Restless by William Boyd
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Published 1 May 2009
336 pages
Digital library

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘an espionage thriller’. 


It is 1939. Eva Delectorskaya is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian émigré living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious Englishman, and under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most. Since the war, Eva has carefully rebuilt her life as a typically English wife and mother. But once a spy, always a spy. Now she must complete one final assignment, and this time Eva can’t do it alone: she needs her daughter’s help.


When I was a child and being factious and contrary and generally behaving badly, my mother used to rebuke me by saying: ‘One day someone will come and kill me and then you’ll be sorry’ or ‘They’ll appear out of the blue and whisk me away – how would you like that?’ or ‘You’ll wake up one morning and I’ll be gone. Disappeared. You wait and see’.


This is my first time reading the author. I was actually dreading reading for this category because spy fiction tends to leave me cold.

I enjoyed Restless though for a while I didn’t think I would. The book dragged a bit at first and I wasn’t very enamoured for the first fifty pages of so. However, the book gradually started to take off and I found myself getting into it. I really enjoyed Restless after Eve is forced to flee her life as a spy. Things started to get a lot more interesting. I liked the way Restless is structured, moving back and forth between Ruth’s life and her mother’s past as a spy. This works really well. I particularly enjoyed reading about Eve’s attempts to become someone new and erase all links to her past. I thought the characters were well written. I really liked Ruth. I felt great sympathy for her discovering her mother was a stranger. I enjoyed Restless and would recommend it.




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