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Restless: A Novel Bloomsbury USA 1st edition William Boyd


9th July 2013 Literature & Fiction 0 Comments

Someone is trying to kill Sally Gilmartin. It is the summer of 1976, and the only person she can trust is her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother struggling with her own demons. Now Sally must tell her daughter the truth: She is actually Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian migr recruited for the British Secret Service in 1939. Soon Ruth is drawn deeper into the astonishing events of her mother’s past, including her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward U.S. involvement in Second World War and her dangerous love affair with another spy. Ruth also discovers that her mother has one final assignment. This time, though, Eva can’t do it alone–she needs Ruth’s help. Full of tension and drama, emotion andhistory, this is storytelling at its finest.

When Ruth Gilmartin learns the true identityand the WWII professionof her aging mother, Sally Gilmartin, at the start of Boyd’s elegant ninth novel (after Any Human Heart), Ruth is understandably surprised. Sally, ne Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian migr living in Paris in 1939, was recruited as a spy by Lucas Romer, the head of a secretive propaganda group called British Security Coordination, to help get America into the war. This fascinating story is well told, but slightly undercut by Ruth’s less-than-dramatic life as a single mother teaching English at Oxford while pursuing a graduate degree in history. Ruth’s more pedestrian existence can’t really compete with her mother’s dramatic revelations. The contemporary narrative achieves a good deal more urgency when Ruth’s mother recruits her to hunt down the reclusive, elusive Romer. But the real story is Eva/Sally’s, a vividly drawn portrait of a minor figure in spydom caught up in the epic events leading up to WWII. (Oct.)
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Boyd’s ninth novel, an absorbing historical thriller, is loosely based on the history of a covert branch of British intelligence created to coax America into the Second World War. The story unfolds on parallel tracks as Sally Gilmartin, born Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian emigree recruited into the British Secret Service in 1939, reveals her clandestine past in an autobiography that she gives to her daughter, Ruth, a graduate student and single mother living a dull civilian life in Oxford in 1976. These installments give the narrative momentum (the accounts of Ruth’s daily life drag, by contrast) as Eva describes the taciturn spy who recruited and trained her before becoming her lover; her secret propaganda work in New York; and the act of duplicity, almost deadly, that forced her to flee to England and live under an assumed identity. Ruth barely has time to process the shock of her mother’s secret before she is swept into a dangerous game: finding her mother’s betrayer before it’s too late.
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Restless: A Novel










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