“Atkinson is brilliant. Her characters are brilliant. Her command of the back-and-forth narrative, the un-fixedness of memory, the weight that guilt accrues over time and how we carry it is remarkable.”



Her third consecutive novel which takes place during World War 2. Julie Armstrong is a teenager when she is recruited by the British Government to work for MI5 which is their spy unit.

She originally types transcripts of conversations recorded of Nazi sympathizers in England, but eventually she becomes an active participant in the spy program, infiltrating a group of people who are sending information to the Germans. There will be some tense moments until her mission is completed, and after the war she gets work with the BBC. Yet every once in awhile she will still do some work for MI5.

When Julie receives an unsigned message stating she will pay for what she has done we begin the second part of the story of Julie trying to find out who sent the message. She always carries a gun for her own protection, now fearing for her life.

At times the story tends to slow down, especially in the middle parts of the story, but the last 30 pages or so of the book provides a surprising and satisfying conclusion to the story. While not as strong as Life After Life, it is still interesting enough to give it a shot. Fans of the author won’t be disappointed.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 26th December 2018

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Richard Franco