The Woman with No Name – Audrey Blake

The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on March 12, 2024
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Buy on Amazon

She'll light the fire of resistance—but she may get burned…

1942. Though she survived the bomb that destroyed her home, Yvonne Rudellat's life is over. She's estranged from her husband, her daughter is busy with war work, and Yvonne—older, diminutive, overlooked—has lost all purpose. Until she's offered a chance to remake herself entirely…
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.
But there are adversaries on all sides. 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 cause…
Based on a true story, The Woman With No Name is a gripping story of secrets, spies, and the women behind the Resistance, from USA Today bestselling author Audrey Blake.

I stumbled on Audrey Blake quite by chance; Blake’s first novel came up as a suggested read on Amazon. Yes, I know “Audrey Blake” is technically two authors, but it’s easier to write the review referencing “Audrey Blake” as one person. I am a WWII history buff. I just finished watching Apple TV’s new series, Masters of the Air, and I loved every minute of it. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the era features the Greatest Generation. The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake fictionalizes the story of a French resistance network I never knew to exist. Beautifully, Blake captures the intensity of working behind the scenes against an evil unlike any we’ve known. I pray with all my heart we will never stoop to those utter depths of inhumanity again.

After a Nazi bombing hits her home, Yvonne Rudellat is determined to make a difference for her home country: France. Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) sees her French fluency as an asset and trains her to be implanted behind enemy lines. The goal—to create a network that will sabotage the Nazi regime. Even when faced with pushback, Yvonne keeps her eye on the goal and never stops. When faced with an obstacle, she goes over, under, or around it. And even when the worst happens, Yvonne never opens her mouth. Never betrays those who trusted her with their lives.

The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake features two timelines: Yvonne’s training and her resistance work in France. We see snippets from the past that influence Yvonne’s present and eventually, her future. Blake takes an unknown (to me) real person—Yvonne Rudellat—and makes me want to investigate her further. I have already requested her biography from my library. Yvonne, Pierre, and all the others are more than mere characters on the page. Audrey Blake wonderfully describes the challenges the network faced, the relationships forged, and the doubts often confronted. The SOE hesitated, at first, to deploy Yvonne because of her small stature and age. She proved them all wrong.

I only had a couple complaints about the novel. I didn’t like Blake’s created character, Max. His chapters didn’t have as much power behind them. They did demonstrate the government’s search for the resistance movement—specifically, for Yvonne and Pierre. But…I don’t know, Max’s chapters didn’t do it for me. Secondly, The Woman with No Name has an (appropriately) abrupt ending. It worked for the novel—and I imagine something similar happened in real life—but it hurt my heart!

WWII. Espionage. Good characters. A hint of feminism. The Woman with No Name is a wonderful read for any historical fiction fan.