To begin at the end, although readers should not do this as there are spoilers, I learned that this novel is based on real people and real events that occurred in the build up to WWII. The story is well told and engrossing.
Protagonist Evelyn was raised in what seems to be a “typical” British home. Her father had a job, her mother was a homemaker and, while not terribly well off, the family managed well. Evelyn , who was intelligent, moved away from her family’s sphere. First she went to a boarding school and later was an Oxbridge graduate. She studied German at university, a helpful language for the time in which the novel took place. Evelyn’s best friend Sally is from a wealthier and more upper class and influential family. They happily included Evelyn in their world. Sally’s cousin Julia is her own woman and a bit of a black sheep. The novel revolves around these three women but with many other characters as well.
What happens when Evelyn becomes involved in war work? What starts out as a secretarial job leads to much more. Readers learn about this and the consequences that Evelyn’s decisions and actions have for her.
One thing that the author does extremely well is to portray the anti-Semitic and pro German attitudes of a group of British citizens. On their own, with Russian emigres and more, they wanted a world in which Hitler was ascendant. This made for some chilling reading.
Another well done aspect of the story was its presentation of work done in MI5. Where did women fit in this? How were agents supported (or not)? These issues add to the intrigue of this story.
What happens to the Unlikely Spy both before and after the war? Read this involving novel to find out.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.