Friday, 16 March 2007


AUTHOR: William Boyd


DATE READ: October 2006

NOTES: What happens to your life when everything you thought you knew about your mother turns out to be an elaborate lie? During the long, hot summer of 1976, Ruth Gilmartin discovers that her mother, Sally is really Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian emigre and one-time spy. In 1939, Eva is a young woman living in Paris. As war breaks out, she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious, patrician Englishman. She learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one: even those she loves most. Since then, Eva has carefully rebuilt her life - but once a spy, always a spy. And now, she must complete one last assignment. This time, though, Eva can't do it alone: she needs her daughter's help.

A great read – very much a page turner. Chapters alternate between Ruth in 1976 and her mother in wartime espionage. Well plotted with good atmosphere in wartime sequences but less so in 70s. Relationship between mother and daughter is beautifully explored. Would have liked Ruth’s story fleshed out more – ends a bit limply.

Not as good as Brazzaville Beach or Any Human Heart, but nonetheless a great read.

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