Newly out in paperback,Restless
is a tightly written, entertaining espionage novel that tells two parallel stories. The first involves the exploits of a woman recruited to be a British spy as World War II looms, eventually becoming part of a team working feverishly to get America into the war. The second takes place in the mid-`70s, as that woman’s daughter learns of her mother’s secret life, and they both deal with unfinished business from her war days.
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Both are engaging stories, although the gimmick that drives the book – the mother has written her story, but only shows it a few chapters at a time to her daughter, so that the two plots can switch back and forth – is a little clumsy. So is a subplot involving the daughter and an Iranian student who may or may not be a member of that country’s secret police.
But Boyd, a scriptwriter as well as a novelist, knows how to keep things humming along, and he deftly paints an evocative portrait of life in Europe and the U.S. back in the `40s.
Maybe you’ll guess the twist before he wants you to; maybe you won’t. Either way you’ll enjoy the ride. – Richard Connelly
Restless, by William Boyd, Bloumsbury USA, $14.95