Thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join the blog tour today. Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the digital copy to read. Last year I read and enjoyed the Love Child by Rachel Hore (my review can be found at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/05/13/the-love-child-by-rachel-hore-bookreview/) I am also looking forward to reading The Memory Garden, currently free for a limited time in ebook format in the UK.
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Last Letter Home, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, comes a thrilling novel about a woman with an extraordinary life, based on a true story.
Minnie Gray is an ordinary young woman. She is also a spy for the British government.
It all began in the summer of 1928… Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.
Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.
She soon gains the trust of important leaders. But as she grows more and more entangled in the workings of the movement, her job becomes increasingly dangerous. Leading a double life is starting to take its toll on her relationships and, feeling more isolated than ever, she starts to wonder how this is all going to end. The Russians are notorious for ruthlessly disposing of people given the slightest suspicion. What if they find out? Full of suspense, courage and love, A Beautiful Spy is a stunningly written story about resisting the norm and following your dreams, even if they come with sacrifices.
Minnie Gray is looking to make a difference to the world, and through a chance encounter, she finds herself in a very different world to that of other young women during the post war era. She wanted an interesting job but never expected the adventures she experiences. I loved how this book looks at how life was changing (albeit slowly) for young women in the UK, during my grandparent’s childhood years.
When we think of a spy, many of us will think of James Bond. We never see him wrestling with trying to keep the different elements of his life separate or finding out how emotionally draining it is to keep so many secrets, or to miss out on having proper friendships with work colleagues and neighbours.
I enjoyed the way this story was written, so that we could understand the many emotions Minnie felt during the various stages of her journey from living in Edgbaston, travelling to India and appearing in court. She had to deal with a number of changes and secrets with little help.
I also loved the ending of the book, which reminded me how spirited Minnie is. A fascinating book that I awarded with 5 stars. I’m thrilled to see that the paperback edition has been added to the latest Richard and Judy bookclub selection, this will bring Rachel’s writing to the attention of a wider range of readers.
Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a full-time writer. She is married to the writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons. Her last novel, The Love Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller.