becomes friends with people like her. They are invisible due to their bland appearances, age, and occupation. Yes, a few of her friends come from elite backgrounds, but as such, they are overlooked by the occupiers.

Reading a book set during World War II that did not showcase or solely focus on young adults was refreshing. Yvonne is in her forties, though she is passing as a thirtysomething. Several of her friends are of similar ages or older. So many books in this period focus on characters in their early to mid-twenties.

As the story progresses, you can feel the tension build. You feel the stress and worry that Yvonne feels. Yvonne even feels pangs of regret as the end nears. Regret for being unable to tell her daughter where she is and what she’s doing. Regret for not mending fences when she had the chance. But not regretting what she had done and had to do. Yvonne was fighting for her home and the people there.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction set during World War II, especially if it's based on a true story, then you should read The Woman with No Name!

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Thank you to NetGalley, Audrey Blake, and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for the ARC of this novel. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get into it. I feel like this book and the story have potential, but it wasn’t for me.

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Thank you to the author, Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My apologies for the delay in posting, time got away from me.

This historical novel - based on a real person, Yvonne Rudellat - spotlights the life of the first woman to go through the grueling British SOE agent training, in preparation for being sent to France to support the French resistance. Frustrated by what she sees as overly cautious (male) leadership of the cell she is to work with, who seems determined to keep her firmly in a role as a low-level message courier, instead of using her extensive knowledge and expertise in explosives, she strikes out on her own and gradually builds up and trains a very effective resistance network.

This is a compelling read, with action interspersed with background to help the reader understand this exceptional woman. Dual timelines cover both training and the period during the war. This is the book to counter the completely unrealistic schmaltz of "The Nightingale", which was so undeservedly popular, with what things were really like.

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Quick and Dirty
-WWII feminist fiction
-plot-driven and fast-paced
-based on a true story
-older female MC

What Worked
I’d seen SO many rave reviews for this one that I knew I would enjoy it, but I wasn’t ready for the similarities to the two favorites pictured here. Yvonne reminded me of Nancy Wake and Nina Markova, my two favorite female MCs. The pulse-pounding sabotage scenes paired with the FMCs inner dialogue sucked me in quickly and kept me engaged throughout the entire novel. I especially appreciated the flashbacks sprinkled throughout; the author used them to provide much-needed context to Yvonne’s choices and Jacqueline’s actions. Yvonne was the first-ever WWII female field agent, which makes her stand out in the crowded world of female agents and WWII novel FMCs. She blazed the trail for all the brave women following in her footsteps, including the beloved Nancy Wake. She was a hero and deserves the recognition given in this great new novel.

What Didn’t Work
As much as I loved the action, I found it hard to connect with Yvonne at times. There are moments when you join her in grief, frustration, or fear, but as a reader, I struggled to connect with her emotionally. Perhaps because I compared the novel to these two favorites rather than enjoying it for what it was? Overall, I think there could have been a bit more time spent exploring the inner workings of her mind and heart. I appreciated the author’s lack of fluff, which is likely a reflection of the real Yvonne Rudellat. There’s no romance to distract you. There’s little deviation from the mission at hand: to be a fly in the Nazi ointment. It’s all action, tactics, and strategy, which some might find off-putting. Because of this, it reads somewhat dry at times.

Read This If
Anyone who loves feeling inspired by the brave actions of female pioneers should check this one out!

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A compelling read. The danger throughout and Yvonne's daring exploits against the Nazis made this a hard to put down book

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I enjoy reading WWII historical fiction, and was excited to start this story, given that it was told from the POV of a female main character, an undercover resistance fighter in France. The story started slow for me with the changing time frames and the backstory about her estrangement from her husband and daughter was a bit confusing. I felt that the story was a bit unrealistic at times in that everything was going well for the resistance network and that the dangerous actions they wanted to take or dangerous situations they put themselves in to didn't really have any real risk, there was hardly any interaction with the German occupiers. However, things picked up in the second half and became a more suspenseful, as things became more realistic in the risks that the resistance network took. I couldn't put the book down by the end. A well written novel told from the point of view of a strong women with fierce determination to do her part to end the evil of the war. I was even more surprised to read that the character of Yvonne/Jacqueline was based on a real person, which makes this an even more amazing story to read.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this e-ACR.

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The Woman With No Name is such a lovely Shero story. Women definitely rule in this work. Highly recommended read!

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2.5 stars

The story follows Yvonne/Jacqueline who joins the French resistance during WWII. The book has two POVs but I really had some trouble following the main character Yvonne/Jacqueline in the past during her training and also in the now, working for the French resistance. The pacing was very slow. I think the biggest issue for me was that the characters lacked in depth and made me not really care about their story. I also think that historical fiction set during WWII simply isn't for me. I often don't feel the horror people actually had too face - I had the same feeling while reading The Woman with No Name. When the big twist was revealed I already didn't care enough about the story so it didn't grab me.

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French-born Yvonne is divorced from her English husband and her daughter is grown when she decides to volunteer to return to France during WWII to help the French resistance movement. Once she completes grueling training, she is transferred into a resistance cell. It soon becomes clear that Yvonne, who changes her name to Jacqueline must take over leadership of the group and she bravely puts herself at risk in order to do her job.
The pros of the book for me were learning about another aspect of WWII and appreciating the research that went into the facts that were the basis of the story. I also appreciated a strong female character. Unfortunately, the book was not an enjoyable read for me. The characters were poorly developed and I didn’t feel like readers got enough of their backstories. The dual timeline going back and forth between Yvonne’s training in England and her work in France was confusing. I definitely would have enjoyed a more linear timeline. There is so much historical fiction about WWII, I think books need to stand out and this one didn’t make the cut.

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In 1942, she survived the bomb that destroyed her home, but Yvonne Rudellat's feels that her life is over. as she's estranged from her husband, her daughter is busy with war work, and Yvonne who is older, diminutive, overlooked has lost all purpose. Then, she's offered a chance to remake herself. The war has taken a turn for the worse, and the men in charge are desperate. So, when Yvonne is recruited as Britain's first female sabotage agent, expectations are low. But her tenacity, ability to go unnoticed, and aptitude for explosives set her apart. Soon enough she arrives in occupied France with a new identity, ready to set the Nazi regime ablaze. There are adversaries on all sides, and. as Yvonne becomes infamous as the nameless, unstoppable woman who burns the enemy at every turn, she realizes she may lose herself to the urgent needs of the Resistance.

This is based on a true story and is yet another example of how women aided the Resistance during WWII. I have read many books in this genre, but I think that this is the first one where the woman is an explosives expert. It was very well written and develops all the characters as the danger becomes very real to all those involved. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this books that shows yet again the tenacity of the women involved the Resistance during WWII. I highly recommend.

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Gosh, what a heartbreaking yet inspirational read. Yvonne Rudellat was such a courageous and selfish woman. The circumstances surrounding why she chose to join the Resistance were quite sad, but her drive and persistence were remarkable. In addition, her actions taken in occupied France to thwart Nazi efforts were brave and genius. I was holding my breath many times while reading because of the many dangerous situations Yvonne and her friends continually put themselves in. The fact that the book is based on a true story makes Yvonne even more incredible. Wow, what an incredible story!

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This historical fiction novel tells the story of
Yvonne Rudellat. A woman in her forties who thought she was washed up, having gone through a divorce and lost everything in a Blitz attack. However, she then went on to be the first female Special Operations Executive to be sent into France, an expert in explosives and led one of France’s largest and most effective resistance networks. I really enjoyed getting to know Yvonne, she was often underestimated but very brave and often quite funny. The story unfolds over a dual timeline and I enjoyed learning how she was recruited and her training. I appreciated the research and attention to detail throughout the novel. For fans of Nancy Wake.

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Okay maybe this is my fault trying to catch up on my WWII historical fictions, but this one was just not for me. I didn't enjoy the mmc's pov as he was kind of a prick and just really annoying. I think I much prefer female pov's when it's this type of sub-genre. Men are so often featured in history in general that I'm uninterested in reading about them tbh. Sue me.

Outside of that, I didn't connect with the character. Maybe I'm too young, but we didn't have a ton in common. She's a divorcee and mother to a daughter who now has a family of her own, basically meaning she has no time for her mother. I feel bad because she's so lonely and clearly has such low self-esteem so it's great when she's finally recruited to become a spy. The real life female espionage stories are sooo interesting and I enjoyed that aspect of the book! It unfortunately didn't make her any more appealing though ugh.

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A Woman With No Name
Audrey Blake
Publishing : 3/2024
Rating: DNF

#qotd : Tell me your favorite season.

I was so stoked for this WW2 historical fiction as I am fascinated by all things in this era. Plus I have read 2 books by this author and loved them!
This one, though, fell short for me. I was about halfway through the book when I decided to call it quits.
The FMC is devastated when her home is destroyed by a bomb, she's estranged from her husband and her daughter is too busy for her. As the war intensifies she is recruited as an undercover sabotage agent in France. Sounds like a cool plot, right?
Except it was SO slow. Barely anything happened between the beginning and halfway through where I stopped. It switched times and locations too often for me to keep up. And frankly, I was just bored. There was one scene where they blow up a transport but that was the only scene with enjoyable action. And I think they were trying to bring in a MMC but that wasn't clear.
Anyway, I'm done griping, I was just really disappointed, especially since I thoroughly enjoyed the last 2 books I read. Maybe it just wasn't for me.

#dnf #sad #historicalfiction #worldwar2 #France #sabotageagent #slow #confusing #review #netgalley #bookreview #comingsoon #notforme

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A great WW2 novel with a compelling plot, complex characters, and an ending that was satisfying. I found the first half of the book to be kind of slow and dragging, but once things picked up, I couldn't put it down!

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