I belong to one face to face book group who read the same book for discussion and meet every six weeks or so and we take it in turns to make the selection.
Previously I've failed on other's choices of Dr Zhivago and a re-read of Frankenstein but I did declare my faith in Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and made it my reading choice for them all last November.
Tonight's book is Restless by William Boyd and I can walk in with head held high because I've read it though I'm not sure how much discussion can be raised from it.
It was a good page-turning wartime spy story, almost a thriller, but not quite. More an examination of the after-effects of a secret life kept that way and the fall out when that life is finally revealed.
It's quite a shock in the middle of the hot summer of 1976 when Sally Gilmartin reveals to her daughter Ruth that she is actually one Eva Delectorskaya.Even more surprising that she had been a Russian emigree living in Paris when war broke out and had been recruited to the British Secret Service.
Suddenly Ruth's comfortable if complicated existence in the Cotswolds is turned on its head as a life of misinformation and deceit is revealed. Her mother is not who she thought she was and neither had she been an ordinary spy in her day.
All quite a different take on the traditional young girl spy genre and you have to concentrate hard to figure out the double and triple who is fooling who state of affairs as the team that Eva is recruited to specialise in misinformation.Trust no one was never more pertinent advice.
Of greater interest almost is the afterlife of the spy.
What happens when life returns to some sort of normality because what becomes evident is that, having done this sort of work, life can never be normal again. Great and probably unanticipated sacrifices have been made; always that shoulder to be looked over and impossible to shake off the paranoia of being followed.
That life rears its head again for Sally in 1976 and mother and daughter set out on a quest to finally lay some ghosts to rest.
Perhaps there is more to discuss than I first thought which makes writing this blog quite useful because suddenly a whole lot more has jumped out at me.
Good read and as always William Boyd doesn't disappoint. It's a long time since I read Brazzaville Beach and The Blue Afternoon but on a recommend from a blog visitor I have Any Human Heart at the ready and I seem to recall it was rated higher than Restless so winners all round.
Things have come full circle and it's my turn to make the next reading group choice...