A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore

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A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Peter Magee
Reviewed by Peter Magee
Summary: A tale of espionage in the 1930s - and its based on a true story. An engaging, interesting and enlightening read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: February 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471187179

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Minnie is an 'ordinary' girl living an unexciting life in a leafy provincial suburb. The book is set in the 1930s and Minnie is expected to live up to her mother's expectations and find a nice young man to marry, produce children and spend the rest of her days looking after her husband and their home. Unfortunately, this isn't what she wants to do at all and neither does she want to continue working as a secretary. As a result of a chance meeting, she finds herself drawn into espionage, working for the secret service and effectively living a double life - attempting to infiltrate the Communist Party of Great Britain. Minnie finds herself torn between what she perceives as her duty and the friends she has made - and likes - whilst working for the Communist Party.

Rachel Hore shows the stark reality of living a double life: Minnie was under instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, about what she was doing. The more she became involved in the workings and leadership of the communist party the more her life became isolated and stressful. She frequently wondered about how this would end. There is real tension in this book as Minnie lived under constant fear of being found out by the Communists. If her true identity was discovered, there was a real and persistent danger that her life would be at risk as the Russians are known to be ruthless when it comes to eliminating traitors.

This novel is based on a true story and I'm afraid that I'm not going to tell you who the subject is, as that would give rather too much away. It also makes this a particularly difficult book to review because it would be so easy to spoil the story for the reader. It was something of a diversion for me as this isn't my normal genre but I found the book interesting, engaging and enlightening. If you enjoy historical fiction from the thirties and particularly those involving espionage, I doubt that you will be disappointed.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

We can also recommend some of Hore's previous books : A Place Of Secrets and The House on Bellevue Gardens.

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