Historical fiction fans, I have a fresh spy novel for you! Don’t you love the cover? How about a rags to MI5 Counterintelligence agent during World War II? If so, you will want to read Rebecca Starford’s novel An Unlikely Spy. I dove in head first and read this book every chance I could.
Evelyn Varley is a bright and clever girl from a poor family in Lewes. She attends an excellent and competitive school on scholarship, meeting her best and very wealthy friend. Evelyn goes on to Oxford and eventually is recruited by MI5, starting with office work and transcribing notes. She receives her first assignment in counterintelligence and must infiltrate a dangerous secret society allied with Germany. Posing as a Nazi sympathizer, she ultimately must choose between friendship and country.
This novel goes back and forth between 1940 and 1948, and despite my aptitude for WWII spy novels featuring female spies, I felt like I missed something through 80% of the story, sometimes swiping back to try to figure out that missing piece or detail. Without spoiling anything, there comes a point near the end where everything starts making sense–a huge, long aha. The author’s note at the end explains how much of An Unlikely Spy was based on real people and real events, and I almost wish that was placed at the beginning.
All in all, An Unlikely Spy is a solid spy novel you will want to add to your TBR pile.