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Get Lit: Restless, by William Boyd

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.

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

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