Restless A novel

William Boyd, 1952-

Book - 2006

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FICTION/Boyd, William
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Subjects
Published
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers 2006.
Edition
1st U.S. ed
Language
English
Physical Description
324 p.
ISBN
1596912367
Main Author
William Boyd, 1952- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

If an espionage thriller with terror tentacles reaching from pre-World War II to the present can be called a cozy, this is it. Boyd's latest novel moves back and forth from the heart of the British countryside and misty, romantic Edinburgh to prewar Paris and into various capitals during the conflict itself--all with a satisfying, Agatha Christie atmosphere. This is also a mother-daughter story set in 1976, with the daughter of an eccentric mother trying to figure out who wants to kill her mother, Sally Gilmartin. Boyd introduces a rather clunky literary device of having the mother give her daughter a manuscript that details her life as a WWII spy for the British Secret Service. Boyd's focus on Gilmartin's spy training and her behind-the-scenes propaganda work in New York to steer public opinion toward U.S. involvement in the war is fascinating. A somewhat clumsy narrative enlivened by some expertly generated suspense. ((Reviewed August 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In his latest novel, Boyd (A Good Man in Africa ) entwines two stories. One, set in England in 1976, focuses on the everyday preoccupations of Ruth Gilmartin, a single mother who teaches English to foreigners in Oxford. Ruth's life changes when her mother, Sally, begins to reveal her past to her daughter. In the early years of World War II, Sally, whose real name is Eva Delectorskaya, was recruited as a spy by British intelligence. Sent to New York in 1941, she spread black propaganda in an attempt to coax the United States into the war. On a mission in New Mexico, Eva was betrayed and had to kill a man to survive. Unable to trust her team, she escaped to Canada and eventually returned to England, where she lives in seclusion under a new identity, waiting for her betrayer to track her down. While some readers may be annoyed by the author's stylistic tics, particularly the profusion of paired adverbs (e.g., people speak seriously, weightily and shrug hopelessly, helplessly), others will enjoy this glimpse of wartime dirty tricks. For larger public libraries. Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson [Page 134]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

When Ruth Gilmartin learns the true identity—and the WWII profession—of her aging mother, Sally Gilmartin, at the start of Boyd's elegant ninth novel (after Any Human Heart ), Ruth is understandably surprised. Sally, ne Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian migr living in Paris in 1939, was recruited as a spy by Lucas Romer, the head of a secretive propaganda group called British Security Coordination, to help get America into the war. This fascinating story is well told, but slightly undercut by Ruth's less-than-dramatic life as a single mother teaching English at Oxford while pursuing a graduate degree in history. Ruth's more pedestrian existence can't really compete with her mother's dramatic revelations. The contemporary narrative achieves a good deal more urgency when Ruth's mother recruits her to hunt down the reclusive, elusive Romer. But the real story is Eva/Sally's, a vividly drawn portrait of a minor figure in spydom caught up in the epic events leading up to WWII. (Oct.) [Page 49]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When someone tries to kill her three decades after being trained as a spy, Sally Gilmartin, a respectable English widow living in a quiet Cotswold village, decides to reveal the truth about her past to her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother with a growing problem with alcohol, who is given the task of finding the man who recruited Sally for the secret service.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When someone tries to kill her three decades after being trained as a spy, Sally Gilmartin reveals the truth about her past to her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother with a growing problem with alcohol, who is given the task of finding the man who recruited Sally for the secret service.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

It is the summer of 1976 in Oxfordshire, England, and someone is trying to kill Sally Gilmartin. The only person she can trust is her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother struggling with her own demons. Now Sally must tell her daughter the truth : She is actually Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian emigre recruited for the British Secret Service in 1939, after the murder of her brother, also a spy.As Ruth tries to make sense of the twists and turns that have brought her back to Oxford, twenty-eight years old and caring for a young son by herself, she is drawn deeper and deeper into the astonishing events of her mother's past. Sally Gilmartin had buried many secrets along with the name Eva Delectorskaya, including her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward U.S. involvement in the Second World War and her dangerous love affair with another spy. Eva was trained to be the perfect spy : to be keen, quick, alert, and most important, to trust no one. At last, Ruth discovers that her mother has one final assignment. This time, though, Eva can't do it alone - she needs Ruth's help.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

It is Paris, 1939. Twenty-eight year old Eva Delectorskaya is at the funeral of her beloved younger brother. Standing among her family and friends she notices a stranger. Lucas Romer is a patrician looking Englishman with a secretive air and a persuasive manner. He also has a mysterious connection to Kolia, Eva's murdered brother. Romer recruits Eva and soon she is traveling to Scotland to be trained as a spy and work for his underground network. After a successful covert operation in Belgium, she is sent to New York City, where she is involved in manipulating the press in order to shift American public sentiment toward getting involved in WWII.Three decades on and Eva has buried her dangerous history. She is now Sally Gilmartin, a respectable English widow, living in a picturesque Cotswold village. No one, not even her daughter Ruth, knows her real identity. But once a spy, always a spy. Sally has far too many secrets, and she has no one to trust. Before it is too late, she must confront the demons of her past. This time though she can't do it alone, she needs Ruth's help. Restless is a thrilling espionage novel set during the Second World War and a haunting portrait of a female spy. Full of tension and drama, emotion and history, this is storytelling at its finest.