The title of Flynn Berry’s latest book has two meanings. The novel’s protagonist, in one scene, mentions the apple variety known as the Northern Spy; however, more significantly Northern Spy refers to those who are spying in Northern Ireland.
This absorbing novel tells the story of sisters Marian and Tessa. Tessa is a new mom who passionately loves her son. She works for the BBC and as the novel opens is not involved in the sectarian conflict. However, much happens after Tessa sees her sister in footage of an IRA robbery. Questions are raised: did Marian want to be there or was she a victim? As the answers spool out, readers learn a lot about the conflict, recruitment to the IRA, informers and the complexities of the choices that the characters are asked to make.
Ms. Berry is skilled at showing how a person can be recruited to the IRA bit by bit. She gives life to the beliefs that motivate the characters who see sectarian violence as the way to achieve a united Ireland. In doing this, Ms. Berry offers a suspenseful novel characters that readers will care about.
I do think that elements of the plot required suspension of disbelief. That having been said, I recommend this one!