Thursday, 4 March 2021

#BlogTour A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore

 

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore.

About the Author

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. 

Follow @RachelHore on Twitter, on Instagram, Visit rachelhore.co.uk, Buy A Beautiful Spy

About the book

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.

Review

Minnie is young, bored and expected to find a good catch and settle into the Stepford Wives routine. A chance encounter with a kindred spirit leads her on the path to a career she has to keep hidden. Being a spy sounds so exciting. The truth is a life of worry, anxiety and confusion, especially when it comes to her romantic relationships.

This is a fictional story based on or inspired by the true one of Olga Gray. She was recruited by MI5 in the 1930s and instrumental in bringing down Percy Glading, who was a Soviet spy working against Britain. As the truth of Minnie's activities emerge the reader gets a real sense of the fear of repercussions she experiences, as I assume did Olga herself. It's one thing helping to keep your country safe, but quite another to stand up and be counted when the criminals are brought to justice.

What I was most fascinated by was the lack of dangerous James Bondesque escapades and intrigue, which of course is absolutely on par with what the world of real spydom must be like. The truth is more likely to be exactly how Minnie experiences it, low key informing and snooping. The other element that gives the read an air of authenticity is the strain it puts on the person living a complete lie every day.

The strain of pretending to be two people at once and having to lie to loved ones, friends and potential partners. It all takes it's toll on poor Minnie, who is also swept up in the romanticism of her secret life.

This combination of fact and fiction makes for an interesting historical read.

Buy A Beautiful Spy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, 18 February 2021, £16.99. Buy at Amazon com. Hive. Bookshop org. Waterstones.

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