Restless by William Boyd is one of the rare novels that is enjoyable from the opening quote to the final paragraph. The story goes back and forth between the cloak-and-dagger world of WWII British espionage and the “contemporary” (1976) relationship between a mother and her daughter.
The premise is that a proper English grandmother, tucked away in a tiny Oxfordshire village, puttering in her garden, gives her daughter a manuscript she wrote, which reveals that she had been a British spy. From there, the story of her life as an intelligence agent develops along with the daughter’s completely new understanding of the person her mother is.
While it has its exciting bits, it is not a heart-racing thriller. Instead, gets into the minds of the characters to look at what it was like to have once been a spy, then live a normal life, and what it would be like to learn that your parent had been a spy with an adventurous life no one knew anything about. Fascinating.
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The audio book version was particularly entertaining because the woman who read did remarkably well on the accents. She had to portray characters with a variety of English and American accents, as well as Irish, Scottish, French, German, Russian, Mexican, and Iranian. She did an incredible job.