There was a time in England when Cambridge grads became traitors; among the most famous of these men were KIm Philby, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and Donald Maclean. They hid in plain sight, not suspected for a long time because of their social class and educations. They were idealistic to start with but some devolved into alcoholism and of course, many defected.
This novel takes place within the time frame of these spies in the late 40s and early 50s. One of the spies, Guy Burgess, is even a character in the novel.
Two sisters Iris and Ruth are the book’s protagonists. When the story opens, Ruth is successfully running a modeling agency in New York. She and Iris have not spoken for many years. Readers will find out why when they read the novel.
When the two were still close, they lived in Rome during part of WWII. While there Iris falls madly in love with Sasha Digby. She makes the decision to follow him wherever he goes and, not to spoil anything they eventually make a big move. Readers will find out why.
One day, Ruth gets a call for help from Iris. She heeds it and this leads to the most exciting events of the novel.
Also in the story is Lyudmilla, a very conforming Russian. Where does she fit in the story and how do her life and the Digbys’ lives intersect? Again, read to find out.
Beatriz Williams has written an absorbing story here with an excellent plot twist. Events unfold; this is not a James Bond like read but it is a good one. The settings and characters shine.
Think about the title as you read. See how close you come to guessing some of the story’s resolutions. Enjoy the novel as you do. It makes for a good read.
“Williams has a sure hand in this deceptively quiet novel, told from the perspective of three different women. She expertly shifts between family drama and a suspenseful espionage plot, and makes every word and note count.” — Library Journal (starred review)